Study Notes

Pray Through Your Passions

(watch the video on youtube)
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 land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. – James 5:17-18

Elijah was a man of like passions as us . . . homoiopathes.
He experienced the same kinds of sufferings that we experience. He felt the same feelings that we feel. He had all of the same drives that we have.

Our great problem is that we tend to feel distinct in our suffering. In suffering we are an “us.” In longing, we are an “us.” In feeling, we are an “us.” There is nothing special about your suffering; your struggles do not make you any different from anybody else. But the devil will try hard to isolate you by telling you that nobody understands you, nobody sees what you’re going through, and nobody cares.

The only thing that distinguished Elijah in his generation was that he prayed. It wasn’t his pain that made him different; it was his prayer. Elijah experienced a lot of pain in his lifetime, but he was never known as a man of pain; he was known as a man of prayer.

Elijah learned the secret of praying through his passions. He felt everything we feel, but he learned to pray through his feelings. He longed for what we long for, but he learned to pray through his longings. Apart from prayer, he would have been no different from anything else.

And apart from prayer, we are just like everyone else in the world. We struggle with the same sins and failures. We battle the same fears.

I’ve declared to you by the word of the Lord that this is the year of victory. But I say to you today that if this is to be the year of victory, it must be the year of prayer. Without prayer there will be no victory! In 2015 your victory will come through prayer! God will not rain victory down to us from the heavens; we must go up into the heavens and bring it down!

Ephesians 1:3 tells us that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Every spiritual blessing is yours, but those blessings reside in heavenly places. While we are waiting on God to send his blessings down from heaven, he’s waiting for us to send our prayers up to heaven. His blessing will not begin to descend until our prayers begin to ascend.

. . . and he prayed earnestly . . . kai proseuche proseuxato . . . and in prayer he prayed. This verse is reminiscent of the groaning of the Spirit that Paul talks about in Romans 8:23 and 26. He says first in vs 23 that we who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan within ourselves . . . and he goes on to say in vs 26 that these groans are too deep for words. The groaning of the Spirit is the unspoken language of spiritual passion. Earnest prayer is passionate prayer.

The verse begins by saying that Elijah shared all of the human passions that we experience. But then it said that he prayed passionately. Prayer moved him from one form of passion to another; through prayer he was able to move from the passions of his fallen humanity to the passions of God’s indwelling divinity.

It is at our moments of human weakness that we feel like praying the least, but it is at these very moments that we need to pray the most. But if we would make the decision to pray in the midst of our passions, we will find that before long, the Spirit of God will overtake our passions and exchange them for his passions.

. . . and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain . . . Why would a man of God pray for a drought in his own country?

Elijah’s mind was fixed on revival; revival was his core value. It wasn’t that Elijah was unconcerned about the economy; it wasn’t that he didn’t value blessing. The widow’s oil, the Shunamite’s son . . . he believed in blessing too. But there was something that Elijah valued more highly than financial blessing: revival.

Revival for Elijah was the turning back of a nation to God. And so when he prayed, he prayed against the current . . . he prayed for a nation that was more concerned about the rain than they were about God. So he prayed that God would hold back the rain until they got their priorities in order!

Let me say that I believe in blessing, I believe in prosperity, I believe that God wants to bless his people, I believe that God will raise up entrepreneurs among us, and will raise up many millionaires from within our midst. But let me say that money is not and has never been my priority! My number one priority is seeing a revival sweep not only across this nation, but across the world!

Sometimes the most loving prayer you could pray is the prayer for God to destroy something!

. . . and he prayed again. The man of God does not tear anything down that he doesn’t intend to rebuild. He prayed for a drought, but drought was not the objective. He was praying for discipline, not judgment. He was praying for God to do what was necessary to turn the nation back to himself, not for God to turn his back on the nation. Elijah was not a great troubler of Israel, as Ahab accused him of being. In fact, he was a great patriot!

Once he sensed in the Spirit that the drought had served its purpose, he called all of Israel to Mt Carmel, called fire down on the mountain, and Israel turned back to God. When he saw the turning of the hearts of the children of Israel to the Lord, he then turned his heart and he prayed again for the rain to be released!

From first to last, everything that Elijah did, he did by prayer. God gave him great victories, but all of those victories were birthed through prayer.

God has great victory in store for you in 2015; the path to that victory is to be paved with prayer.

Today the Spirit of God is calling us to make a decision; I will no longer be stopped by my passions. Don’t feel like you have to stop feeling what you’re feeling in order to be spiritual. Don’t feel like you have to stop struggling with what you’re struggling with. Elijah was just like you, and you are just like everyone else. The decision is simply to pray through your passions. You’re going to have passions, you’re going to have pain, feelings, longings, affections, struggles . . . But you can pray through your passions!

On the other side of your passions are God’s passions. Passionate prayer is the state of the one who has prayed through personal passion and begun to burn with godly passion. That can be you if you make a decision today.