The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:16b-18 NASB
I fought so many fears while our son was deployed to the Middle East. Probably the greatest was that somehow my prayers wouldn’t be enough to keep him safe. I remember one night in particular. I awoke from an unknown dream, screaming in my mind. I was drenched with sweat and had tears running down my cheeks. I couldn’t remember the dream—only the terror, that horrible feeling of helplessness. I looked over and saw 2:52am blinking on the clock. I could hear my husband’s soft snores and they reassured me I hadn’t disturbed him. Too often he lost sleep because of my fears.
I knew sleep wouldn’t return anytime soon, so I grabbed my Bible and once again headed downstairs. I settled into my chair in the den and began to thumb through the pages, searching for comfort. I tried to focus enough to pray for my son, but my prayers seemed common, not good enough to inspire God to go great lengths to keep him safe.
In my page turning, I found myself reading these verses in James. As I read I felt even worse. Did I have to be Elijah to pray effectively? I would never consider myself in the same category of righteousness as him. Even more discouraged I thought about these verses. As I did, God brought something to mind that I’d never considered. I remembered that early on in Israel’s history God had warned them that if they didn’t obey Him, He’d withhold blessings, specifically the blessing of rain. I felt hope begin to blossom. I immediately turned to Deuteronomy 11 and there it was—God’s warning that He would shut up the heavens if they turned from Him.