Pray Effectively

‘The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.’ James 5:16 NKJV

The Bible says: ‘The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.’ (James 5:16–17 NKJV) There are two words in this portion of Scripture that you need to pay particular attention to:

(1) ‘Fervent’. This describes the intense heat you get from a blazing fire. The Amplified Bible puts it like this: ‘The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].’ If you’re not careful, you can fall into the trap of thinking you have to ‘work up’ strong emotions before you pray or while you’re praying, in order for your prayers to be heard and answered. Not so! Your feelings may move you, but only your faith will move God. The Bible says, ‘Anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.’ (Hebrews 11:6 NIV) Just because you felt God’s presence in a special way yesterday when you prayed, and you don’t today, doesn’t mean your prayers aren’t being heard and won’t be answered.

(2) ‘Righteous’. Elijah was a righteous man, but he certainly wasn’t a perfect man. Yes, his prayers were effective. But he was also given to bouts of fear and deep depression. Here’s the key: because you are clothed in Christ’s righteousness you’re always worthy and acceptable before God, therefore you can be confident your prayers will be heard and answered (see Romans 5:17). Knowing that, you can pray effectively.

SoulFood: 1 Kings 17:1–7, 1 Kings 18:41–46, Mark 4:35–41

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2021

Today’s Readings

1 Kings 17:1–7

17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” And the word of the LORD came to him: “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the LORD. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

1 Kings 17:1

17:1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”

1 Kings 18:41–46

41 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. 43 And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. 44 And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” 45 And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. 46 And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

Mark 4:35–41

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Sun 20 June, 2021


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