Effective Prayer

James encouraged believers with the following words:

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16 NASB

Effective prayer…effective…

Effective is an adjective meaning to produce a decided, decisive, or desired effect; producing a result that is wanted; having an intended effect (Merriam-Webster)

Anyone who prays wants to have their prayers heard and answered.

The good news is that God does indeed hear and answer prayer, even if the request is a hastily cried, “HELP!”

But how can we be certain that God hears us? 

The best place to find the answer to this is in the word:

“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” 1 John 5:14

Well that’s wonderful and faith-building! We can be confident that God hears us when we pray according to His will. And here is the bonus part of that scripture:

“And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” 1 John 5:15

Double bonus!

So how can we know what God’s will is concerning our request? It’s hard to have faith for something you aren’t certain is God’s will, and faith is a key ingredient for effective prayer.

So, we must go back to the scriptures and search for answers. Here is one straight from the mouth of Jesus:

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7

Jesus said if we abide in Him (make Christ our life’s pursuit) and His words abide or live in us (that which we feed on, meditate on and look to for wisdom) we can ask God for anything and it will be done for us.

Awesome! So simple, yet we so often miss it because we lack a biblical foundation for our prayers. Think of it in terms of a new electronic device, appliance or car. You have all these buttons and functions that are at your finger tips, with the ability to store data, produce reports, play music, steam-clean clothes or let you cruise at a constant speed. The capability is built into these items, but unless you have read the manual and directions for your phone, washing machine or car, your efforts will be hit and miss at best. People would think we were crazy if we whined and accused our computer of not working properly because it hates us and has it out for us– yet people say this of God every day.

I am in no way comparing our Holy God to a man-made device, so please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that God is some wish-granting machine, and if you just know all the right things to ask, you can have your own way. Further reading in the bible will reveal the error in that pseudo-Christian teaching. However, if we know that we need to read and study to learn something new, then why do we neglect this same truth when it comes to the things of God? Jesus said one of the marks of a true disciple is one who spends time studying the bible:

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32

Freedom is good. Answered prayer is good. God is good!

My plan is to post a combination of scriptural teachings on prayer as well as some prayers for our country, leaders, communities, personal concerns, etc. in the coming weeks. I would love for you to join me in faith in calling out to God for these things and more.

And if you need prayer for anything, please leave a comment on this post or private message me at: editor@anoutstretchedhand.com

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Blessings and have a wonderful day!

Believers praying together