Powerful and Effective Prayer

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” James 5:16

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

PrayerBookCoverDraftRev_1Do you desire to be a man or woman of great faith? Do you want God to use your life so as to leave a lasting legacy? I recently read a book entitled 50 People Every Christian Should Know. This book presents the biographies of 50 men and women who have left a lasting impression upon the Christian faith. As I read about their lives, I discovered several common traits which defined how they lived. One of these traits was that they were people of prayer. They all understood that their effectiveness in serving God was directly connected to the time they spent on their knees. Just like these individuals of the past, God wants to take ordinary people today and raise up another generation of spiritual giants whose lives are marked by powerful and effective prayer.

After calling his readers to pray in times of trouble and sickness, and to confess their sins one to another, James asserts that, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16). To illustrate, James refers to the prophet Elijah as an example of a person who had an effective prayer life. James tells us that Elijah’s prayers both began and ended a three-and-a-half year drought on the nation of Israel (see 1 Kings 17 and 18). James also reminds us that Elijah was a man with a nature just like us (James 5:17). In other words, according to Donald W. Burdick, “He [Elijah] had no superhuman powers; he was by nature a human being and nothing more. However, when he prayed ‘that it would not rain … it did not rain’…so James assures his readers that such answers to prayer are within the reach of any believer.”

If it is true that we can have a powerful prayer life like the prophet Elijah, then the obvious question is, “How?” Many writers propose answers to this question by suggesting we do things such as recite a verse or a word repeatedly, sit in silence (an altered state of consciousness), or walk a prayer circle. Prayer, however, is not some magical incantation or manipulative tool we can use to control God. As Jesus Himself taught,

And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetitions as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words (Matthew 6:7).

Instead, prayer is communicating with God through means by which He has revealed in His word. Recognizing that we are dependent upon the Bible to understand prayer, in upcoming newsletters I will be sharing biblical principles that can enable any believer to have a powerful and effective prayer life just like Elijah.

Memory Verses for 2018

by Bill Rudge

While walking together, my wife Karen and I often quote Scripture and pray. I say the first part of the verse; then Karen says the rest. The following are some of the verses we use. We hope they will bless you as they have us. Use this list as an aid to commit these verses to memory.

• “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

• “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

• “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper…” (Isaiah 54:17).

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

• “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).

•  “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble, for the LORD your God goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

• “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

“I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1, 2).

• “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you…” (Isaiah 41:10).

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

• “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6, 7).

• “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

“…the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

• “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

• “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

“No good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless” (Psalm 84:11).

• “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).