James 5:16b - The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
James tells us that the earnest prayer of a righteous man is tremendously effective. That simple statement came from the mature experience of a man who knew what he was talking about. He had seen people kicked around by life. He may have been kicked around by life himself. He knew that it was prayer, speaking to and leaning on God in a sincere faith, that produced wonderful results—results that were best understood by faith in God "who works all things according to the counsel of His will" (Ephesians 1:11b).
Have faith in God, my friend, and do not hesitate to pray to Him. Give Him thanks for His uncountable blessings. Praise Him for speaking the universe into existence yet not forgetting your smallest need and rambling petition. Call on Him for all things, at all times, in all places. This is God's will for us. As the apostle Paul joyfully tells us, "And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
Commit your life to God in prayer. The righteous man has no intention of being his own god. He knows God too well for that. He only asks that God show Himself to be God in His own way, on His own terms. The righteous man lines up with God, with His will and His purpose. It is enough for him, to know that he is with God and God is with him.
The righteous man also lives by his prayers. He prays to God to heal the sick, and then he steps outside his comfort zone to aid the sick and to help those in trouble. He prays to God for peace in the world, and then he goes out to make peace where he lives: his home, his neighborhood, his workplace. He prays to God for people that they may come to know their Savior Jesus Christ, and then he shares the Good News with others, so they too may become forgiven sons and daughters of God Almighty.
Remember, too, that God often answers prayers in subtle not splashy ways. Keep your eyes open to His unending goodness and genuine concern for you. Increase your understanding of God by spending time in His Word. As you do, you redeem valuable time often tossed aside in trivial pursuits. Also, pray to Him in full confidence, eager to be guided by the Holy Spirit's prompting in your life—and then follow His leading!
I can tell you, as did St. James: praying to God is not phony. Your sincerity will be respected and rewarded by God who wants you to come to Him. Truly, the prayer of a righteous man is God pleasing and "has great power as it is working."
WE PRAY: Heavenly Father, thank You for listening to us when we pray. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From "Prayer Is Phony," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour.
1. Do you have a regular time of prayer with God? When works best for you?
2. Why would God want us to pray to Him? What's the benefit to us?
3. Do you encourage others to pray to God for their needs?
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