James 5:16-18 


            “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”


            This passage from James teaches us – pastors and pew-sitters alike – that we need to minister to one another, and pray for one another, and do it powerfully.  It is easy to look at a biblical instruction like that and think, “That’s not about me.  I don’t have any authority to pray for people or counsel them or help them with those kinds of needs.”  Anyway, it says “the prayers of a righteous man.”   What’s that got to do with me? 
            I guess that is why the Holy Spirit used James to teach us these things.  He was a pastor and he knew how “ordinary” Christians think.  So James makes one of the most amazing statements in the New Testament: “Elijah was a man just like us.”  WHAT!?  Are you nuts?  Elijah was a prophet!  God worked miracles through Elijah!  God changed nations through Elijah! 


            OK, calm down . . .  Elijah was a man.  That is important to remember.  He wasn’t an angel or an archangel.  He wasn’t a Superman or even Ironman; he was a man like us.  Of course he knew God and trusted God and served God and listened to God.  But we can do that too, can’t we?  
            You see, the point is that our ministry will be effective because of God, not because of us.  If it is ineffective it can only be because we aren’t trusting or serving or listening.  We pray to the same God as Elijah and God has not gone deaf or weak or on vacation.  So think of it this way:  If Elijah was a man just like us, then that means we are men and women just like Elijah!  And God is calling His Elijahs today; the Word still needs proclaiming, and powerful ministry still needs doing, and nations still need changing.


Pastor Keith Andrews