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Effectual and Fervent Prayer - Part 2
- Effectual and Fervent Prayer - Part 1
The body of Christ needs to unite in effectual, fervent, life-changing prayer. The result will be healing of the body.
A Quick Review of Part 1
James 5:16 tells us " . . . The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." In Part 1 of this series we looked at what it means to pray effectually. We looked at the relationship of prayer to the Body of Christ, our responsibility to the Body of Christ, and what constitutes effectual prayer. As we continue in Part 2 we will now examine the other half of James' equation - fervency.
Fervency has to do with the idea of being hot with much zeal. It is the picture of a boiling liquid or a glowing solid. We are told in II Peter 2:10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. “
It is fervency that drives us to continue to pray even in the face of what might look like defeat. It is during these times that we must know and claim God’s promises. Jude 20 tells us that we are to be “. . . praying in the Holy Ghost.” Praying in the Holy Ghost is not praying in some secret prayer language. It is simply praying while under the control of the Holy Spirit. I believe it is a good practice to start your prayer time with a request to the Holy Spirit that He will direct you to pray as He would. We are told in Philippians 2:5 to “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
As we pray according to His will, He is obligated to answer according to His Word. What wonderful assurance that our God hears us!
Further we are told in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Is it not God’s will to heal a fallen brother or sister who humbly approaches you to ask prayer on their behalf? Absolutely! You can rest assured that if the person is seeking true healing and you claim God’s promise of restoration, God will work in the situation. Is it God’s will for an individual to be revived and live a life full of the Holy Spirit? Be sure God will work in that individual. Perhaps that individual is you.
God's Will or Man's Will
In a sense, the only thing stronger than God’s will is man’s will. Although God could impose His will on anybody at any time, He chooses not to. He will never twist an arm to get obedience. We are to obey Him out of love (John 14:15). We can continue living in sin, and God will allow it to our own detriment. But if an errant heart approaches the throne of God seeking forgiveness and cleansing, be sure He will find it. So pray to that end. God is faithful to work even though there may be rebellion in the heart of His child.
Lessons from Luke 18
Consider the widow in Luke 18:2-8. “ . . . There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily . . . .”
This dear woman sought the judge with fervency. She was red hot and zealous in her quest for justice. She knew what was right. She would not be denied. She continued to address her concerns over and over again until they were acted upon. Even though a parable, there are several differences between the woman and us; between the Father and the Judge.
- God is just; the judge is unjust
- The widow was a stranger; We are God’s elect
- The judge never promised to listen to the widow; God has promised
- The widow comes uninvited; we are invited many times over to come
- (Matthew 7:7, 8; 11:28; John 7:37; Revelation 22:17)
It is in the differences rather than the similarities that these prayer lessons are taught. We must be fervent in prayer – never giving up; always claiming the promises of God with full assurance. Might the Holy Spirit challenge you to a deeper prayer life today?
The Righteous Man
It is the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man that avails. Not just anybody can pray and expect big answers. Only the righteous man. The problem is “. . .There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). Righteousness can only be found in Christ. We are saved only and completely by Christ’s bloody sacrifice and God’s grace. Ephesians 2:8, 9 tells us, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Again in Titus 2:5, 6 we read, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” God has poured out His mercy on us so that we might be saved; so that we might become children of God, and enter a new relationship.
A New Bloodline
Revelation 1:5 says, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” We have no righteousness of our own. We do need to possess the righteousness of Christ. He has arranged for that through the provision of His own blood. When we give up on ourselves and repent of our sin, God gives us this new standing which we must have to obtain answered prayer. When we turn “. . . to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (I Thessalonians 1:9), God pours out His righteousness on us.
We belong to God. We are part of His family. Still sin can enter in – and when it does God cannot hear us for we are told in Isaiah 49:1, 2 “Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Psalm 66:18 adds, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Again we are told in Proverbs 15:8, 29 “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight. . . The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.”
It is the man (or woman) found in Christ’s righteousness who prays in the Holy Ghost who will see God answer in great power. It is this one who will consistently see big answers to big prayers. God wants “. . . to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,” but He adds, “. . . according to the power that worketh in us.” Sin blocks the direct supernatural power of God. It hinders the work that could be done. But a righteous man allows God free course in His life, and as he prays effectually and fervently, God answers. His effort has availed much.
The Greek word, ischuō, translated as availeth in James 5:16 means in part to have or exercise force. It can also mean to prevail, or be of strength. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man will prevail, will be of strength by exercising force.
A New Direction
Praying in the Holy Ghost effectually and fervently changes the course of sinful man and puts him on the course of God. It will change your course. It will cause you to live supernaturally above the circumstances, and be victorious in all your endeavors. Do not settle for anything less than God’s best. He has provided for you to experience the abundant life now (John 10:10).