Living the Effective Prayer


When you truly believe something, your actions will be a reflection of that belief.

Have you ever prayed and felt like your prayer was just floating around in Cyberspace waiting to be caught by God? Do you ever feel like your prayers are like “tweets” in “twitterverse,” you put them out there and hope God notices?

It doesn’t have to be that way. James 5:16 tells us the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. I know we have heard that verse before, but what does it actually mean?

I looked up the word effective in Webster’s Dictionary, and this is what it says,  having an effect; producing a result. Active. Making a striking impression.

If you look up the synonyms to the word effective, they are Successful. Effectual. Potent. Powerful.

In many translations of the Bible, the word effectual is used instead of effective, which both have the same meaning. Effectual is the word that I found in The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible which says that the original Greek word of effectual is energeo. Strong’s says that the original meaning of the word is to be active, effective, be mighty in. Powerful.

I don’t believe those words need much of an explanation. I think we can all agree that James is trying to convey what kind of prayers we need to be praying: Successful. Effective. Powerful.

I then decided to look up the word fervent. I know it is easy to read a passage and then move on to the next verse. This time I decided to break it down and study it more in-depth. I believe there is a powerful message here that can be overlooked if we move too quickly over it.

Webster’s Dictionary defines fervent as hot, burning, glowing; having or showing great warmth of feeling; intensely devoted or earnest. The synonyms to the word are Passionate. Intense. Fervid. Fanatical.  Again, no explanation is required.

I found it rather interesting in my studies to find that the word fervent was not in the original work of scriptures, but was placed within the verse by the translators to convey the meaning of what was being said. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words states that The phrase, including the verb energeomai, to work in is,  literally the inworking supplication suggesting a supplication consistent with the inward conformity to the mind of God.

Wow! I don’t know about you, but I find that totally fascinating. I believe that the key to a successful prayer life can be found in the consistency with the inward conformity to the mind of God. If we pray the prayers that line up with the will of God, we are destined to not only get the results we want, but the results that God has designed for us to have.

I believe the text in James 5:16 is suggesting that when we pray, we need to pray with power, and with a passion that is working and in motion. We need to pray with the intensity of producing a desired result. Our prayers need to be consistent with the inward conformity to the mind of God.

How can we know what the mind of God is? The Bible tells us that the wisdom of man does not measure up to the foolishness of God. (1 Cor. 1:25) So, how is it possible to conform to the mind of God when there is no standard of comparison?

James answers that question in Chapter 1 verse 5, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  That is wonderful! We ask God and He reveals His wisdom to us. We will know exactly how to pray to get desired results.

Sounds easy enough except there is a condition. James goes on to say in Chapter 1 verses 6 -8, But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double- minded man, unstable in all his ways.

God wants us to come to Him in faith. He wants us to place our trust completely in Him. When we do, He gives generously to all who ask of Him. However, when we doubt, we should expect to receive nothing, according to the Word of God.

We base our decisions upon what we believe. When you truly believe something, your actions are a reflection of that belief. When you really believe the Word of God, you will begin to live the Word of God.

We find in Mark 11:23-25 “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain,  Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

When we pray the prayer of faith, the Bible tells us that we will see our desired results. One way we know that we are praying the will of God is by praying the Word of God.

Hebrews 4:12 says, For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

When we aren’t sure if we are praying in conformity to the mind of God, we can always go to the Word of God, which is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. When we desire to know the mind of God, and we ask Him in faith, believing that He will answer us, then He is faithful to reveal His will to us. That is when we can pray the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man that avails much.

Are you in need of wisdom? Ask God. Do you want your prayers to be consistent with the inward conformity to the mind of God? Pray the Word of God. Have faith and believe. It is then that you will begin to pray with effectiveness; with fervency; with power. You will soon find that you are living the Effective Prayer. You are living the Word of God.