"Prayer that Availeth Much–Part II"
Study Text: James 5:13-21
Key Verse: James 5:16 "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."
Last week we looked at the type of person who availeth much when he
prays——THE RIGHTEOUS!! We also defined "prayer that availeth
much" as 1. prayer that continuously and consistently benefits or profits
to a great extent –OR– 2. prayer that continuously and consistently produces
or brings forth greatness. Well, this week we will cover the type of prayer that
gets such results. You see, James 5:16 tells us that it’s not the righteous
that availeth much; rather, it’s the righteous who pray a certain type of
prayer that availeth much.
If we closely analyze the two adjectives that James uses to describe prayer—
(effectual, fervent), we’ll see that he’s instructing the righteous not only in
how that prayer should be packaged but also in how that prayer should be sent
if it is to continuously yield great results.
I. HOW IT SHOULD BE PACKAGED— (EFFECTIVELY):
When a loose package is shipped, there is a great possibility that it will
come apart. But a package that is correctly packed, wrapped and secured makes
it to its destination in tact.
As I began my study of prayer, the Lord kept giving me two scriptures: James
5:16 and Ephesians 6:10-20. But it was not until He led me to look up the word
"effective" in the dictionary that I realized why He had paired these
scriptures. Of all the definitions, the one that read, "prepared for use
or action, especially in warfare" is the one that turned on the light-bulb
in my spirit, for my brothers and sisters, when we kneel in prayer, we go to
war. And just like any soldier, we must be prepared in every aspect. Therefore,
in addition to preparing ourselves (by being righteous), the artillery we use
(our prayers) must be prepared. Well, how do we do that?
1. The first way is to be SPECIFIC. Just think about it. If your professor
told you that you had a test the next day on Chapter 6, why in the world would
you study Chapters 1-10? If your son who’s spending the winter in New York
asked you to mail him some heavy clothes, why in the world would you send
Bermuda shorts and tank tops? But unfortunately, the righteous do it all the
time. We need to say goodbye to blanket prayers like "God bless me and my
family," "God bless me with a man," God bless me with a
job," and start being specific; then we’ll know without a shadow of doubt
when our prayers have been answered and that we’ve gotten exactly what we asked
2. Our prayers also need to be SEASONED. We need to stop praying the same
old tired prayers in season and out of season. I’ve heard of some saints who
have been praying the same prayer for so long that whenever they are called
upon to pray, others in the congregation start saying the prayer right along
with them. That’s sad. "Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his
saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace
one with another" (Mark 9:50). To get the "availeth much" type
of results, we need to season (prepare, adjust) our prayers according to what’s
needed at that time.
3. In addition to it being specific and seasoned, a prayer is prepared
(effective) when it is SUITED WITH THE "FULL ARMOR OF GOD" (Ephesians
A. Belt of Truth– Layer upon layer, inside and out, that prayer needs to be
girded up with the belt of truth. In John 14:6 Jesus said, "I am the way,
the TRUTH, and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by me." Just as a
belt holds your pants up—and basically holds your entire ensemble together,
Jesus (THE TRUTH) must hold our prayers together. The doctor may say that you
have cancer. But that’s not the truth; that’s just fact. The truth is that by
Jesus’ stripes you are healed (Isaiah 53:5). And the truth can change a fact on
any given day.
B. Breastplate of Righteousness– Our prayers should also be covered with
the breastplate of righteousness. In other words, take all of the points from
Part I of this message (uprightness, Godliness, unselfishness, etc.) and put them
into your prayers. Just as the breastplate covers your heart which is your
spirit, your righteousness (unselfishness, compassion, etc.) will cover the
essence (the need, the heart) of your prayer.
C. Shoes of Peace– In Mark 4:39 Jesus "arose, and rebuked the wind,
and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a
great calm." We should not allow a spirit of fear or panic to intrude our
minds. Instead, a spirit of calmness and serenity should guide the feet (the
paths) of our prayers. And that peace comes by keeping our minds and our
prayers focused on the Lord. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose
mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (Isaiah 26:3).
