James 5:16 records an important statement about prayer: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” What did the apostle James mean? Effective prayer is prayer that we know God hears. The letter of God’s commandments and laws describes what we are to do or not do. Dr. Fred Rosner, an authority on We’ve developed the assumption that if we can just strip it all down to a reproducible process to put into action, then the results will multiply. much” (James 5:16). James’s point is to repeat his theme to pray because prayer is effective. To illustrate effective and powerful prayer, James then refers to the prophet Elijah as an example of a person who had a powerful and effective prayer life. By Joy Kitanga. He was just a man. Does it mean that Elijah was righteous and his prayers worked, so we should be like Elijah for our prayers to work too? Bringing these four cameras into focus produces a more complete picture of how prayer affects health than using any single study method. To say it plainly, a righteous person truly knows God. Effectiveness is the belief that our prayers have power over everything. What do I mean by this? Then, in the beginning of verse 16, because prayer is effective (James 5:13–15), he says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16). Prayer is effective, not because of great men who pray, but because of a great God who in Christ graciously hears his people. From this passage we see that the main key to the effectiveness of prayer is the spiritual condition of the one offering the prayer. Mercy for Today: A Daily Prayer from Psalm 51. James tells us that Elijah’s prayers … The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:15, 17-18). Pastor and author H.B. Effective prayer is prayer that we know God hears. Prayer can become so much of a habit that our minds are no longer “in gear.” We start praying and our minds go to “automatic pilot.” We begin to say and think the same things over and over by rote―routine―instead of actually realizing we are conversing with our Father, the Creator of the universe! They married a few days following his graduation. (2) Through prayer God’’s servants gain ample provision for all their needs. Learn More About Prayer, Fasting and Meditation. All of God’s commandments and laws are a product of God’s mind. It's one thing to pray, but quite another to pray effectively. Of course, there are circumstances and trials we pray about every day, and as we focus on them and rephrase them, these can be meaningful repetitions―like those of the persistent widow whom Jesus praised in Luke 18:1-8. Being in the habit of praying daily is good. These "studies on intercessory prayer" have revealed no objective effect. Get the latest blog posts from Life, Hope & Truth straight to your inbox. Therefore, God is under no obligation to answer the prayers … It’s what happens when we fly by the text without questions. But if our faith is in Jesus, the Bible tells us he is the reason our prayers are effective. Does God care about both the elect and non-elect in the same way? When we study and obey His Word and seek to please Him, the same God who made the sun stand still upon … To make it even clearer, he follows this with, “The effective prayer of a righteous person has great power.” That line is the second portion in a double dose of support for our praying. Deuteronomy 10:12-13 records, “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” (emphasis added). Like James said, “The prayer of the righteous is powerful and … Prayer baffles us sometimes. If we come to know God, we can begin having the confidence that God hears our prayers. 2:5). Used by permission. The efficacy of prayer has been the topic of various studies since at least 1872; such studies are generally devised to ascertain whether intercessory prayer has a blind effect on the health of "third parties", who are unaware that they are being prayed for. A key to praying rightly is to pray for things that are on God’s heart – like asking the Lord for the opportunity … For they think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7). Dr Van der Does5 dismisses the effects of intercessory prayer because they would be indistinguishable empirically from the effects … “Father, I thank you that You have heard Me. But effective prayer does require that we understand and believe that we are indeed talking to our God and Father who loves us (John 16:26-27) and is concerned for us and our needs, whether we are offering up intercessory prayer for others or requests for our own needs. The Bible shows we all start out unrighteous—as sinners (Romans 3:23). At least 10 … Such ripple effects of healing prayer largely account for the wildfire spread of global pentecostalism. That is why the Word of God admonishes that we pray always, Luke 18:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:17. The prayer of the righteous, being effective, is very powerful. Prayer has less to do with the specifics of how we say what we say, and more to do with the one to whom we are saying it. Married couples who are happy to … It’s easy to get overwhelmed when talking about the importance and power of prayer. Without faith, … But that’s the skim-milk meaning. The point is not that we should be righteous at the extraordinary level of an Elijah, but that he was normal like you and me. In our sin, we’ve been rewired to focus on us — on the steps we should take for our prayers to be heard. If this were true, no human would have ever had an effective prayer … But, the truth is, I still forget and I still allow my “stuff” to get in the way of an effective prayer … And then verse 17 comes to ground that point. The commandments and laws of God (in the letter of the law and the spirit of the law) reflect God’s very nature of love and reveal what God says is right―the right way to live. We are speaking to Him about many things He and we are concerned about. Is that what he is saying? You can learn to pray with confidence, knowing that God is listening and will act for your good according to his will. Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan. Praying rightly for something that would glorify the Lord is an excellent way to pray. The spirit of God’s commandments and laws describes how God wants us to be. We’re on a mission to change that. Those who are searching for answers and searching for God will come to repentance. It’s tragic how easily we can miss the main ingredient in effective prayer. The benefits of prayer extend to social bonds. We simply settle to think that, if we want our prayers to be effective, then we need to be righteous. The spirit of the law describes the qualities of God’s nature of love that God wants us to have. What does God’s Word reveal about righteousness―how to be considered by God as being righteous? ~ John Bunyan. We pray as ordinary people who have an extraordinary God. A willingness to compromise and make personal sacrifices is critical to healthy close relationships. Is there anything about the person praying or a specific prayer that impacts whether or how God answers? What Can We Learn From Daniel’s Passionate Prayer. If you are just beginning to build a relationship with God, realize that He is loving and patient. Skeptics have contended that studying prayer is a waste of money and that it presupposes supernatural intervention, putting it by definition beyond the reach of science. Does God love everyone in the world? If you're not religious, then it comes from the brain." He or she has come to know God by living a life of obedience to Him in the letter and spirit of His laws (1 John 2:3-4). God deeply desires for human beings to grow to love Him with all of their heart, mind, life (soul) and strength, and to show their love by obeying Him (Deuteronomy 6:5-6; 30:6; Joshua 22:5; Nehemiah 1:5; Matthew 22:37). How Should a Christian Deal With the Coronavirus Pandemic? But if we come to repentance—to a broken heart and contrite spirit—God will forgive us and put us on the path of righteousness. Interlinears and other translations show that the word fervent is not actually supported by the Greek of this passage, but the words righteous and effective definitely are. Charles Jr. addresses five elements that impact the effectiveness of prayer. Look at the book. Please understand that God’s ears are open not only to the cries of the righteous, but also to those who want to be right in God’s sight―those who see that they are not living as they should and deeply desire to change. For a more complete study of the keys to answered prayer, please read the article “Five Keys to Answered Prayer.”. It’s what I used to think. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3). When the effects of prayer are averaged across all 17 studies, controlling for differences in sample size, a net positive effect for the prayer group is produced." For example, “You shall not steal” (Deuteronomy 5:19). The Holy Spirit is … John also wrote, “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22). In a series of experiments in which participants either prayed for or thought … With prayer… First, look at the context surrounding James 5:16. Prayer can reduce anger and aggression A 2011 study found prayer can help reduce anger and aggression. There is no magical formula or words that make prayer effective and thus powerful. We see in 1 Kings 17 … David wrote in one of his psalms, “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. Being in the habit of coming to our Father on our knees in prayer on a daily basis is what a righteous person will want to do. His concern is not how prayer is made effective, but that prayer is effective. All of our resources exist to guide you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. The main ingredient in effective prayer is emphatically not us. So, apparently the goal of effective prayer is beyond our reach. In each case, James encourages his readers to pray. And I know that You always hear Me” (John 11:41-42). It became my lifeline of joy, peace, love, and hope. We can come to know God. Instead, prayer can improve a person’s mental health, such as reducing anxiety and stress. David wrote in one of his … Or sin? He was like us. Prayer is a powerful force of change in the life of the believer. Why? The fewer the words the better prayer. But a habit of daily prayer can simply become habitual—mindless. Never miss a post! Print subscriptions available in U.S., Canada and Europe, Article URL: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/prayer-fasting-and-meditation/how-to-pray/effective-prayer/, Intercessory Prayer: How to Pray for Others, Spiritual Needs to Pray for From Psalm 119. As the New International Version puts it, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”. We have this bent toward believing that every result is born from method. God’s ears are open to the prayers of the righteous who are humbly seeking His help, guidance and blessing. Our broken bent is to make the burden of this passage something to do with us. He wants to hear from you, and He will help you grow in righteousness and effectiveness. They will want to live to please God. Many of us find James 5:16 to be a familiar verse: “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” — which is also translated, as an ESV footnote spells out, “The effective prayer of a righteous person has great power.”. So God clearly says the prayers of a righteous person are effective and powerful. In other words, most studies done on the efficacy of intercessory prayer show the power of prayer … “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently.”. Why? Because prayer is effective, which means, God hears his people and acts on their behalf. It’s what I used to think. … The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. In Proverbs 10:24 we read that God will respond positively to the requests of the righteous: “The fear of the wicked will come upon him, and the desire of the righteous will be granted.”