“The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16b)
I continue staring out of my office window at the Cross near the PBA building. I remember the 30 days of prayer emphasis which touched and is touching the lives of many people. I remember coming to the Cross on some of those cold and chilly mornings to pray as well as to open the PBA office for those who desired to pray early. I remember those who prayed all day long. I remember the 3 nights of “The Power of the Cross” evangelism rally with Bro. Terry Long and Bro. Shannon Knight challenging and encouraging us to see how the Cross is “foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the Power of God”. (I Corinthians 1:18) I remember the young man who made a public confession of his faith, and how we all prayed for him and his growth in his new found faith. I remember…
James is remembering, too. He remembers because he knows that prayer is the key to change everything. This section is called “the prayer of faith”. James, in his brief letter to the scattered Jews throughout the Roman Empire, admonishes his brothers to pray for those in trouble, for those who are happy, for those who are sick, for those who need to confess their sins, and for those who have wandered from the truth. He gives these brothers practical ways to restore, heal, forgive, and ask in Jesus’ name. I believe James was able to give this advice not only because he practiced it personally, but also, because he saw it lived out in the life of his half-brother, Jesus. Although James did not come to a full knowledge of who his brother was until after Pentecost, he could not deny that Jesus had an intimate relationship with the Father through prayer.
How is our prayer life? Is it consistent? Is it stagnant? Are we praying just for our personal needs or those of our family? Or are we praying for the lost, the coming of Christ’s Kingdom, our churches, our pastors, our leaders, etc…? James gives us the example of Elijah who “being human, even as we are” prayed earnestly for it not to rain, and it didn’t. Then, he prayed again, and it did. If Elijah as a human can pray this way, what hinders us from doing the same? I realize that I many times do not have this type of faith.
On Thursday, May 4 is the National Day of Prayer emphasis. Although the plans are sketchy now, there will be a time of prayer at the Cross at the PBA office from 12 noon until 12:30 pm on this date. I hope you’ll make plans to join us. If you can’t make it, pray where you are…at home, at work, at school, wherever. God hears the effective fervent prayer of the righteous.
Until Next Month,