“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
“Prayer does not equip you for greater works. Prayer is the greater work.” (Oswald Chambers)
As “mature” Christians, we are often immature to ignore, or deny, the reality of spiritual battles between good and evil, and the role we are to have in them. Our foremost weapon in a spiritual aggression is a finely honed knowledge and application of Scripture, affirmed vocally in the same way Jesus stood up to the devil in His wilderness experience.
Prayer is a crucial means to fasten ourselves to our heavenly Father and His will. It is an incredible privilege and humbling responsibility. In times of apparent hopelessness, it can move the hand of God. This biblical prayer is expressing a need to God from the depths of distress as the need is great; it is the gushing out of the soul before Him. In essence, the dove that Noah released from the Ark was as a prayer for the need of dry land, in which he was blessed not only when it returned with an olive-leaf in its mouth, but also when it never returned at all.
Again, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
The conditions for that promise: “that a person is right with God and prays sincerely, believing.” When a person is right with God, the power of his earnest prayer is enormous!
It must be understood, effectual fervent prayer is the hardest work you will do. Not only will it take more out of you than any other kind of work, but you must handle yourself with a strong discipline to make time for effectual fervent prayer; as much time as God requires. That is, if He has not clearly released you from the work of that prayer, you keep on keeping on; you pray without ceasing!
Our natural inclination is to shy away when it comes to praying for what we deem to be the impossible. The problem is that we place the power of prayer too much upon ourselves. We think that we are the ones making things happen in prayer. Instead we are to see ourselves as tools in the Lord’s hands for accomplishing His purposes through our praying. Prayer is an act of obedience and privilege for the believer. We are commanded to pray, “Thy will be done.” But we are also invited to bring our needs before the Lord. We are to anchor ourselves in His faithfulness and promises. We are to see that the very fact that God commands us to pray is the underpinning for effectiveness in our praying.
Tragically, we hesitate to pray, as the evil one urges us into thinking that it will do no good, but James reminds us of the means God has ordained for doing His work among us—prayer. Do you believe this? We are so used to neglecting prayer that it is hard for us to think in terms of its power through God Who is with us.
The reason for this writing is the fact that every recorded revival of church and spiritual awakening has had their explosive beginning from the type of prayer referred to here. No, I am not referring to the wordy, need to tell God everything that I think He won’t know until I tell Him, kind of prayer. I am referring to the prayer which comes through a believer that sees the desperate need, and the warfare that hinders, and is willing to spend his life in fervent prayer until he is released by the Spirit.
“Fervent” means: Very hot: GLOWING (The fervent sun); exhibiting or marked by great intensity of feeling: ZEALOUS (Fervent prayers; a fervent opponent; fervent patriotism).
Biblical Examples of the Power of Fervent Prayer, or, as I call it, Birthing Prayer:
“Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk . . .” (1 Samuel 1:13). Hannah was in desperate need of a child; a boy! She had been barren for some time and was humiliated in society for this lack. In essence she prayed, “LORD God, please. Please bless me with a boy child, and when he is weaned, I will give his life back to You, to serve You.” There were two needs at play and satisfied in this prayer. Hannah wanted/needed a child; God wanted/needed a prophet. Samuel was born from fervent, effectual prayer! God, through Eli, gave her the release from the prayer; she knew an answer was birthed.
“So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees” (1 Kings 18:42).
In this we find Elijah praying fervently for rain to end a three year drought. The interesting thing here is that Elijah already had God’s promise to bring rain in the beginning of chapter 18, and yet having that promise of God, he worked very laborious in his praying for the same. You see, rain (the promised answer) was conceived into the heart of Elijah by God, and if you notice the position of Elijah in prayer in verse 42, you will see that he assumed the normal position in which the Jewish women of the day gave birth to a child conceived in them. Elijah knew it was willed by God to rain, because that concept was conceived in him by God. However, he also understood that as God’s intercessor, it was his responsibility to God to give birth in prayer for that will to be carried out. He birthed the answer!
Jerusalem’s captivity broke Daniel’s heart so deeply that he went into a season of focused prayer as recorded in much of Daniel chapter 9. I record Daniel 9:19 as an illustration of the focused and fervent prayer of his heart which began the birth of the Father’s will concerning His people:
“O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.”
In essence, the angel relayed to Daniel in chapter 10, that his prayer was heard from the first moment he began to pray, and he, the angel, was dispatched with an answer from God. However, he was hindered in the heavenlies by the Prince of Persia, the evil one. Much prayer with the Supernatural assistance of Michael, the archangel, helped the angel break through with a Word. The answer, through focused fervent prayer, was birthed into knowledge and action!
Peter was in incarcerated pending execution. The Church, powerless to rescue him in their abilities and influence, turned to the One Who is mighty to save. They knew of no earthly help, but there was help to be acquired through the Throne of God! The Church surrendered to fervent, unyielding prayer. God sent His angel, to awaken Peter from sleep and lead him out through the first and second regions of the prison; and when they came to the Iron Gate, it opened for them as they approached it, and Peter was free.
The Church was still in fervent prayer when Peter arrived at their meeting place. They had birthed the answer, and, as in all the other examples, they continued in prayer until God released them with knowledge the answer was crowning!
In Matthew 15:22-28, the Canaanite woman refused to take “No” for an answer. She requested that her daughter be healed, and three times she was denied. But she would not quit! She knew the heart and character of the Lord Jesus. Her daughter was healed, and the mother was commended by Jesus: “Woman, you have great FAITH!”
What Makes Our Prayer Effectual (or effective)?
Fervent, effectual prayer is you giving all of your attention, your mind, your will, and your emotions, on that which you firmly believe God has conceived into your spirit. That means your mind is focused on prayer instead of allowing lesser things to distract your attention. Fervent prayer will make a difference in the lives of people and our world, but we must commit to the effort and sacrifice of our time.
When we grasp the promises that God has given, and comprehend His character, and the doctrines by which He works, revealed in His Word, we will pray with confidence and authority, knowing that our prayers will be answered. That which He conceives in us shall be birthed into life through our much prayer!
But Beloved, you must understand, you cannot ‘birth’ something that He has never ‘conceived’ in you!
“LORD, teach us to pray powerful and effective prayers for Your Glory!”
Church, we must have revival and Spiritual Awakening! Pray On!