Recently, I was asking God to heal someone. It would take a miracle and I knew it. I said, God I know you can do this. Jesus instantly healed a blind man, made a lame man walk, healed the lepers, healed the woman with the blood disorder and raised Lazarus from the dead. As I was praying and reminding God of all He could do, He seemed to ask me, But do you believe that I will do it? Are you really expecting me to do this?
It’s like the people who gathered to pray for rain, but only one brought an umbrella.
As I searched my heart, I realized I had my doubts. I was challenged. I know God has done many miracles in my life, but did I really believe He would do another one? Most of the miracles God has done for me, I didn’t even ask Him for them! He chose to step in and do exceedingly, abundantly above anything I even thought to ask. I was humbled as I remembered some of the many miracles God has done in my life.
I also asked myself if I was praying for healing for this person for selfish reasons that would benefit me. I really didn’t think so. Then I think the devil stepped into my thinking with, Well, who do you think you are to think God is going to answer your prayer when there’s probably been lots of family and friends praying and it hasn’t helped? The devil is just good like that to discourage us, isn’t he? I responded with, But what if God choses to use my prayer to change things? And just maybe the health of this person would be a lot worse had it not been for all those other prayers.
I also realized how lacking my prayer life has been in intensity. Oh, I do the “fast food” prayers pretty often, but I sure don’t do enough of the “steak and potato” prayers. As serious as I thought I’d been with God in prayer at times, it occurred to me that I may not even have a clue as to what it’s like to experience deep communion with God.
James 5:16 says,…the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, here are some definitions that helped me understand this better.
Effectual means the power to produce an effect or ardent, the intense degree of zeal, devotion or enthusiasm.
This isn’t a quick prayer said in passing like a lot of mine are or a “send one up” when you feel like it. This is getting down to business with God. I think of Hannah’s prayer in I Samuel 1: 10-13 where she was longing for a child so much she was “in bitterness of soul,” wept, and cried out to God so much that as she prayed the priest thought she was drunk. It was an all-consuming passion of hers to be a mother. She was desperate. She got down to business with God. And God answered in the affirmative and gave her a son.
Now for the righteous part! Does that word make you as uneasy as it does me? I have a hard time thinking of myself as righteous. What does it even mean to be righteous? Again, Webster’s helped me out.
Righteous is acting in accord with divine or moral law; free from guilt or sin.
We learn right from wrong from the Bible.
II Timothy 3:16 says,
I Corinthians 15:34 says, Awake to righteousness, and sin not. So we need to learn what is right and choose to do it. Do right till the stars fall. At the university I attended there was a sign that read, It’s never right to do wrong to get the chance to do right.
The problem is, we won’t ever have the desire to do right without God. But when we repent, believe in Jesus, and ask Him to be the Lord of our life, our “wanter” changes.
Instead of living for ourselves, we want to live for God and do what pleases Him. Philippians 1:11 says we can be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. For He (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
It’s only through Jesus that we can be right with God. BUT, when we are right with God, we become adopted into His family and become a joint heir with Jesus (Romans 8:17).
And then we have an Abba Father or “daddy” that we can confidently, directly converse with at any time when we have a need. We can know He loves us, wants a relationship with us, and is willing and ready to help us when we ask. Hallelujah, what a Savior! But we must ask!
The prayers of the righteous availeth much. That means they matter a lot whether we can actually see results or not.
My prayer right now is that the ones reading this will join with me to resolve to get more serious about talking with God more intently and listening to Him better.
Have a blessed, prayer-filled day!