Speaking to the Soul – September 11

The earnest prayer of a righteous person

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16

Every Christian knows that prayer is powerful, but many struggle to pray and have a great inferiority complex about it. They can identify people in their church who are powerful and confident prayers, but they themselves would rather do practical tasks which seem to fit their particular gifting.

The Bible makes it plain that prayer is for everyone. God loves to hear your prayers, whoever you are. Nothing brings us closer to God. Isaac Newton, the famous scientist, wrote: “I can take my telescope and look millions of miles into space; but I can go away to my room and, in prayer, get nearer to God and heaven than I can when assisted by all the telescopes of earth.”

Nothing is better than giving our full attention to God in prayer. Sometimes we come to him with praise and requests but, at other, times we simply sit quietly in his presence. As we make ourselves available to him, he has the opportunity to shape our thinking and direct our actions. That’s what makes prayer so powerful.

If you lack confidence in prayer, the best thing that you can do is pray. When you first meet someone new, many of us will feel slightly shy and awkward. We are concerned we might say the wrong thing. But, the more we speak with that person, the more the awkwardness disappears. A relationship develops and we gain the confidence to have a good conversation. It’s the same with our relationship with God. We need to get into a regular pattern of speaking to him and, as we do so, our confidence will grow.

James used the illustration of Elijah as a powerful man of prayer. I love the way in which James described him. He could well have described him as “Elijah the famous prophet” but he didn’t. He described him as being “as human as we are” (James 5:17). The Bible tells us that Elijah was a man who had ups and downs. He experienced huge spiritual successes and also suffered from severe depression. But he trusted God, and he answered Elijah’s prayers. God wants us to share Elijah’s confidence that he will act powerfully when we take prayer seriously.

How seriously do you take prayer? What could you do to make it more central in your life?

Lord God, thank you for the privilege of prayer. Help me to treasure it more in order to make myself more available to you. Amen