Summary: This is a discussion of the effective fervent prayer.
Text: “The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
Prayer is communication or communion with God. It can be a petition or an appeal to Him confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness. It can be conversation with Him giving Him praise for showering us with blessings.
It can be an outpouring of thanksgiving from the innermost part of our heart. It can be a request for help or assistance for us or for someone else. It is talking to our Heavenly Father just as we talk to people around us.
Sometimes when we pray to God, we might think that He is not listening because we do not get immediate response or answer to our prayer. One time David was praying to God for help because his enemies were fighting with him, but he felt his prayer was not being heard. David said, “When my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother” (Psalm 35: 13, 14).
Poem: “He Answers”
I know not by what methods rare,
But this I know, God answers prayer.
I know not when He sends the word
That tells us fervent prayer is heard.
I know it comes soon or late;
Therefore we need to pray and wait.
I know not if the blessing sought
Will come in just the guise I thought.
I leave my prayers with Him alone
Whose will is wiser than my own?
------------Eliza M. Hickok, in the King’s Business
God does hear each and every one of our prayers; however, some of them are denied for reasons we do not understand. Maybe the timing is bad or the request can be met in a better and more beneficial way. We must realize that we do not always know what is good for us.
See if you can relate to this person:
He was a Christian, and he prayed. He asked for strength to do greater things, but he was given infirmity that he might do better things.
He asked for riches that he might be happy; he was given poverty that he might be wise.
He asked for power that he might have the praise of men; he was given weakness that he might feel the need of God.
He had received nothing that he asked for, all that he hoped for. His prayer seems unanswered, but he is most blessed.
We are thinking as man thinks, but God is thinking on a much higher level and He knows what is best for us and for those whom we pray for. You and I have prayed enough to know that our prayers are not always answered the way we would like them answered.
Listen to this little story:
Story: “Not Always Answered Our Way”
One day a lady was giving her little nephew a lesson. He was generally a good, attentive child, but on this occasion he could not fix his mind on his work. Suddenly he said, “Auntie, may I kneel down ask God to help me to find my marble?” His aunt having given her consent, the little boy knelt by his chair, closed his eyes, and prayed silently. Then he rose and went on with his lesson contentedly.
Next day, almost afraid of asking the question, lest the child had not found his marble, she said, “Well, dear, have you found your marble?”
“No, Auntie,” was the reply, “but God has made me not want to.”
God does not always answer our prayers in the way we wish or expect, but if we are sincere, He will take from us the desire for what is contrary to His holy will.
It would be wonderful and our life would be so simple and non-stressful if we could only accept God’s answers the way children do. If we could only have the faith of a child and accept when we don’t get our way, through faith, believe God has something better.
There are times we pray for ourselves and there are times we pray for other people. We are not being selfish when we pray for ourselves. God knows our needs and He knows our wants. These two things don’t always match and many times our wants are not good for us, therefore, we don’t get what we ask for.
Should we stop praying when we don’t get results as we think we should? Are we to believe in our heart that God is not listening; He doesn’t care, the request is too small or too big, we are not worthy, or we are asking for the impossible?
The truth is that we should never stop praying just because our prayer is not answered on the first go-around. God is always listening and in fact He knows what we are going to ask for even before we ask. He cares about every facet of our life and nothing is too small or too big.