The e-book of James says, “The prayer of a righteous individual has nice energy as it’s working” (5:16b ESV). Different translations say, “the prayer of a righteous individual is highly effective and efficient” (NIV) or “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth a lot” (KJV). This verse motivates us to cry out to God as a result of He makes use of our prayers to alter the world.
However what precisely does this phrase from James imply? Does it imply that we’ll obtain every little thing we pray for, or that holiness strengthens our prayers? Earlier than answering these questions and declaring the traits of efficient prayer, let’s take a look at the verse in its context.
The e-book of James ends with a name to prayer:
Is anybody amongst you struggling? Let him pray… Is anybody amongst you sick? Let him name for the elders of the church, and allow them to pray over him… And the prayer of religion will save the one who’s sick, and the Lord will elevate him up. And if he has dedicated sins, he might be forgiven. Due to this fact, confess your sins to 1 one other and pray for each other, that you could be be healed. (James 5:13–16a)
In different phrases, if prayer will help a brother who’s sick, battling sin, or struggling for every other purpose, pray! God listens to the cries of His kids. Then in verse 16b, James reiterates the facility of prayer: “The prayer of a righteous individual has nice energy as it’s working.”
Traits of Efficient Prayer
Elsewhere in Scripture we see traits of efficient prayer:
1) Efficient prayer is finished in religion.
James mentions “the prayer of religion” twice, as soon as in James 1:5-8 and once more in James 5:15. Religion is critical for efficient prayer as a result of, as Hebrews 11:6 says, “with out religion it’s unimaginable to please God.”
Some individuals attempt to manipulate God on this level, claiming that they’ll obtain their requests as a result of their requests had been (supposedly) made in religion. However the prayer of religion is just not concerning the outcomes of our prayers. Quite, it has to do with the straightforward perception that God exists, listens to us, and that each consequence of prayer is in His sovereign and merciful fingers.
2) Efficient prayer has the appropriate motives.
James mentions one other impediment to efficient prayer: false motives. James 4:3 says, “You ask and don’t obtain, since you ask wrongly, to spend it in your passions.” Impure motives can disqualify our prayers.
3) Efficient prayer comes from the lips of “the righteous.”
James doesn’t promise that everybody’s prayer can receive every little thing requested for, he particularly mentions “the prayer of the righteous individual” (emphasis mine). We should be cautious at this level, as a result of nobody is ideal and God finally listens to us due to Christ’s righteousness, not ours. Nevertheless, our holy residing does matter in prayer, as James asserts.
The psalmist acknowledges, “If I see iniquity in my coronary heart, the Lord won’t hear me” (Psalm 66:18). Different passages point out that our sin in opposition to others generally is a hindrance to prayer (see 1 Peter 3:7; Matthew 5:23-24; Mark 11:25; 1 Timothy 2:8).
Our motivation in residing righteously ought to be first to please God, to not obtain what we would like. (Don’t neglect that our motives matter!) God is the One who decides how and when to reply.
The instance of King Hezekiah in Isaiah 38 is value mentioning. After listening to that he was going to die (verse 1), Hezekiah cried out for mercy, and undergirded his plea by reminding God of his righteousness, “Please, O Lord, keep in mind how I’ve walked earlier than you in faithfulness and with an entire coronary heart, and have finished what is nice in your sight” (verse 3). God answered, “I’ve heard your prayer; I’ve seen your tears. Behold, I’ll add fifteen years to your life” (verse 5).
4) Efficient prayer has the posture of “Your might be finished.”
Improper enthusiastic about prayer teaches that it’ll all the time lead to getting what we would like, typically with a “identify it and declare it” mentality. However God’s solutions usually are not all the time in accordance with our needs or our timetable. Even our Lord Jesus Christ, the head of righteousness, prayed “not as I’ll, however as you’ll” (Matthew 26:39). Our confidence earlier than God is that “if we ask something in accordance with His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).
There may be extra I may point out, however it’s value recommending what I contemplate to be essentially the most useful apply for prayer: praying the Bible. It shouldn’t shock us that permitting God’s Phrase to form our prayers is highly effective, as a result of it produces what we have to pray successfully: religion, holy lives and motives, and an understanding of God’s revealed will (see Romans 10:17; John 17:17).
Go deeper on this matter within the free Open the Bible for Leaders course Pray the Bible.
What are the outcomes of efficient prayer?
The reply is easy: the outcomes that our almighty God desires. Think about the instance James shares:
Elijah was a person with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it may not rain, and for 3 years and 6 months it didn’t rain on the earth. Then he prayed once more, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. (James 5:17-18)
In response to this instance from 1 Kings 17–18, efficient prayer can cease rain for greater than three years! So, there are not any limits to the best way God can reply our prayers which might be in accordance with His sovereign will.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “He who didn’t spare his personal Son however gave him up for us all, how will he not additionally with him graciously give us all issues” (Romans 8:32). If we’re kids of God and “greater than conquerors” in His sight (Romans 8:37), why would He not reply us if we pray in accordance with His will?
Efficient Prayer Modifications the World
I just like the story that Dr. Phil Ryken tells. As a member of a church in Scotland, Ryken noticed that fellow church members thanked God for answering their prayers to assist Jap European international locations escape Communism and the Soviet empire. They actually thought that their prayers helped in these world occasions.
Ryken commented that he was about to inform some the state of affairs was extra sophisticated than they thought. In any case, there have been problems with the worldwide financial system, the complicated relationships between nations, the specter of nuclear weapons, and the intense faults of communism. He was going to inform them that their prayers alone weren’t sufficient to deliver down the Berlin Wall. However he didn’t. He knew that such pondering was not appropriate and that God does use the prayers of His kids to alter the world.
Is it not true that “God selected what’s silly on this planet to disgrace the sensible” (1 Corinthians 1:27)? Let’s not neglect that God instructions us to hope “for kings and all who’re in excessive positions” (1 Timothy 2:2). Why would He command this if he had no plans to make use of our prayers for world leaders to alter the world?
Efficient prayer has higher outcomes than we will think about. God is “capable of do way more abundantly than all that we ask or suppose” (Ephesians 3:20). Do you pray as if this had been true? No, as I’ve talked about God isn’t all the time going to reply us in the best way or timing we would like. However after we pray in religion, every little thing is feasible, not as a result of we’re so sensible or highly effective, however as a result of our sovereign God is.
All of us face obstacles in prayer. Some are theological; we neglect why prayer issues or don’t really feel heard by God. Different obstacles are sensible; we don’t know what to say or we merely can’t focus for prayer. Kevin Halloran believes that if we pray the Bible, we will bypass a lot of our struggles and go straight to fruitful prayer and deeper communion with God.
The free course Pray the Bible will introduce you to the advantages of praying the Bible in addition to a number of instruments for doing so. Watch the trailer beneath.
 Dr. Phil Ryken shares this story within the 9Marks article “Praying as a Church for the World and Your Metropolis.”
A model of this text initially in Spanish at Coalición por el Evangelio.