Read: James 5:16 |
Too often, our petitions fit the description of prayer given by Thomas Brooks, who said, “Cold prayers are as arrows without heads, as swords without edges, as birds without wings; they pierce not, they cut not, and they fly not up to heaven. Cold prayers always freeze before they reach heaven.”
James tells us that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. The prayer arrow-head of the righteous keeps Christ as the head; our prayer is based on the Word and thus sharper than a two-edged sword; our prayer flies to heaven taken by the Holy Spirit. Our prayers can live in perpetuity until God’s perfect time to answer them – our righteous prayers never die nor fall on deaf ears. Righteous prayers are “powerful” and “effective”.
In this, last passage of his letter James the Just, sums up how and when we should pray. He provides situational examples and the example of Elijah to make his point that believers should pray persistently and fervently.
Prayer is a Key
Prayer is a key that opens a conversation with our Heavenly Father. The key is given to anyone who confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord and accepts Him as his or her personal Savior (Romans 10:9-10).
Jesus offered fervent prayers to God often and sought the God’s presence and advice (Luke 5:16). We are to pray faithfully and always rejoice in the Lord (I Thessalonians 5:16-18). “Fervent prayer, if it be for God’s glory and presented in the name of His Son, will accomplish great things for time and eternity” [Paul R VanGorder].
Prayer is a Door
When we pray, we cross the threshold of grace and enter into the presence of God. Prayer changes things because the supernatural meets the natural and yields to God’s almighty power. In due time, prayer will change things.
God delights in the prayers of His people (Proverbs 15:8). Yet prayer does not move God to action due to the volume or intensity of our efforts. Nor does it move Him by how hard we knock on His door. We do not need to voice theologically sound and eloquently passionate prayers to see God’s hand move on our behalf. One righteous person, privately whispering a prayer in their closet may echo in God’s ear as a thunder-clap that gets His full attention.
Prayer is an Elevator
Prayer can take us higher and higher as we exalt his name and praise His majesty and everlasting mercy and grace. As we use our key, and pass through the door into the throne room of His presence, He will lift our spirits as we petition Him and praise Him (Luke 9:29).
Every once in a while, I truly let go in my prayer time and start rocking back and forth and praising Him as He reminds me of what He has brought me through. I tear up just recalling how helpless I felt at the time until God stepped in with all power in His hands. Hallelujah, God is good. All the time, He is good.
Prayer is a Restorer
Prayer restores our soul. As we pray and confess our sins, the Holy Spirit enters to comfort and restore us in Christ (John 1:20;Acts 4:30-32). As we see others in sin, we can pray for their restoration as well. We can pray for the opportunity to talk with them after first making sure that we get our soul in order so that God can truly use us without distractions.
James tells us that “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16 NKJV). With this thought in mind, Bishop Hall wrote: “It is not the arithmetic of our prayers, how many they are; nor the rhetoric of our prayers, how eloquent they be; nor the geometry of our prayers, how long they be; nor the music of our prayers, how sweet our voice may be; nor the method of our prayers, how orderly they may be; nor even the theology of our prayers, how good the doctrine may be; – which God cares for. God cares that we are live a righteous life and maintain a spirit of prayer and rejoicing in what He has done, is doing and will do.
A. What is prayer to you a key, a door, an elevator, a restorer or other?
B. Which seasons in your life do you pray the most often? Which seasons do you pray the least often?
A. How have your experiences shaped how you approach prayer?
B. How has your prayer life evolved since you first accepted Christ?
A. Do you think God is happy with the time you spend in prayer? What are you willing to do about it if you think He wants you to spend more time with Him?
B. Share an important prayer that God answered with someone today as an encouragement for him or her to keep praying. Enter a synopsis of it below in the comment box.