2/3/16 Effectual Prayer

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


James 5:16

Morning Meditations: 2/3/16

Let us think on the subject of effectual praying. James says: “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.”

First of all, effectual praying is connected with openness about our faults. The word “faults” (paraptoma) means “a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness.” James mentions this because it is a constant problem for believers. We all have a sinful nature. There are many who are denying the reality of this today. They have a way of explaining it that puts the truth of it in a way that effectively denies its presence. The Word of God teaches that the believer must walk in openness. We must be transparent. First John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” The “light” here speaks of openness. This does not mean that we have to walk around all the time confessing the last two or three sins we have committed to everyone we meet. But when we pray, if we are going to be effectual in our prayers, we must be willing to take our place as undeserving sinners with those with whom we pray. Sometime it may involve confession to one another. One may have to say, “I’ve really had a problem with anger today,” or, “I have been upset with a co-worker and I know it is my fault. I have just not been handling this thing well at all.” You know it is very humbling to come to the place of believing prayer and confess your total unworthiness of an answer.

You may think that this is not the way of faith. But you would be wrong. The way of faith is for the one with the faith to be totally abased before the throne of God asking God to do something because of Christ’s worthiness. As long as we have an ounce of pride we will pray (even unconsciously) believing that in some way we are worthy of an answer. We are His children. We are doing His work. And we are faithful and so we have the right because of these evident merits to get an answer to our prayer.” James is saying that we need to recognize the faults in our own lives, the times we have had “a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness” and be willing to share that with those with whom we pray. Do you have resistance at this thought? I must confess, I have resistance at writing it down. Do you know why? It is because I do not want your perception of me to be that I am just an ordinary sinner saved by the grace of God. God has touched a nerve in us hasn’t He?

I’m sure we could find a way around this by some theological explanation. But to go around truth is the way of poverty and bankruptcy in the Christian walk. And you must admit there is a lot of spiritual poverty around and there are those who try to make up for it by using man-made crutches. All crutches do is to bring impressions of strength and not miracles. We do not need the appearance of strength; we need the power of God upon us.

The word “confess” (exomologeo) means “to acknowledge openly and joyfully.” The flesh resists the Word of God. It says this is dangerous. It is dangerous to the work of Satan. Satan does not want to have to deal with Christians who get their prayer answered. It makes it difficult for him to operate. It is hard to deny a miracle. When God begins to manifest Himself through the prayers of His people it is difficult for him to deny it with effectiveness.

Confession is one of the ways of God to deal with pride. God comes to the one who takes the sinners place and pleads from the need of grace. Jesus didn’t come to save the righteous. He came to save sinners. He also answers the prayers of saved sinners. I am not suggesting that we go out and sin so we will have something to confess. In our greatest attempts to walk in holiness, there will be enough failure to have plenty to confess. There is nothing in my life I have wanted more than to be like Jesus and walk in holiness before Him. I have been desperate for that. But at the moments that I have felt the closest to Him, I have felt my greatest weakness and sinfulness. Oh the glory of discovering the truth of First Corinthians 1:30: “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” He is my holiness (sanctification). But I do not need that holiness if I lapse into self assurance and the feeling of self-confidence. The way to approach the prayer altar is to recognize that what we are about to ask for is totally undeserved by us.

The words “pray one for another” is also a humbling thing. I want to be independent. I want to think I can get along without you. You are not absolutely necessary to my walk with God. Now I hate to treat you like this and disappoint you in how I feel, but the flesh is very deceptive at this point. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to ask prayer for yourself? This is God’s way for us to continually walk in brokenness. If we want to be effectual in prayer it must be done in submission to Him. Submission to Him takes the form of submitting to one another.

The word “effectual fervent” (energeo) is one word. It is in the present tense which shows continuous action in the present time. He is not just talking about a single act of prayer but a continuous action. We get our word energy from this word. Prayer, real prayer, that gets an answer, is not just a passive request. It is intense and sought by those who feel they are undeserving and are pleading by faith at the throne of grace.

The words “of a righteous man” is speaking about a man who has received the righteousness of Christ by imputation. God has declared him righteous based on his faith in the finished work of Christ. First, there is confession of our faults to one another. Then, there is the overwhelming need for grace. Then, the Holy Spirit brings us back to the cross and we realize that the blood washes away all sin and the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to us. There you have the righteous man. This man who had taken his place before God and man as a needy believer. He has access to the righteousness of Christ to plead his case before the throne of God. This is what it is to pray in the Name of Jesus.

The word “availeth” (ischuo) means “to be strong.” It is a present tense verb which means that this is instruction for the present tense of our lives. Do we want to be strong at the altar of prayer? This is the way. The word “much” (polus) means “many, much, large.” Do we want large answers to prayer? Then we must follow the way of brokenness. We must throw our egos to the wind and realize that we are not the important ones. Christ is the one to receive glory in the Church (Eph. 3:21). The way Christ receives the glory is to be able to minister grace to the undeserving. I must take the place of the deposed king waiting for God’s time for my return to the throne. Excuse me. I feel a shouting spell coming on. Glory to God and the Lamb forever! My time is coming (Rom 8:19) but His time is now. Lets glorify Him.

May God bless these word to our hearts.

In Christ

Earl White, Gal. 2:20.

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