“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.”
James 5:16 NLT
Is it possible that there exists an often untapped source of great power in this life? According to one of the earliest leaders in the church at Jerusalem, a person does not have to be perfect. James points out that Elijah of ancient Biblical times was a man of “like passions” or like the rest of us in nature, who God heard and answered His prayer to control the weather! At the same time, he tells us that there is a qualifier. It is the righteous person, that is the one who trusts in God and has his or her sins forgiven by His grace, who has this potential.
What I am hoping to do here is to encourage more serious, confident and powerful praying for us all.You might say, but I am not a religious person. God does not hear the sinners prayer, does He? Well, first of all that phrase in the Bible came from the mouth of a man that had not yet believed in Christ himself. Throughout the Bible God has called people to return to Him and pray. The act of trusting in Him for forgiveness and believing in His work on our behalf in Christ’s death and resurrection brings us into a relationship with Him in which we are recognised as His children — born again by the Spirit of God!
Jesus explained that our Father God is more then willing to give good gifts to His children in the same way a natural father desires to provide for his family. Repeatedly, Jesus encouraged bold, confident prayer in the life of His disciples. Today I am writing this to remind myself of this very thing — prayer does change things!
Of course it should change us first. A relationship with God cannot but change a person. Even our prayers that miss the mark as far as God’s will is concerned can help us understand that relationship. Day by day, we learn how to pray by praying, and listening for the response of our Father.
In many Bible stories, people waited patiently, even years for the answers to their prayers. Many devout Christians I have known have done the same. Some of the prayers I have prayed brought fruit early on, others took many years. At this very time I am still waiting for God to deliver loved ones for whom I have prayed for over 20 years. One can get weary and discouraged in these situations.
At the same time, the Holy Spirit keeps us pressing on in faith, encouraging us never give up in praying for God’s Kingdom to come, His will, His righteousness, peace and joy to appear in situations all over this world. To respond to this urging is to become renewed and revitalized in the “faith that was once and for all delivered unto the saints.”
God want so use the prayers of His people, yours and mine, to bring heaven’s ways into this earth! we have been given the priviledge of partnering with Him! The prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray, which He also commanded them to teach us, presents our part in the plan of God for His creation. WOW!
Now I want to talk about the earnestness of our prayers. Too often our prayers are weak and timid. James had something to say about that also. In approaching God for wisdom we are to ask in confidence. When we gain understanding concerning the will of God in a matter, we should pray earnestly. I like how the KJV states it, “the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous mand availeth much!”
Don’t ever believe that your prayers are wasted! Keep on asking in Jesus Name! There will come a time when you might feel that success has come, even though the physical evidence is there, but that itself is part of the victory that has already been won. Through Christ we are more than conquerors!