James 5:13-19:  Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.  Is any sick among you? 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 shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Each of us would have to admit – we want our prayers to be effective.
Prayer is the final piece (if you would) of the armor that we are supposed to be equipped with as we fight in this spiritual battle. Not one saved person here today is exempt from fighting in the battle of the Lord this morning. As we gird our loins with truth, and put on the breastplate of righteousness, our feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, we hold in our hand the shield of faith, our head is protected with the helmet of salvation, and our hand is cleaving to the sword of Gods word – THEN – before he closes this thought he says PRAY ALWAYS!!
Paul says to the church of Thessalonica to “Pray without ceasing.” This has to do with always being in the mindset of prayer. The Lord can see things that I cannot see. Through prayer I am asking God to guide my every step, my every movement in this Christian life. He is my “spotter” – The Lord has a better perspective than I have. Therefore, I want to keep in close communication with Him as I serve Him. As I pray for the leading of the Spirit – the Lord, in turn, assists my goings and leads me in the path that I should travel.
In our text verses we find three things essentials in order to have Effective Prayer.
I. Type of Person (vs.16)
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man…” The type person is not one who is declared righteous by friends or family. This righteous man is declared righteous by the Lord Himself.
Could it be that one of the reasons that our nation is in the condition that she finds herself today is due to the fact that we have people defining what “true righteousness” is instead of yielding to the Scriptures and obeying the Words of our Almighty God so that He would be able to declare us righteous.
Proverbs 14:34 clearly states, “Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to many people.” The word of God does not return void. Every promise in the book is mine if I will simply obey and yield to the Lord’s way instead of mine.
God is looking for a righteous man, woman, boy or girl who will live rightly in public and private. A righteous person is a repentant person – one willing to turn away from his sin and follow after Christ. A righteous person is a Responsive person – one who does not just read the Bible to read it, but reads the Bible so that he/she might become more like the Master. A righteous person is a receptive person – one who listens to the Word of God when it is preached, taught, or read and receives something for his/her life by way of the Holy Spirit of God.
II. Type of Prayer (vs.16)
This prayer that James is talking about is an “effective” and “fervent” prayer! There is power in prayer! I am not talking about a fleshly power, but a HOLY and GODLY power from our Lord. This type power is preceded by righteousness!
Many of us have been placed in situations that have required us to pray. Yet, how many times have we found ourselves in such situations and we just are not sure if we were being effective. The effectiveness of our prayers has much to do with our righteousness.
Effectual means, “producing and effect; the effect desired or intended; having adequate power or force to produce the effect.”
Fervent means “to be active; efficient; to do”.
We have to get away from just saying words, and start putting action to our prayers.
Serve while you are waiting for your prayer to be answered. Our ultimate desire is for the Lord’s will to be accomplished through every situation.
Just because God says “No” to what you are praying for does not mean that your prayers were not effective. We must remain fervent as we pray. “…fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” (Romans 12:11)
III. The Type of Power (vs.13,15)
Too often we look at the men that God used in the Bible and we convince ourselves that God could never use me in the same way that He used them. WHY!? This spiritual power of prayer can be tapped into by a righteous man or woman who is effectively and fervently praying for God’s power to fall.
This power is the same power that Elijah had access too! (James 5:17)
We are not limited by the time period in which we live, nor are we limited by the past that we have been saved from – we are only limited by our sin, by our lack of faith, and by our lack of fervency.
In verse seventeen we see that Elijah prayed “earnestly”. Earnestly means “warmly; zealously; importunately; eagerly; and with real desire.”
Elijah was not better than you are – HE JUST WANTED IT MORE THAT WE DO!
Sad but true is the following fact: we only start praying when the need gets out of our control! We ought to pray in the good times and bad times. We need to begin praying until the light breaks through. What happened to those days when believers would pray through the night till the breaking of the dawn.
We need to stop falling asleep in prayer. We need to, once again, pray with real desire. Let us, together, beg our families back to God, beg for marriages to stay together, beg for the friend or family member to get saved, and let us learn what real earnest prayer is once again.
Our greatest desire through prayer is that the will of God be accomplished.
So, as we pray, let us yield to His will and way in every situation. In this passage (of which there is so much more that could be expounded upon) let us discover the formula for Effective Prayer in this great day in which we live.