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Effective Prayer

By Marlys Popma



Confess your faults one to another,
and pray for one another, that you
may be healed. The effectual fervent
prayer of a righteous man avails much.
James 5:16


When things are tough, people tend to reach out to God. Even people who have had no relationship in the past may call on God to rescue them. You may have heard the adage ďThere are no atheists in foxholes.Ē Well, I donít know if there are no atheists in fox holes, but my guess is that you will find fewer atheists in fox holes.

So, what do we do when things are tough in our lives? Do we pray? I guess a better question is what do we do when things are not difficult and hard? Do you ever wonder if some prayers are more effective than others? Or have you wondered whether some individualís prayers are more effective than the prayers of others?

I was thinking about this today and a Bible verse came to my mind. When I was a child, I memorized James 5:16 and the Bible version I memorized said - Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Letís dissect that verse just a bit. First this passage says that we must confess our sins. We must not expect God to listen to every prayer we utter if we have unrepentant sins in our lives. Isaiah 59:2 says - ďBut your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hearĒ So, yes indeed, unconfessed and unrepentant sins can hinder our prayers.

The next part of this verse talks about what type of prayers we should have. They should be effectual and fervent, but what does that really mean? In the Greek, effectual fervent is written as energeo. Our word energy comes from this word. When we pray, we must pray in the power of the Spirit of the Lord to release the full energy of our God. That is how effective our prayers can be. They carry within them the power of our Lord.

But that is not where this verse ends. It says the effectual fervent prayer of a RIGHTEOUS man availeth much. So, what does it mean to be righteous? We must know that as Christians we carry the righteousness of Christ. 2 Corinthians 51:21 says - He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Romans 4:5 says - And to the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,

We are not righteous because of anything we have done but we are righteous because what our Savior has done for us! But this is not all there is to righteousness. We must also choose to live righteous lives. No, we will never be able to live a perfectly righteous life, but we can choose to live righteously.

At times it is easier to see what living righteously is by looking at what it is to live unrighteously. We can read about that in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 where we are told - But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of Godó having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

Living a righteous life is a life that lives in humility, a life that understands that everything we have is from the Lord. Living a righteous life is a life of compassion and tenderness. Living a righteous life is living a life full of praise and gratitude. Living a righteous life is a life centered on the love of God not the pleasures of this world.

Also take note that the James 5:16 says that the prayers of a righteous man availeth much. Yes, one personís prayers can release the power of the Lord. Your prayer could be the prayer that God hears to end the Coronavirus. Our joint fervent effective prayers together could bring a revival in this world.

God has more power that we can ever imagine, but we often think our prayers canít make a difference. But remember, if you are living a righteous life, if you lean on the everlasting arms of your heavenly Father and pray fervently, those prayers WILL be effective. Donít wait until you are in a crisis to pray. Pray without ceasing. Live every day for the Lord. Live righteously, so when you do need to come to the Lord, He will hear those prayers.

At times, God does answer the prayers of the unbeliever, but we can rest in the truth and the promise of James 5:16 - Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.



Copyright 2020 by Marlys Popma
The Christian Conservative
Used with permission.









 

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