Summary: James pictures a level of prayer that is beyond any believer's normal capacity - this prayer is divinely energized by the direct involvement of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for "fervent" actually does not appear in the original text. It is an amplifica
Prayer That Energizes - Bishop Charles C. Jones
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16
The Prayer of a righteous man is of great force when energized.
James pictures a level of prayer that is beyond any believer's normal capacity - this prayer is divinely energized by the direct involvement of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for "fervent" actually does not appear in the original text. It is an amplification of the word for "effectual" which does appear in the Greek text. The Greek word energeo means "effectual, or that which is effective when offered by a righteous person.
So the KJV say's "Effectual Fervent" RSV say's "In Its Working"
Notice that the Apostle James did not say that every prayer of a righteous man is of much avail; no he said the fervent prayer of a righteous man .
When it is "set in operation" by divine agency.
Real prayer is connected in a most intimate manner with the influence of the Holy Spirit, He the Holy Spirit energizes the believer. James here is speaking of the prayer of a righteous man . He particularly points to the prayer life of one of the greatest Prophets in Israels history. The Prophet "Elijah". Elijah was a man who knew how to pray and how to prevail in his prayers.
James 5:17 say's that Elijah was a man of like passions with us, and that he prayed fervently that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth for 3 years and 6 months. He prayed again; and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
The background of this incident is found in 1 Kings 17 and 18. Ahab the King and his wife Jezebel , had led Israel away from the Lord and into the worship od Baal. God punished the nation by holding back rain that they needed . For three and one half years, the heavens were as brass and the earth unable to produce the crops so necessary for life. THen Elijah challenged the priests of Baal on Mount Carmel. All day long the priests of Baal cried out to their god, but no answer came. At the time of the evening sacrifice, Elijah repaired the altar and prepared the sacrifice. He prayed just once, and fire came down from heaven to consume the sacrifice. He had proven that Jehovah was the true God. But the nation still needed rain. Elijah went to the top of Carmel and fell down upon the earth, put his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, go up now, look toward the sea. And his servant went up, and looked and he said, there is nothing, and Elijah said, Go Again 7 times. And it came to pass at the 7th time that he said, Behold there ariseth a cloud out of the sea, as small as a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, make ready thy chariot , and get thee down that the rain stop thee not."
The Characteristic of the prayer of Elijah was his FERVENCY. He prayed fervently.
He used that particular Hebrew idiom - "praying he prayed". In other words when he prayed he got down to business. Remember that the prayer of a righteous man is of great force when energized - not merely when energized by the Holy Spirit, as every effectual prayer must be; its force comes from the energy that the man or woman themselves throws into it.