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Powerful & Effective Prayer

James 5:13-20

Thursday, 13 June 2024

“…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly…”    -James 5:16, 17 [NLT]

James wrote his letter to Jewish Christians who had been scattered throughout the Mediterranean world because of persecution. It also focuses to strengthen one’s faith and offers practical advice on living, for the Christian.

The word Prayer (do pray, will pray, praying) – is mostly used (in vain) by people, including the children of God; and most don’t have a proper practice of prayer in the light of God’s Word—yet the word is still used. Here in our reading, the author encourages/tells us to pray in all situations while taking an example of the Prophet Elijah and equating it with each of us with the statement- Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly (James 5:17) and miracles happened. At first, it may bring a question in our mind as to how James can compare Elijah with each of us—Elijah, the one whom God used mightily, the one who countered the kings, stood against idolatry, etc! How can we?— The answer is PRAYER, which is the connecting point. Elijah is introduced in 1 Kings 17:1 as- Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead- nothing more is said of him, but the latter part of his life very clearly proves that he must have had a Secret Prayer Life before his introduction to the public too!

Some of the terms used by James in this portion will truly help us in the steadfast growth in our prayer life

·         Prayer of faith (Vs.15, 16): The prayer of faith releases great power-it brings God’s intervention in difficult situations. James exhorts those in trouble to pray (V.13); for those who are sick to offer prayer in faith that they may be healed. Confession of sin amongst brethren and praying for one another brings healing (V.16). Psalm 66:18 reminds us:  “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the LORD will not hear.

·         Prayer of the righteous (V.16): A righteous person is one who is justified by the righteousness of Christ and so has the Spirit of Christ. (Rom.8:5). When they offer earnest prayers, much is accomplished as we see in the life of Elijah. God can do much through a person who willingly and earnestly prays effectively.

·         Pray continually (V.18): Elijah persevered in prayer. We too are called to pray until we see the deliverance; 1Thess.5:17 tells us to “pray continually.”


When we look into the Bible, we find that men and women used by God were men and women of secret prayer. Christ Jesus also showed us the great example of a life filled with prayer (Mark 1:35). Prayer is one of the great provisions given by the Lord for us to communicate. God in His mercy has made all the provision for mankind to communicate with Him; 1Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus…” No other means/medium that the world seeks today is required other than what God has provided. Prayer is not a one way but a two-way communication. A real praying person is also one who also hears from the Lord.

Many of our problems would be answered/solved if we take time to get alone with God and seek Him on a regular daily intense time of prayer! In Prayer, one will perceive things which a person of the world cannot. In all of the various situations one faces in life, God looks for His child who leads a victorious Prayer life which will reflect the real Christian character in all the areas of his/her life. Through such His name is glorified!

To Act on: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” (Col.4:2)



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