. While this applies to certain things, it doesn’t apply to prayer — or at least that’s not the vision the apostle James gives us. The Impact of Religion on Health. James’s whole point is that prayer is effective. Or, as Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). But prayer is not some incantation or formula to produce "results." If we talked to people the way we too often talk to God, they might think we are losing our mental faculties because our minds wander from one subject to another. "...but the people who know their … It comes down to whether the one praying has an attitude of humility or self-righteousness. We often think of "effective prayer" as prayer that leads to the results we desire. “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. The Effectiveness and Power of Prayer. This means that the locus of effective prayer is not us, but God. He asks in James 5:13, “Is anyone among you suffering?” Then he replies, “Let him pray.” What about cheerfulness? While some religious groups argue that the "power of prayer" is obvious, others question whether it is possible to measure its effect. God wants this for our benefit—for our good! For example, we should be totally honest, trustworthy and dependable so that we will not only not take what is our neighbor’s (that is, we will not steal), we will also (out of love for our neighbor) seek to protect what is his or hers (as much as is in our power). Many of us find James 5:16 to be a familiar verse: “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” — which is also translated, as an ESV footnote spells out, “The effective prayer of a righteous person has great power.” This is one of those coffee-mug verses. He had a nature like ours. For our prayers to be effective, we must avoid having our prayers simply become habitual. It is … Effective prayers are prayed through the strength and assistance of the Holy Spirit. That frame of mind makes … We can become righteous by humbly using the power of God’s Spirit to live in obedience to God―learning to love as God loves. James says that Elijah was a man with a nature like ours. Lack of Faith. Prayer led me to the throne of God where I met Him for the first time and eventually felt His presence. Sign up to receive the week's latest articles, blog posts and updates. Rote, memorized prayers are not what God wants. One of the important keys in praying is to come to God with an attitude of humble obedience. Remember, God hears the prayers of those trying to live a righteous life. As we seek to understand the spirit of His laws (the qualities of His love that are behind and revealed by His laws) and seek to live that way ourselves, we will grow in righteousness and come to know God better. Steve Moody graduated from Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, in June of 1971. We’re just normal, you and I. We’re just normal like Elijah. While praying (especially if we are not verbally praying, but praying mentally), it is easy to begin thinking about other things (perhaps what we need to do later or about other matters unrelated to what we are talking to God about). Rather, prayer is a means of communication with God. James doesn’t say for us to be like Elijah for our prayers to be answered, but that Elijah was like us and his prayers were answered — therefore, pray. Remember what Jesus said when He prayed to His Father (who is also our Father) when He resurrected Lazarus. It’s what happens when we fly by the text without questions. Or sickness? Jesus gives us his commentary regarding the effectiveness of prayer. And being just a man, being like us, having a nature like ours, he prayed fervently and God heard. Prayer is not optional for the believer because it is one of our vital covenant responsibilities. Prayer is effective in the lives of … This is one of those coffee-mug verses. It’s commonly understood like this: Be righteous, and your prayers will work. We aren’t righteous! All rights reserved. Praying the same words over and over can easily become vain repetition. ~ Martin Luther. God’s commands came from His mind and thus reveal His mind and nature. Can science prove the healing power of prayer… For prayer to be effective, we need to speak to our Father as we would speak to anyone whose help we are seeking. From this passage we see that the main key to the effectiveness of prayer is the spiritual condition of the one offering the prayer. A simple definition of godly righteousness is doing what God says is right. This is something Jesus warned against in what is called His Sermon on the Mount. A righteous person has truly begun to build a relationship with God (through obeying Him from the heart) and thus knows God listens to his or her prayers. The apostle John said, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. What does Elijah have to do with our praying? Prayer showed me who I am in Him rather than in the world. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version (© 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.). Effective prayer is a way to strengthen our relationship with our Father in heaven. Lack of faith has an incredibly negative impact on a Christian’s life. Like every part of the Christian life, prayer is a growth process. If something works for somebody, we want to know what that somebody is doing. Prayer meets our inner needs removing fear, strengthening us, and providing guidance and wisdom. debate surrounding intercessory prayer may also diminish with time, even though our ignorance about the mechanism involved may remain. He stands as the “one mediator between God and men” (1 Tim. Most people in the world have no experience of lasting joy in their lives. James 5:17 then brings in Elijah. The Power Of Prayer. Benefits of Prayer Peace of mind “Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God; and the … prayers are effective, most of us just give up the idea of having an effective prayer life. Prayer is an effort of will. ~ Oswald Chambers. He met his lovely wife and lifelong companion, Vivian, while in college. 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