Thursday, February 4, 2016

Effectual Fervent Prayer

James 5:13-20 

13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Effectual Fervent Prayer
This passage in James is so loaded with direction and instruction on prayer that it could be studied for months.  For today, however,  let's just focus on that often quoted part of verse 16 - The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Effectual - successful in producing a desired or intended result.  effective, constructive.
Fervent - having or siplaying a passionate intensity.  sincere, ardent, fervid, intense, heartfelt
Righteous - morally right or justifiable, virtuous.  good, upright, upstanding, decent.
Effectual prayer has a desired intent.  We cannot say we pray in an effectual manner without intent...what is the point of the prayer if it has no intent?  What is the desired outcome?  Do we come before God with a plan or direction, or are we just talking to be talking?
Fervent prayer is passionate.  We know passion when we hear it and when we see it.  We know when someone is walking through the motions of obligation and duty and when someone is passionate and intense about the things they're doing.  I dare say everyone would prefer a kiss with passion over a thoughtless peck.  They are both signs of affection; they are both kisses by definition.  But the message of the passionate one is much different than the peck.  Fervent prayer, like everything filled with passion and intensity, can be a little messy but is full of meaning.  Like the old song says, if your heart isn't in it....
The passage calls for the prayer of a righteous man.  This tells us that not just anyone can be before God.  And even though our righteousness is as filthy rags before God, we take on a whole new level when we are washed in the blood of Christ...when we have be clothed in His righteousness we are absolutely justified to be before God.  We meet the requirement for audience.  We fit the office and we can operate in the assignment outlined in the first two words described.
Continuing on in the phrase, prayer tells us why.  We are supposed to dialogue with the Father.  I love the word dialogue because the root words, di and logos, mean two words or two speak.  We talk, He listens.  He speaks, we listen.  It's simple. It's pure.  It's intimate.  It's intense, it's passionate.  It's right.  It's intentional.
So, if we want to 'availeth much', we should come before God wrapped in the righteousness of Christ, speak with intent, with a goal and a direction.  Make the presentation with passion before the Father, and more often than not, we should do it on behalf of someone else.  Then, listen.  And see what God will do.  it will be much.
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