Before we say "amen"....

We've looked at the prayer Jesus gave us as our model and unpacked the topics to cover in our communication with the Father. Worship, allegiance to God's Kingdom, submission to His perfect will, petition for what we need (on a daily basis!), confession/forgiveness, supplication for help in trials.  Great stuff.  I hope it's helped our prayer lives, remembering that prayer is not to inform God of what we need (He already knows - see Matthew 6:32) but rather to strengthen our relationship with our Heavenly Father, increasing our intimacy with Him so that we are transformed into the image of His Son.

Looking at James 5:16b, The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working, I find myself wanting to address a few more things.  The familiar King James translation of this verse says "The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much".  We want to "avail much" through our prayer life - what are some other things we need to know?

Scripture tells us at least 4 things, I think, that reveal what it means to be fervent and righteous:
1.  Right reason - James 4:2,3 You do not have because you do not ask; you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, so you can spend it on your passions.  Pretty straightforward.  No need for me to expound.

 2.  Right request - John 14:14  If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it  and I John 5:14  This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  A righteous person will ask God for things that are consistent with His Word, i.e., according to His Will.  That's why they get answers...."availeth much".

3.  Right relationships - with God (as in sins confessed - John 9:31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him and Psalm 66:18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened) and with others (Matthew 6:14,15 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses  and Matthew 5:23,24  So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.) 

4.  Right requirement - "fervent prayer" is one of faith and persistence.  James 1:6-8 tells us the key ingredient is faith - But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.  And we are told of the importance of persistence in Matthew 7:7-11, lest we think a casual thought tossed heavenward would yield great fruit.

Prayer.  God's chosen method of getting His will done on Earth...conforming His saints to the image of His Son.  Amen.

Pray on, Sisters, pray on!