“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.” Jam 5:16
God wants our prayers to avail much – to produce or result in a benefit or an advantage (Webster’s). We saw how the prayers of the righteous man avails much. But what is an effective prayer, a prayer that is capable of producing a result?
1) We need to pray the words of Scripture as we pray for a situation.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Heb 4:12
“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isa 55:11
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” Joh 15:7
When we pray the Word over a situation, we agree with what God has already said. We bear witness to Him, in other words. Years ago I had a dear friend who had gotten away from biblical Christianity and was convinced of some heretical doctrines. She had turned aside to the right and to the left, and had left the narrow way. So I began praying for her, particularly Joh 10:4-5. She was His sheep, therefore, the Word said, she would know His voice and follow Him, but flee from strangers. My prayers for her were not pleadings with God to do something; they were declarations of what the Word said about her, over her life. Now my friend lived in another state, before computers and cell phones and text messages, so I had limited contact with her. But after praying the Word over her for six months, she woke up one day, she told me later, and had something she described as scales fall off her eyes, and she could see the truth clearly in everything that she had been deceived in.
Find out what the Word says about your situation, and start speaking that Word in your prayers!
2) When we pray the words of Scripture, we need to be speaking those words with our mouth, outloud.
The Word of God is living and powerful, we saw. It carries creative power within it:
“Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.” Gen 1:3
“… and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are;” 1 Cor 1:28
Light did not exist as a reality in the natural world. But when God said, “Let there be light,” light was created. The light that was not, was created by the voicing of the Word, and brought to nothing the thing that was, which was darkness. Likewise, in the case of my friend, her belief in the historic doctrines of Christianity was not, and the thing that was, was her belief in hereticsl doctrines. But by the voicing of the Word of God, that which was not — hearing His voice and fleeing from the voice of the stranger — brought to nothing that which was.
There are other reasons to voice the Lord’s Word when we pray:
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom 10:17
When we hear the Word of God with our ears, faith is produced. Even if it is our own voice that is doing the speaking. This is important, because Jesus told us:
“And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Mat 21:22
Also, when we voice the Word of God outloud, it activates the angels who are ministering spirits, who serve those who will inherit salvation (Heb 1:14), in their service:
“Bless the LORD, you His angels, Who excel in strength, who do His word, Heeding the voice of His word.” Psa 103:20
When His Word is done – accomplished – then our prayers have been effective. But the angels aren’t the only beings who are affected when we voice His Word:
“… to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places;” Eph 3:10
The manifold wisdom of God is contained in His Word – it is That Which Is True. How does the church make that wisdom known to the demonic principalities and powers who are in the heavenly places, who are oppressing others and doing the things that we are praying against? They don’t believe that the Word of God is true. They believe their own lies. But when we voice the Word of God aloud, and activate the angels to do the Word which we have voiced, then the truth of God’s Word, the manifold wisdom of God, is made known to those demonic powers – they are forced to submit to it and yield to its truth.
To be continued …