“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. 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 5:16-18)
This passage is often used to illustrate the power of prayer. The only thing that is ever powerful about a prayer is if it’s done according to God’s will.
What the passage rather says is this: “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
Elijah didn’t pray for his own gain or to tickle the ears of a crowd. Elijah, having the Spirit of God with him, prayed according to God’s will. How else would Elijah know that God could shut the sky and release rain again, was it not for the conviction of the Holy Spirit that God had given him?!
Life and death is in the power of God, for he gives and takes away. What he shuts, no one can open. What he opens, no can shut. No one can undo what God has done.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14)