There is an overlooked passage late in the New Testament that is going to begin to connect some dots for us in a wild way. It comes from the book of James, and he brings us back around to the old man, Elijah, praying on the mountain: “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (5:16–18).
The brother of Jesus is giving his readers a tutorial on the subject of prayer. (He had seen some serious demonstrations of prayer, we might recall, growing up around the man who turned a boy’s lunch into an all-you-can-eat buffet for five thousand.) James points to the famous drought story I just cited, then makes a staggering connection—you are no different than Elijah. That’s his purpose in using the phrase, “Elijah was a man just like us.” James is trying to disarm that religious posture that so often poisons the value of biblical stories: Well, sure, that was so-and-so [in this case Elijah] and they were different than us. Nope. Not the case. Actually, James makes it very clear: Elijah was a human being just like you.
In other words, you can do it too.’