#2 Making Prayer Effectual and Fervent
Is there a way to pray ineffectually? Can we actually mess up prayer? The scriptures are clear on this, God hears every word of every prayer, and he answers every prayer. It’s just that he answers our prayers with several reply’s. And when his reply is no, it might be traced to the root that our prayer did not meet the prescribed conditions of effectual and fervent.
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous person unleashes great power.” James 5:16 (cf)
To help explain how it is that God does answer prayer, I offer the following clever jingle made popular by Rick Warren, “God answers prayer in one of four ways, No, Slow, Grow and Go.” My pastor, Matthew Hartsfield, has preached this message numerous times over the years and the memory power of this rhyming illustration has proved to be unforgettable. I trust it will be easily remembered by you. Let me share some explanation to clarify what is meant by each title.
No- Well that means No. It’s not God’s will therefore it’s not going to happen as you prayed. Slow -simply means it is God’s will and he’s going to answer that prayer but his timing and your timing are out of sync. There may be a delay in the fulfillment of that prayer. Grow- Which is basically God saying I would like to give you that prayer request but you need to grow in your maturity to be able to handle it. So, when you pray the popular Prayer of Jabez, “Lord Bless me indeed and enlarge my territory”. You have prayed a dangerous prayer. God wisely doesn’t answer this prayer “Go” by enlarging your influence just because you ask. He knows that gift would likely destroy you. But such a prayer would mean you have inadvertently asked God to enlarge the capacity of your soul. You have just asked to grow you, which often means into the fire you go. Most growth seems to happen to us when we are facing trials (more about that in weeks to come).
“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong-you want only what will give you pleasure.” James 4:2-3 NLT.
Finally, there is the answer Go-yes! If we want our prayers to be effective (the first requirement) and unleash God’s power then our prayers must be in alignment with God’s nature and in harmony with his will. God answers no when prayers are marked by selfish ambition. How do we know His will? He has revealed himself to us through His word, His nature, His commands, and His promises. These are expressions of his will. More to come on this subject in the next Wisbits.
Wisbit Tip #2
Making our prayers effective means to pray on target. To hit the mark. Prayer Tip Two. Effective praying is to align our petitions in harmony with God’s will.
Today’s Prayer: Heavenly Father, I want to know what you are like. I ask for wisdom and a spirit of understanding that I might learn how to pray in alignment with your nature and your kingdom purposes. Teach me how to pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(See you again soon)
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