Effective Prayer?


"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.  The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect."  James 5:16 HCSB

This past Wednesday night, I shared this verse with a group of adults who had met for our weekly mid-week prayer service.  I have been thinking about it since.  This verse has been used by a lot of people to talk about prayer.  Sadly, many have used this to back up some of their false teachings of "name it and claim it."

I wonder if this verse describes your prayer life.  Are you seeing effective results from the prayers that you are praying?  If you are like me, there are many times that I do not see effective results from the prayers I pray.

One thing is true: the Word of God is true.  There is nothing wrong or misprinted in this verse.  Every word of it is true.  If there is no problem with the Word, then the issue must be on the end of the pray-er.

The key point to look at is that word "urgent."  In other translations, it is translated as "fervent."  That is one of those words that I do not typically use in my everyday speech.  The Greek word has the idea of being "fiery," "glowing," or "passionate."  Does that describe our prayer life?

I believe that this type of praying has three important qualities...

  1. It does not quit easily.   We give up on prayer too easily.  We live in a "microwave society" where we expect everything to be delivered nice and quick.  There are some things that we pray about in life that take a good deal of time.

  2. It is purposeful. When you come to Jesus in prayer, are you coming purposefully, or is it more just routine? We know that we are supposed to pray. It is easy for this discipline to become something that we just go thru the motions with. Effective prayer is prayer that knows why you've come before the throne of grace.

  3. It is broken. Prayer that is effective is prayer that comes from the depths of our hearts. When it comes from that deep, there is going to be times of brokenness. When was the last time you shed a tear because what you were praying about meant that much to you? Far too often I come to the Lord with requests that move me in no way emotionally. I don't believe that we are to be bumbling idiots crying at a drop of the hat. I do believe that if what we are praying about hasn't moved us to the point of tears at some point, then it might not be that important to us. This might reveal that we aren't praying as we should about it.

Are you seeing effective results from your prayer life?


Christy said...

When I think of fervent prayer, I think of Jacob wrestling with God. Jacob wouldn't let go until he had received a blessing. Sometimes I feel like I'm wrestling with God in prayer. Not in the negative sense of wanting my way, but in the sense that I am truly burdened over something and I know that only God can adequately provide the answer.
I also remember in the book of Daniel where he had prayed but it took a while for the answer to come because of spiritual warfare. Many times we need to be fervent in prayer, just because of that same reason! God is not a genie. We don't pray and POOF get an answer (most of the time). It's a journey of faith and perseverance.
In case you haven't noticed, this is my passion! Thanks for sharing.

Anthony said...

Good points, Christy. You hit the nail on the head with "faith and perseverance."