When you face a problem, is prayer your first response, or do you spring into action mode? God works powerfully through prayer, yet too often we look at it as a last resort: After we are at the end of our rope, then we start praying.
Using the example of Elijah, James reminds us what the effective prayer of a righteous person can accomplish. In today’s passage, the subject is healing, but that’s not the only prayer God will answer. Every aspect of life can be impacted by the power of prayer.
Temptation. Jesus told His disciples, “Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation” (Mark 14:38).
Praise. After being beaten and thrown into prison, Paul and Silas prayed and praised God, even in the midst of their pain (Acts 16:25).
Spiritual Warfare. Paul teaches us to access God’s power by “pray[ing] without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).
Anxiety. We aren’t at the mercy of fear if we pray about everything (Phil. 4:6).
Transformation. When we pray according to God’s desires, He transforms our mind, attitudes, character, and actions (Col. 1:9-12).
Witness. Through prayer, we ask that the Lord open doors for us to spread His Word (2 Thess. 3:1).
Protection. God is faithful to answer requests that He strengthen and protect us from the evil one (2 Thess. 3:2-3).
The next time you face a challenging situation, remember that prayer is more powerful than all your self-efforts. Pray, and watch God work.