Manage episode 290202145 series 2800784
One night years ago, when one of our daughters was just a two years old, my wife woke me in the night to tell me our daughter was sick. She had a very high fever and as I put my hand to her forehead I could feel her high temperature. We happened to be visiting my wife’s sister. She and her husband heard the commotion and got up to see if everything was alright. I’ll never forget the four of us standing in their hallway in the middle of the night as we prayed for God’s healing. As we prayed, my hand was our little girl’s forehead. She was burning with fever, but as we cried out to God, he healed her, right there, in an instant. I felt her hot forehead cool down to a normal temperature. Together we rejoiced at the miracle of God’s healing.
As powerful as that time of prayer was for our family, there have been other times when no miracle came. I’m sure that if you have served God for any length of time, you have your own similar stories. There is one thing we can agree on. Prayer is sometimes a mystery.
I am encouraged by a little verse in the book of James. James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Listen to this verse…prayer is powerful and effective. Almost all Christians believe in prayer. We believe God hears prayer. We also believe he answers prayer. But often we wonder if we are doing it right. We wonder why our prayers don’t seem to be more consistently effective.
James is instructing us as believers in Jesus. He is saying prayer should be a regular part of our lives no matter what our circumstances. We should pray when we are in trouble, when we are happy, when we are sick, and when everything is going well. In other words, prayer should be our natural response to life. Paul said, “Pray without ceasing….pray continuously!”
The effective prayers of a righteous man can accomplish much.
As Christians, we’ve got to come back to understanding the power in prayer. When we rely on organization, we get what organization can do. When we rely on education, we get what education can do. When we rely on eloquence, we get what eloquence can do, but when we rely on prayer we get what God can do!
James tells us that prayer is powerful and effective, but it is not the greatness of the man praying that makes prayer work. It is the greatness of God that makes prayer powerful. Sometimes we have stopped praying because we have forgotten how great God is.
James says the condition to effective praying is a righteous life. This is someone who recognizes the grounds of his righteousness reside in Jesus, and whose personal walk is generally consistent with the righteousness that he has in Jesus.
Prayer is not just throwing up needs. Prayer is relational. Imagine your teenager gives you a list of needs and wants and then disappears to their room. There is no engagement, no conversation, and no relationship….just a list of demands. How would you feel about meeting those needs?
Prayer is relational. We enter into a relationship with God through prayer. We talk to him in prayer and give him our needs and concerns. But should we approach God without any concern for the condition of our relationship with Him? But this is what happens in a lot of people’s lives.
James reminds us here that we need to take care of “first things first.” Deal with your spiritual lives, and then bring your needs before the Lord.
Today’s Challenge: Let’s come back to the strong belief that prayer is powerful and effective.