The effective prayer of a righteous man is not based on their righteousness. It’s based on their relationship with Christ and the effort and the time they have set aside to really get to know God’s heart, so they are praying in alignment with those things that Christ wants to see accomplished on the earth.
Hi and welcome back to Daily Bible Promises with a Twist. And today, as always, we’re going to start off by reading from the New International Version James 5:16 “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
And as is our custom, we’re going to be reading this verse in context and in another translation just so we can get a broader scope of what the author was trying to say. Today we’re going to be reading from the new American Standard Bible. James 5:13-16 “Is anyone among you suffering. let him pray, is anyone cheerful let him sing praises, 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 offered in faith will restore the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up and if he has committed sins they will be forgiven him. Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effect of a prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
So let’s ask our usual questions. Who wrote this book and who was he writing to and what was going on in the chapter that I just quoted from?
Many Bible scholars feel that James was Jesus half-brother who came to faith after Jesus death and resurrection. Who was James writing to? We’re not really sure. However, this letter was broadly read amongst the first-century church. James was practical, pragmatic, and very blunt and he went right to the point.
In the last half of chapter 5, in the book of James, James is offering some practical advice on how important it is to lean on one another in our Christian walk. Some points to bring up. In verse 15, let’s read that again. “The prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick and the Lord will raise him up and if he has committed sins they will be forgiven him.”
There are some people who believe that if somebody is ill or is sick that they’ve done something to cause that to happen. There is a little bit of truth in that if you don’t take good care of yourself if you eat the wrong foods etc, that can have a direct effect on your life. But to put that shame on someone who is already heavy burdened is not exactly the Jesus way of doing things. Jesus never expected anybody to clean up their act before he healed them.
And in verse 16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous person can accomplish much.”
There are some people who feel that if they can figure out the exact formula in praying that they will be more effective. I don’t think that is the point. God isn’t about us following a formula so he can check off the box to see if our prayers fit all the necessary requirements so he can fulfil our prayer. He’s all about relationship. He doesn’t want us to be turning to the law, whether it’s the Old Testament law or rules and regulations we have put on ourselves in our Christian culture.
The more time I spend with friends, the more I can anticipate the way that they are going to think and respond to certain situations. I get to know their heart. I get to know their mind. I get to know their habits. It is exactly the same thing with my relationship with Christ.
The more I hang out with Him and observe the way that He does things, the more that I prayerfully read the accounts of Jesus interactions with other people, the more I get a glimpse of what makes Him tick. It’s much easier to co-labour with Christ when we already have a clue where Christ is going to go in a certain situation.
So, the effective prayer of a righteous man is not based on their righteousness. It’s based on their relationship with Christ and the effort and the time they have set aside to really get to know God’s heart, so they are praying in alignment with those things that Christ wants to see accomplished on the earth.
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©2018 Katherine Walden
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