D. Shield of Faith– The God whom we serve "quickeneth the dead, and
calleth those things which be not as though they were." (Romans 4:17). So
our prayers should be filled with faith, "the substance of things hoped
for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Once we ask, that
prayer should move from supplication to thanksgiving, "for every one that
asketh receiveth" (Luke 11:10). With such great faith, we can surely
extinguish the fiery darts of the enemy.
E. Helmet of Salvation– Our salvation is what gives us the keys to the
kingdom. It gives us the assurance that we can come boldly before the throne of
grace. "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?"
(Psalm 27:1). Our salvation assures us that we have the right to ask and
F. Sword of the Spirit (The Word of God)– Notice that all of the above
pieces of armor are sustained by the Word of God which is the only offensive
weapon He has given us. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was
with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that
was made" (John 1:1-3). The effectual prayer of the righteous stands upon
the Word of God; the effectual prayer of the righteous makes God’s Word the
final authority—–no ifs, ands, or buts about it!! If you need healing, find
all of the scriptures on healing and stand on them. If you need debt
deliverance, find everything that the Word says concerning that and confess it.
Whatever you need, go to the Word, for in the beginning, God SAID, "Let
there be," and it was so.
II. HOW IT SHOULD BE SENT— (FERVENTLY):
Even if a package is correctly packed, wrapped and secured, it will not
achieve the results the sender wants it to if it is not mailed in a timely
manner and if it is not sent according to the most expedient means of
transportation. In other words, are you going to send those winter clothes to
NY in September, or are you going to wait until December after your child has
frozen for a few months? And once you finally get ready to send that package,
are you going to mail it third class or overnight express?
A fervent prayer is one that shows great zeal; it is extremely hot or
glowing; it is ardent (passionate, characterized by strong enthusiasm or
devotion; burning; fiery). It is a prayer that’s delivered at the right time
with the right speed (or amount of force). So how do we put a fervent prayer
1. STOP WAITING— When the Holy Spirit wakes you up in the middle of the
night and tells you to pray for a particular person, do it!!! Otherwise, you’re
waiting to send your package. You’re holding on to a package that may arrive
too late if you wait for your regular time of prayer and meditation. That
person has a need that needs to be addressed immediately, not at your
2. SHOW GREAT PASSION, ENTHUSIASM AND DEVOTION— In Revelation 3:15-16 the
Lord declares to the Church in Laodicea, " I know thy works, that
thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because
thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my
mouth." We don’t need to send up lukewarm prayers. And nine times out of
ten, when we package our prayers in a specific, seasoned and suited manner,
they won’t be lukewarm, but fiery hot. Even when the saints pray in their heavenly
languages (other tongues that they may not even understand), those prayers
should still be fueled with fire, not ice.
To conclude, let me share this: As I meditated on how our prayers should be
packaged and how they should be sent, the Lord gave me the image of a baseball
pitcher. The pitcher represents the righteous. He’s suited in his uniform all
ready to throw the first pitch. And just like the pitcher, the ball that he
holds is prepared for the game as well. Layer upon layer, that ball (prayer) is
packaged, wrapped and then secured with a covering (the blood of Jesus). As the
batter (satan) stands at the plate with full intentions of knocking that ball
out of the park, the pitcher winds up and sends that ball so fast and so
fervently that the batter doesn’t realize that it has gotten past him until he
hears it hit the center of the catcher’s (God’s) glove. At this point the
batter shrugs his shoulders and walks away with his head hung low and his tail
dragging between his legs. You see, satan knows he can’t touch the effectual,
fervent prayer of the righteous. And he also knows that when dealing with such
powerful prayer, only one strike is enough!!!
Note: In Part I of this message (July 12, 1999), I stated that many
Christians "only get, as my husband would say, ‘the fire insurance’
(salvation from hell)." Well, just to set the record straight, Eddie does
say "fire insurance," but as I discovered this weekend, this
oh-so-true phrase is not his revelation. The credit goes to another brother in
Christ, William McCain, who has been a tremendous blessing in our lives through
his e-mail ministry.