Tuesday, August 5, 2014
August 5 – For prayers that produce results
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:16 NET)
This verse often confuses people who wonder if it means what the Catholic church teaches about making ritual confessions to a priest before sins can be forgiven. Not at all. James is writing here about how we need to be humble and quick to admit our mistakes, even to ask forgiveness from each other when needed; for times that we treat each other unkindly or unfairly, or even inadvertently cause each other any kind of harm. This command keeps us constantly aware that we are imperfect, even though we all strive to please God daily. It also helps us to constantly cleanse our minds and emotions of negativity so that the devil can’t get a foothold in our lives. The promise that corresponds to this command is that we may be healed. That shows us that many sicknesses are actually rooted in unforgiven or hidden sins that need to be brought into the light, confessed and eradicated. A healthy, uncontaminated spirit, creates a healthy vibrant life.
The second promise here is priceless. We have all wondered at times if our prayers were ever heard or if we would ever get an answer from God. This is the secret to powerful and result-filled prayers: earnestness, and righteousness.
An earnest prayer is one that is both sincere and urgent. Those lazy prayers made before you drop off to sleep, or before you hurriedly bite into a burger for lunch don’t quite qualify as earnest. It’s the prayers you make from the depths of your soul, those yearning prayers for what you know is right and in line with God’s promises, are the prayers that are powerful and effective. Hannah prayed this way when her moanings were confused with the sound of drunkenness. Hezekiah prayed that way when he turned his face to the wall and cried before God. Elijah prayed that way for fire to be sent from heaven to prove who was the only true God. Unfortunately too few Christians pray with sincerity and urgency, but just pray robotically instead because few actually know what faith is.
Along with earnestness, is being a righteous person. Not a perfect person, but a righteous one, who makes serving and obeying God the top priority in his or her life. A righteous man or woman has no problem sacrificing their flesh to please God. They are not the type of person who quickly uses the excuse “well, I’m only human,” when they allow their flesh to take over. They hate sin, and though they are sinners, they are quick to repent. A righteous person, also lives by faith, which means that they quickly take hold of any opportunity to determine that God’s power will be revealed. If a fear attacks, they attack back by faith in the promises of God, and they see immediate results.
These qualifications to being able to have prayers of great power and wonderful results are available for all of us today, if we want. It’s a shame that so few actually practice this kind of faith, when it’s within the reach of all of us. Let’s start making some prayers of power this week, and share how God is changing you.