“…The effective prayer of a righteous [person] can accomplish much.” (James 5:16 New American Standard Bible= NASB)
Much has been written and said about the power of prayer. That includes an e-mail that goes around which encourages people to pray because “prayers are powerful.” In the above verse, James (Jesus’ half brother); agrees with that; however, James isn’t talking about just any prayer to any god we happen to choose.
First he talks about “effective” prayer. Webster’s dictionary defines “effective” as “producing a result.” Maybe Paul is talking about this kind of prayer in Ephesians when he says to pray all the time “in the Spirit.” If we let God’s Spirit touch our hearts and open our eyes to what God wants, our prayers probably have more effect. Also, to produce a result, prayer must be to the one, true, almighty God, for nothing and no one else can even come close to Who He is and what He can and will do for those who pray.
Second, it is the righteous person’s prayers that accomplish great things. The book of James is written to people who have received salvation through Jesus Christ. These believers have been given the righteousness of God in Christ. However, since we’re human we still sometimes sin. That’s where the first part of James 5:16 comes in. It says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.” (NASB) If we’re honest with self, God, and others, being accountable and confessing our sins, then the blood of Jesus cleanses us, and we can rightly pray.
Another encouraging verse about the prayers of the righteous: “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry…. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:15, 17 New King James)
Thank You, Father for making us righteous in Christ, for hearing our cries, delivering us out of trouble, watching over us, and listening to us. Amen.
Remember: God Cares for us. Trust in God! “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him….” (Nahum 1:7 New International Version)
Copyright Tricia Opitz 6/22/10