“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)
        The apostles came to Jesus once and asked Him a question relative to every believer when they asked, “Lord, teach us to pray…” (Luke 11:1). They knew what prayer was. They were familiar with the Old Testament, especially the Psalms, the book of prayers. They were asking just how they should be praying at that particular time. Jesus began reciting a prayer that men have used as a “model prayer” to this present day. It has been referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer,” but it is in fact, the Apostles’ Prayer, i.e., Jesus told them what the content of their prayer should consist of. There are no less than seven elements found in that prayer and it covers everything from the majesty and power of God to the total dependence the apostles should have on Him. Also included was how the believer was to behave himself within his interaction with other believers.
        Prayer is such a wide subject and intended to be a heart-felt communication between an individual and God. There are many topics we may stress as we commune with God. Paul, undoubtedly spoke more about prayer (and practiced it) than any other believer in the New Testament. When you read the Pauline epistles, you have read only a few verses before you come upon his first prayer and it is a prayer of thanksgiving for the faith of the believers in Rome. He very faithfully prayed for the churches he had started to remain strong and steadfast in the Spirit. He prayed (and asked prayer for) many of the brothers and sisters in Christ, some of whom were sick or troubled from within or without. Seldom did he mention or ask prayer for himself from a physical perspective. He did request prayer for protection as he ministered to others. He asked for open doors of opportunity to preach the Word. But, Paul never gave a “model prayer” for others to follow, although, I am sure he taught by example.
       The Bible is filled with examples of praying for specific things under many different circumstances. You would do well to do a study on the many characters and their particular prayers throughout the Scriptures. You must be careful though, that you do not try to lay claim to certain prayers and attempt to make them your own and expect the same results. Examples: Elijah and the rain, Jabez and personal blessing, and David and his enemies. Prayer, in and of itself, is very personal to any believer. Though we may ask others to pray with us or for us, prayer is still a personal communication between the believer and God. Prayer is not intended to be ritualistic or repetitive, it is to be the deep expression of your heart. That is why James described the fullness of prayer to be “effectual,” i.e., powerful and “fervent” i.e., hot, heat, with zeal. In other words, talk to God like you really mean it. What are the end results? It availeth much, i.e., to have, be able, can do, be of strength. It is not implying that you have a guarantee of an answer to your liking but it is saying that it is a demonstration of the strength you have because of your relationship with God.
       Christian, when you next go to prayer to your Heavenly Father, remember the words of James and make sure your prayer is both effectual and fervent, therein is your strength manifested.
           Pastor H. Preston Parker