Prayer is powerful. This is something I think we all know, but it is very easy to forget. It is important to note, however, that not every prayer is powerful. We will be discussing these three aspects of prayer that help it work: 1) prayers of the faithful and righteous, 2) prayer without doubt, and 3) ceaseless prayer.
First, prayer works when one is faithful to God and striving to live a holy life. Listen to what James says about this:
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 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. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” (James 5:13-18)
James tells us that “the prayer of faith will save the sick” and that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” We could then surmise that the “faithless” prayer will NOT save the sick and that even the “fervent prayer” of an UNrighteous man does NOT avail much. James is describing to us the power of prayer by reminding us that prayers backed by faith and righteousness are prayers that will bring forth results. We see that it is unlikely that the prayers of one who is not diligently seeking the Lord will have any effect. Seek the Lord and try to live as He has called you to live and your prayers will truly work.
Second, prayer works when one believes that God has the power to answer prayer. James also tells us this in chapter 1:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:5-8)
Here, James is writing specifically in regards to asking for wisdom from God. However, he stresses that when asking for anything, one must not doubt. He says that such a person should not expect to receive anything from God. Therefore, when we pray, we must have faith that God has the power to make our requests a reality. When you believe this, you may just find your prayers to be answered.
Third, prayer works when one continues ceaselessly in it. Paul says this:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)
This passage, although shorter than the others, springs up many thoughts about what praying “without ceasing” could mean. Should it be taken extremely literally, telling us that there must never be a moment in our lives when we should not be praying to God? Most likely not. What the thought seems to be here is that we should always be in a state in our lives where we can pray. We should never stop praying, just as we should never stop reading God’s Word. We don’t have to read the Bible every moment of every day, but we should never get out of the habit. Thus, we should never get out of the habit of prayer. It should be a part of our daily lives.
Also, we should always be able to talk to God at any time. Our “conversation” should never cease. At any point in the day, we should be able to talk to God, glorify Him, thank Him, and “cast our cares on Him” (1 Peter 5:7). In this way, we can “pray without ceasing.” When you continue daily in prayer, you will build your relationship with the Lord, and you will see more and more ways in which prayer works.
Let us take time to evaluate ourselves today by asking ourselves: 1) Am I living faithfully in God’s eyes? 2) Do I believe that God is faithful and powerful to answer my prayers? 3) Do I continue my conversation with God daily? If we can do these things, we will see every day: prayer works.
Leave a comment either: about a time you were able to just talk to God during the day, or a time in your life when you saw prayer work.