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Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. (James 5:18)
After having a showdown with the Baal prophets in I Kings 18:20-35, Elijah goes to the top of Mt. Carmel to pray for the rains to fall. God listened to Elijah’s prayer, and the rains came, ending the drought across the land. Although the account from I Kings 18 does not explicitly say that Elijah prayed for it not to rain and then to rain again, as James says, it is implied. It was the prayer of Elijah, a righteous man, who brought about the judgment of God on the land through the famine and the rain to alleviate the drought after three and a half years. Again, James confirms what Jesus had already said some thirty years earlier in Luke 4:25, “But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months when a great famine came over all the land.” Yes, we have the greatest authority of all in Christ Jesus, the Son of God.
That Elijah did pray is implied at 1 Kings 18:42, which reads, “Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees.” The key here to Elijah’s prayer besides the fact that he was a righteous man, was also the fact that Elijah prayed fervently that it might not rain. Elijah truly believed in what he was praying for, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. He believed God again, in fact, that he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. It was not that Elijah was better than any other Bible person was at having his prayer answered, but instead he was earnest in petitioning God for his answer. Elijah’s righteous life unto God and his earnestness in prayer accomplished much through God’s working through this man.
The example of Elijah and his praying for withholding rain is a very powerful one. On this, Gary Holloway offers a crucial point to keep in mind: “This verse does not mean God will grant all the requests of the righteous, for he did not give Elijah all he prayed for (see 1 Kings 19:4). It is a call for confidence in the power of prayer, or better still, confidence in the power of the Lord to whom we pray.” It is reasonable to believe that God will bestow the blessings we need in the same way if they are according to his will and purposes.
 Gary Holloway, James & Jude, The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub., 1996), Jas 5:17–18.