“…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” - James 5:16b
There are many passages in the Bible about prayer but this passage of scripture in James is so important because it highlights or accentuates prayer. Pray should not be an exercise that we do out of duty. It should not be cold, routine, or indifferent, but according to our verse it should be “effectual” and “fervent.”
An “effectual fervent” prayer means an “inner energetic working” prayer. This kind of energized prayer comes from God’s Spirit working deep within us so that we can pray supernaturally according to His will (1 John 5:14). This “inner energetic” prayer is something that you cannot see, you cannot conceive, you cannot contrive, and you cannot conjure up. “For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” Philippians 2:13.
When we pray we are getting God’s attention, but when we enter into that Spirit led “effectual fervent” prayer – that grabs a hold of God’s heart, and our prayers become effective and “avails much.” We see this to be true because the first century early Church grew mightily because they were mighty in that “effectual fervent” prayer. This empowered them to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, the Savior for sinners. If the first century Christians advanced on their knees with their heads bowed toward heaven should not the twenty-first century Christians do the same?
Take a step back and look at modern Christianity and compare it to the early Church. The early Church did not have puppet shows, bowling alleys, and costume parties – but they had God’s special attention through their “effectual fervent” prayers. In the book of Acts hundreds and even thousands were being saved by prayer bathed evangelism. They had such an energetic prayer for the glory of God to save the lost that God heard their prayers and answered them.
God can sovereignly do all things without us, but He has sovereignly determined to involve us by “effectual fervent” prayers. Whether it’s a long or short prayer it does not matter. What matters is that there is a deep inner energetic work in our very spirit and soul reaching out to touch the heart of God.
This kind of “effectual fervent” prayer is not for “super-spiritual-Christians” – whatever that is? This “effectual fervent” prayer is available for every Christian if they want it. Our Lord Jesus instructed us in Luke 11:13 that our heavenly Father will “give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.” So whatever needs that we have to overcome our weakness in prayer and enter into that “effectual fervent” prayer is only an “asking” away. God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us in our prayers – so simply ask! Ask for the Spirit’s help for that “effectual fervent” or “inner energized” prayer that “avails much.”
David C. Hale, pastor Email: