Sometimes when we pray, it is hard to know who is initiating the prayer. Is it us or God. In Romans 8:26, Paul says the Spirit help us to pray. But sometimes we are seeing a need and start praying. Other times it seems we sense a need for prayer for someone or something. And then there is times we are with others and they initiate the prayer.
We are praying and asking God for the prayer of God. Consider what Jesus talks about in John 15:7. If you are one with the Lord, you are obeying the Lord, you are abiding in the Lord, and His Word is dwelling in you, then you are one with the Lord, and what the Lord wants to pray, you want to pray, what the Lord wants to ask the Father through your prayer, you want to ask the Father. So who is really praying here? Is it us praying or is it God praying? It is kind of hard to understand.
The Example of Elijah in the book of James
James was a man of prayer. In fact, James 5 talks about a similar principle. The last part of verse 16 says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Then James goes on to talk about Elijah. Verse 17, “Elijah was a man subject to like passions…” He was a man, just like we are. He had feelings just like you and I have. Then it says, “And he prayed earnestly” or the literal Greek is, “He prayed in prayer” or, “He prayed in his prayer”. It is kind of a strange construction in the English. “He was a man of like passions as we are, and he prayed in prayer that it might not rain”. In other words, Elijah had an experience, here, of not praying his own prayer, but praying the prayer of God. You could say he prayed the prayer that God put on his heart, or prayed the prayer that God burdened him with. Here Elijah was praying the prayer of God.
The Prayer Example of Young Samuel in the Old Testament
We have another prayer example of Samuel in the Old Testament. This is the story of Samuel as a young boy. He was learning how to serve God and how to do the things of God. He was just beginning, or barely beginning to hear the voice of God. At one point, he thought Eli, the priest, was calling him, but he eventually learned that it was the Lord who was speaking to him. The phrase that Samuel repeated back to the Lord at this point was, “Speak Lord, for your servant hears.” In other words, Samuel had the attitude that whatever God would speak, he would hear, and whatever God asked him to do, he would do.