Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise . . . The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5: 13, 16
Prayer. Is it something you do each night before you fall asleep to thank God for the blessings of the day and to ask Him to continue to care for your loved ones? Or do you pray in the early morning hours before you begin your day to ask His protection and blessings upon those you love? Or perhaps it is something you do throughout the day as you are reminded of the beauty of His creation or of His goodness to us, and you want to give Him praise. Or maybe your heart has been so burdened with a concern in your life that you lift your prayers up all during the day, and even when you awake at night, to ask God to be with you, or with someone you hold dear.
Amazingly, some of you could answer yes to all of the above. You are in constant communication with God and you have the confidence of knowing He hears and that He cares.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we all pray, but in the deepest places in our hearts, we may doubt that God has heard or that He cares enough to answer. We may even wonder if our prayers make a difference, or if they could really change the hand of God. We may even wonder if we are worthy of praying to such an almighty God at all, and we may hold our despair inside.
These are questions that even the most devout and faithful Christians struggle with. But in James 5, we are assured that our prayers which are lifted up in faith will be heard and that “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
How could any of us be considered righteous? We certainly don’t look at ourselves in this light, but gratefully, our amazing God does. Righteousness is defined as ‘the state of moral perfection”, and the New Testament tells us that our faith can be proclaimed righteous by accepting Christ. He doesn’t make us righteous, but God chooses to see us as such. Because of our faith in Him, He chose to forgive us and to see us as having the righteousness of His Son. His grace proclaims us worthy of having a relationship with Him.
Paul challenges us in Romans 16: 19 to go even further and become what God sees. He calls us to live the righteous life – not the perfect life, but one in which we are trying to live by God’s truths and principles.
This is God’s desire for us – that we have a prayer life focused on fellowship with Him and for all occasions – not just to ask for healing, strength, or guidance, but even in times when our hearts are happy and content. For when we are filled with joy and gratitude, and we pray, we have His promise that He will even multiply our power to be joyful! What an incredible concept that God desires to give us His love and grace in even greater measure than what we ask for.
We must believe and trust in Him and know that His answers may not always come in the way we desire or hope, but they will always come with His strength and mercy to get us through. God wants our genuine, authentic selves. He wants us to be real and honest with Him, and tell Him of our struggles and failures to be faithful to Him. He wants more for us than just calling on Him in our times of need and deepest despair. He longs to give us His mercy, grace, love, and power. What an amazing God who always wants more for us and desires to give us the best of what He has to give.
The power of our prayers unleashes the power to bring about change. Prayer can do anything God can do. We can believe that God hears, that our prayers have power, and that sometimes they can make a difference.
Yes, at other times, the answer may be “No”, or even, “Wait”, but we can trust that God will respond with what He thinks is best and what is according to His will for our lives. He wants us to come before Him and He will give us the comfort, peace, and strength to accept whatever life brings. And if we don’t go to Him, we may never know what power there is in prayer!
Have you heard this expression? “Much prayer, much power; a little prayer, a little power; no prayer, no power.”
In Him, there is power in His Word, in His promises, in His faithfulness, and in His love. We may not deserve the title of “righteousness”, but we are His, He loves us, and He will always hear our prayers.
Our most gracious and loving God, we know you hear our prayers and that you may not answer them in the way we wish, but we know we can trust that you understand our concerns and our needs. Thank you for the ease in which we can go before your throne of grace with our prayers and for the faith to believe in you. Amen