James 5:16b KJV
“…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
A very important question to ask is, what is an effectual fervent prayer?
During Sunday School, the little girl was asked by her teacher to give a prayer of thanks and blessing for snacks the children would eat. It would be her first time ever to pray in front of others, her peers regardless.
The little girl was understandably very shy and hesitant. But she was also determined to do her duty and pray. So, amidst nervous giggles and whispers from her friends, the little girl prayed,
“Lord Jesus (pause)…. I pray…. I pray that you bless me (pause)… bless us all, and our family….and father and mother….and little brother (pause)… and protect us every day and night. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
Then she quickly sat down. Her teacher solemnly and quite sincerely said, “Amen.”
Then a little voice piped out, “Teacher, she didn’t pray for the food!”
And all the children including the little girl, burst out giggling in enjoyment.
The teacher smiled and said, “That’s okay, I’m sure Jesus knows she meant to, and that the food also needs blessing and that we are thankful for it. The important thing is, she prayed even though it was her first time. She didn’t reject the honor of speaking to Jesus. Of course her prayer was short and she forgot about the food because she was nervous. But, she still obediently prayed. Do you think Lord Jesus still listened to her even though she forgot to say grace?”
“Yes!!” The children cried out enthusiastically.
“And do you think He will bless us and protect us just like she prayed to Him?”
“Because she prayed it! Because she asked Him! Because she believed!Because she was sincere!”
“Exactly, children. Because she is His child who believes in Him and is sincere in prayer, Jesus listens and will answer her prayer accordingly. So remember, when you believe in Him, obey and honor Him, and are respectful, worshipful and sincere in your prayers, Lord Jesus listens. Your prayers are not wasted. Even if you forget to pray for what you meant to, like the food!”
The children giggled and cried out very happily, “Yes, teacher! Amen!”
Even adults have their moments of insecurity when it comes to public prayer. They fret and judge themselves and their prayers; they imagine others will judge their prayers. They worry they would not meet a certain standard in praying as accepted by the general public. They think they are not good enough, that their prayers won’t be good enough. They get self-conscious.
As such, all the while that they are praying, their prayers and spirits are not focused on the Lord unto whom they are praying, but rather on the people around them.
Thus, their prayers are ineffective.
Its like when you’re talking to someone but you’re not paying full attention to the person you talk to or on what you say to them. The other person would understandably feel that you’re not sincere in wanting to talk to them. You can’t blame them if they walk away in the middle of your directionless ramblings. I daresay continuing to participate in such mindless ‘conversation’ is a waste of everyone’s time.
So it is with prayer, in fact even more so since we’re talking with the Heavenly Creator.
What we say is important, but how we say it is also important. The length of our prayer does not determine the ‘fervent’ spirit, nor do the fancy words we use. Our flowery prayers are meaningless if we are not righteous or sincere. We focus on Him unto whom we pray; we are worshipful, respectful and fearful in speaking to Him. We know and believe in Him our God, and we honor Him as such. Perhaps in not so many words, but in Spirit and in Truth do we stand before Him, and pray.
That is the effective prayer, the righteous child of God gives it.
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