“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man [or woman] avails much.” (James 5:16b NKJV)
I suddenly sat straight up in bed as if something or someone had just startled me. I grabbed my cell phone; 3:25AM. To my surprise, today’s verse was resonating repetitively in my head, as if I were subconsciously singing lyrics to a favorite praise song. I humbly confess my first response wasn’t spiritual: “What? Who does this? Wakes up to a Bible verse?” With that profound spiritual assessment (or NOT), I plopped back down, nestled into my pile of warm blankets, and fell back to sleep.
Two hours later, this verse revisited my morning quiet time. Okay, God… ‘prayers’, ‘righteous’, ‘avails much.’ I get it.” But did I? I felt a soft nudge on my heart, “Read it again, Kim…aloud.”
• “Effective”… powerful, potent, compelling, successful
• “Fervent”… burning, passionate, intense… Hmmmm…
• “Righteous”? “Oh, I’ve got that one, God. Trust me! Been around THAT mountain more than I care to admit.”
• “Avails much”… “to be of use”, “highly effective”, “great things result.”
I sat in silence for several minutes. For a girl who wants so much to “live a life worthy of my calling” (Ephesians 4:1), I knew right away. I was falling short in the spiritual discipline that offers so much power…so much authority… so much promise.
Do you and I approach prayer as an intimate dialogue (two-way communication) between the Creator of the Universe and us? Do we pray in such a way as to BOLDLY claim what is ours in Christ? Do we pray with expectancy, tenaciously holding onto every promise for those of who choose to live righteously?
God wants to talk to you and me. He listens to every spoken and unspoken word, expressed and not expressed. He wants to respond, to move in our behalf, but God also looks at our pursuit. Is it passionate? Are we persistent? God knows what we do when we are fully in love with someone: We intentionally, strategically, and compellingly draw close in hopes to receive and experience all there is for us.
I once heard it said praying fervently requires knowing the Word of God (our foundation), recognizing the presence of the Holy Spirit (our power), embracing the position you and I hold “in the name of Jesus” (our authority) and remaining steadfast while anticipating His response (our promise).
So, I suppose, the question for today is simple: How fervent are your prayers?
Scripture references from NIV unless otherwise noted.
Based on Prayers and Thanks for a Healthy, Growing Church on January 26th, 2019 - Watch Sermon