Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created." (Revelation 4:9-11)  

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James 5:18 – The Rainmaker’s Prayer

And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the land produced its fruit.

Truth to Learn

Fervent prayers from a humble, submitted servant are powerful.


Behind the Words

The word translated “again” is palin, which is most likely derived from palē, meaning “to shake” or “to vibrate.” It is the notion of back and forth motion which repeats itself. Hence, palin means that something has been repeated or done again.

The word “rain” in this verse is from the Greek noun hueton, meaning a rain shower. This is a different word from the one translated “rain” in the previous verse; that one was the verb brechō, which means “to moisten” or “to make wet,” as by rain.


Meaning Explained

This verse talks about how Elijah prayed again (after the 3 ½ years) and it began to rain. The point from the previous verse is that he was a righteous man and that he prayed energetically, or earnestly. Let’s see what that looks like – 1 Kings 18:42-46:

And Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he stretched himself out on the ground and put his face between his knees.

And said to his servant, "Go up now, look intently toward the sea."

So he went up and looked intently and said, "There is nothing."

And he said, "Go back" seven times.

It came about at the seventh time, that he said, "Behold, a little cloud like a man's hand is coming up out of the sea."

And he said, "Go up, say to Ahab, 'Prepare and go down, so that the rain shower does not stop you.'"

And it came to pass in the meantime, that the sky became black with thick clouds and wind, and the rain was heavy. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah, and he girded up his loins and outran Ahab to Jezreel.

Although we are not told what the words of his prayer were, notice these characteristics:

  • Elijah’s position – one of humility and intensity.
  • His persistence – he told his servant to go check seven times. He didn’t give up.
  • His faith – Once the first little cloud appeared he knew what was coming even though it hadn’t rained for 3 ½ years!
  • The results – Not just a little rain.

Do these things characterize your prayers?

One word of caution – Often after such a spiritual victory we are physically and spiritually weak. We need to be extra careful when we see God’s victory in our lives that we don’t stumble and become afraid like Elijah did. Read about it in 1 Kings 19:1-13.



When you pray, do you pray with unwavering faith, as we were instructed in James 1:6, 7? And, do you pray fervently and persistently from an attitude of humility like Elijah? May God grant to you and to me prayer lives that are as energized and as effective as Elijah’s.

In God's service, for His glory,

Copyright © 2015 Will Krause. All rights reserved

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