James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
This is a great passage on prayer. We are to not only confess our faults – which takes humility and honesty – but we are to pray for each other. But what about effectual fervent prayer?
- Effectual – producing a desired effect
- Fervent – intensely passionate
We are to pray with intense passion for an intended effect. This shows the banality of “Hopes and Prayers,” which has become a cliché during times of tragedy. Most who say it do not follow up with effectual fervent prayer. Very few people are locking themselves away in their prayer closet and praying with intensity. At best, they say a quick prayer about healing in the moment and forget about it later on. At worst, they offer “hopes and prayers,” but don’t even pray.
The next thing is that we are to be righteous for our prayers to be valuable (availeth much). Now, the Bible says that there are none righteous (Romans 3:10), but Christ’s righteousness has been imputed onto us who are saved by the Gospel (Romans 4). 1 John 3:7 says, “he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” We are righteous through Christ, but we can also do righteousness when we act like the Lord.
In those moments when we are walking close to God, our prayers become even more effectual and fervent, and, therefore, they avail much.
This is humbling for me. I know my prayer life is not where it should be. When I pray for someone, it may not be as valuable as it should be. My prayers are not as effectual and fervent as they should be.
I do not think I am alone in this. I hope I am not alone in trying to be better at communicating with the Lord through prayer.