James 5:16 NIV
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
If you are like most people, it may seem like there is never enough time to do all of the things we need to do. Just thinking about all of the things we don’t have time to do can give us a headache and make us sick. However, there are some things that, if we are to live successfully, we must make time to do. On the top of that to do list should be prayer.
It is in prayer that we communicate with God and can share all of our concerns and feelings with Him. I believe that God desires to not only know what we want but also what we feel. When the pains and burdens of life begin to weigh us down, we should open up the communication line to God through prayer. In prayer, God can reassure us, speak to us about our problems and provide us with direction. Prayer is our lifeline.
When I find myself overwhelmed by the burdens of life, I often stop to think about my prayer life. I ask myself if I am praying enough. I ask myself if I have sincerely sought direction from God. During the rough times, I find that I could usually stand to pray a little more.
James 5:16 tells us that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective. The first thought that comes to my mind is “what does it mean to be righteous?” One definition of righteous offered by dictionary.com is “acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous: a righteous and godly person.” In other words, a righteous person is someone who lives right according to God’s commandments. Deuteronomy 5:29 tells us that the way for us and our children to live a good life forever is to keep all of God’s commands. This is what a righteous person strives to do. From this, we can understand that step one to praying powerful and effective prayers is to live righteously.
Step two for praying powerful and effective prayers is to be persistent in our prayers. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says that we have to pray without ceasing. We cannot give up on our prayers. Even when we may have been praying for a long time for something to manifest in our lives, we must continue to pray until we receive an answer from God. We must be tenacious in our prayers until God speaks to us about our situation. There is a saying that I really like that says we should P.U.S.H. That is we should pray until something happens. We should never give up on our prayers because there is tremendous power in prayer.
Scripture also tells us that our prayers should be fervent. This means that we should be intense in our prayers and should pray with passion. I believe that God wants to hear our honest, sincere and heartfelt prayers. It is through praying in this manner that we pursue a real relationship with God. It is awesome to understand that God wants to know us intimately.
Although there is tremendous power in prayer, we should understand that the power in our prayers is not due to our holiness or goodness but is due to the power and grace of God. It is by God’s grace that our prayers become effective. Isn’t it good to know that it is not by our strength but by His strength that prayer changes the circumstances in our lives? If you strive to live righteously, pray persistently and with sincerity and passion, God can do some wonderful things in response to our prayers.