The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16
I really appreciate how James uses Elijah (who was one of the greatest prophets of all time) in this passage as an example because he was a person like us and had a nature like every person does. However, he prayed fervently that it would not rain and then again that it would rain and God answered his prayers.
Today’s verse is talking about praying effectively and fervently and being righteous. This is the prayer of faith spoken of in verse 15. So, let’s unpack these characteristic so we can see how to have an effective prayer life. First of all, the effective prayer starts with a righteous man. We know that according to Romans 3:10 that there is none righteous, not even one. Isaiah said our righteousness is like filthy rags. So how do we become righteous? The answer is in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that says: God the Father made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, so we could become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Only in our salvation in the blood of Jesus can we be made righteous. There is nothing outward we can do to cleanse our self, other than receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
Now let’s talk about fervent. What is that? So fervent is actually passionate, intense, sincere, no kidding serious prayer. This is not the begging and pleading kind of prayer although requests are certainly made during fervent prayer. We can look at how Elijah prayed to see just what fervent prayer looks like. Frist of all, Elijah prayed what God told him would happen. 1 Kings 18:1 says that God told Elijah to go tell the king that rain was coming. However, at the end of the chapter in verse 42 we see Elijah bowing down on the ground and putting his face between his knees. It doesn’t say in this verse what he prayed, but James says he prayed earnestly for rain and the heavens gave it. Lastly, consider that Elijah spoke God’s words to king Ahab that it was going to rain. Once that was spoken, you can be sure Elijah was praying that God would come through. His effective fervent prayer was based on God’s word that it would rain.
Today I want to encourage you to consider fervent prayer as a position of humility, backed by God’s Word by one who has be made righteous by the blood of Jesus. This is where to start. Write down what God is speaking to your heart about your circumstances and what He is showing you in His written Word that He will do. Seek out and be listening for where the Holy Spirit is leading. Then begin to pray fervently for your answer to show up . . . the answer that God has already shown you in His Word. When the subject comes up whether in conversation of just in thought, speak the word God gave you about the situation and continue to thank Him for the Word that He gave. Then keep watch. Just as Elijah sent his servant to check for clouds, you keep watching for evidence that God is moving, and your answer is on its way. Remember that God is faithful and will always keep His promise to you. It’s up to you to pray it out fervently.
Today’s scripture reading: James 5:13-18