Our final post continues the thought introduced in our last post on prayer. This is also our last lesson on the series we started back in November of last year. I hope you have enjoyed the series; I for one have enjoyed bringing it to you.
Pray for Each Other
In verse 16 James challenges us to be concerned with, and pray for, each other. The latter part of this verse is often quoted “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” There is power in prayer and to those who pray, faith believing, God will hear and answer. James describes the manner of prayer as “effectual fervent” prayer. It would stand to reason that we examine this manner of prayer so our prayers would be heard.
What does effectual fervent mean? In the original language there is only one word. The English language often uses more than one word to describe an action or thing. Let’s use the word hot as an example. We know what hot means; “don’t touch that it’s hot”. Now if we want to emphasize how hot we might say “don’t touch that it’s really hot”. This is what is happening here; the expression is meant to point out the manner of prayer by putting a “really” in front. The word fervent describes the manner; from the heart, passionate and intense. A really passionate prayer puts life on hold; we enter into a moment where there is nothing more important than reaching out to our Creator.
There is another qualification in this verse, a righteous man. This verse is directed towards the redeemed. If we allow the world to infiltrate our heart even a really passionate prayer has no chance of being heard. Psa 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: (In this case we need an effectual fervent prayer of repentance.)
Do we want God to hear us? Of course we do. Seek God, on His terms, with all your heart and He will answer.
Verse 17: James gives us an example from the Old Testament where Elijah prayed to God to stop the rain. Elijah saw the sins of Israel and wanted God to get their attention. He asked for drought conditions because nothing gets people’s attention like hitting them in the pocket book. After 3 1/2 years Elijah prayed again for rain and God sent the rain. James points out that Elijah, although he was famous, was just like us, he was human, he dealt with the ups and downs of life just like we do. He prayed, faith believing, and God heard and answered him. Elijah’s intentions were pure; he didn’t pray for personal gain, he prayed for the restoration of Israel to God.
Verses 19-20: James, in the last two verses of the book, leaves us with a personal challenge: James says our highest and best use is to help others who have either lost their way or never knew the Lord to repent and be made whole. To save a soul from eternal damnation is God’s top priority. Seeing a soul restored makes God happy. There is no greater honor among men than to help unite a sinner with the Savior.
* 1st Photo – experiencelifenow.com
* 2nd Photo – pitts.emory.edu