Elijah prayed 'earnestly' to stop the rain, and it didn't rain for 3.5 years (James 5:13-18).
There was something about the repetition of earnest in the Word that got me thinking... why is being earnest so important and what does it even mean?
To do something earnestly means "resulting from or showing sincere and intense conviction." (thanks,Google). This description is fitting for some of the deepest prayers at the most focal points in the Word. So how does this translate to my prayer life?
Constant, passionate and bold prayer is the key to living this abundant life - being sincere and convicted that whatever we are praying for will come to pass. This doesn't necessarily mean praying the same thing over and over again, although that sometimes helps when we face resistance (Luke 11:5-13), it's more about being sincere and honest with God.
This shameless audacity and confidence when talking to our Father, is seen in Philippians 4:6 where we are encouraged to "be anxious for nothing but pray about everything! By prayer, petition and thanksgiving present your requests unto God".
Finally, Paul demonstrates how earnest prayer for spiritual gifts will ultimately lead us to the "more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all—love]", the life God has prepared for us. As we all know, if we ask it will be given, if we seek we will surely find and when we knock the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7-11). God doesn't say we 'may' find, God says we WILL find - he guarantees it, so what are you waiting for?