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Desperateness in Prayer

March 11th, 2018

O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses; you have been angry; oh, restore us. (Psalm 60:1 ESV)

Why does God allow trouble to come upon His children? All the reasons are impossible for us to sort out; they are known only to the mind of God. But one reason we see over and over again in scripture is the matter of sincerity in prayer. We can even call it desperateness in prayer.

Desperateness in prayer comes on us when we realize the seriousness of our problem and look to God only as the source of our hope. It requires humility of soul, when we cast away every thing in us that might claim credit or take the praise from God. It requires us to desperately cling to the hope of God, that He is, that He hears, that He cares, and that He can act.

Elijah prayed three times for the widow’s son to be raised to life (1 Kings 17:22). He prayed only once for the fire to fall from heaven to light the altar (1 Kings 18:39). He prayed seven times for the rain to fall again on the earth (1 Kings 18:44). Why the differences?

The scripture does not tell us exactly why, but I believe the best answer is found in James 5:

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. (James 5:16-18)

The righteous person is the one who has confessed his sins and holds to the grace of God as His source of righteousness – none in himself. The fervent prayer is one that depends on the power of God, that trusts in His heart and the strength of His hand.

The best answer I believe to the reasons for the different number of prayers is that Elijah needed to get to a place in his own heart where he was depending on God alone. After Mt Carmel, he was tempted by pride – which of us would not be? – and he had to get to the point where all pride was gone out of him and he depended only upon God.

Are you desperate in your prayer? Have you come to reject your will and depend wholly on God’s wisdom? Have you seen God as your only hope? Do you truly and desperately want Him to receive the glory? and you to receive none? This is where the heart truly prays and where God delights to listen and answer with power.

Prayer