“Near the end of James’ letter,” Stan began, “there is as verse about prayer that probably has spawned volumes written about prayer.”
“Which verse is that?” I asked.
“James wrote,” Stan replied, “that the effective prayer of a righteous person can accomplish much.”
“A great promise,” I said, “but I suppose the questions are what is ‘effective prayer’ and who is ‘righteous’ in order to do that.”
“As I said,” Stan replied, “that verse has probably resulted in uncounted volumes written on prayer. People trying to figure out the best way to be effective. Methodology and the like. If I just do it a little different, maybe it will be effective.”
“That’s probably true,” I responded. “Where do I pray? Do I sit, stand, or kneel? Which direction? All sorts of things about how to pray.”
“That’s right, my friend,” Stan replied, “but I think there’s another point about this that is the important part,” Stan replied, “and that focuses on the ‘accomplish much’ point.”
“Yeah,” I responded, “move the whole world with prayer!”
“Nope,” Stan said, “I think what needs to be focused on is that effective prayer can accomplish much in me, as well as in every other praying believer.”
“Yes,” Stan replied. “I think that the bottom-line purpose of prayer is not to get anything from God that is in accordance with what I want on my own. No, I think that the reason God wants me to come before Him in prayer is so I can discover what is on His mind and heart.”
“God already knows what is on my mind and heart,” Stan continued. “There’s nothing I can tell Him that He doesn’t already know. What He wants is for me to know Him more deeply.”
“And when that happens,” he concluded, “that is the ‘much’ that is accomplished by my prayers. That, I think, is what makes my prayers effective. If my prayers result in knowing God more deeply, those prayers will result in changes in me that align more closely with what God intends for me to be and to do on this side of eternity while I wait for the train.”
“Effective prayers can, indeed, accomplish much,” Stan concluded. “I just need to focus on making sure my prayers align with God’s will and what He wants to be accomplished .”
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:16.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for allowing me to come before you in prayer. Thank you that you want me to know what is on your mind and heart. I confess that too often my prayers merely consist of telling you what is on my mind and heart, what I want, when you already know everything. Please, Father, forgive me for those selfish and self-centered prayers. And please lead me in only seeking you and what is on your mind and heart so that my prayers are truly effective in accomplishing much in me so that I am drawn ever closer to you in a constantly deepening relationship. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Things to think (and journal) about:
1. What is your biggest take-away from this devotional?
2. What does this devotional say about God and about us as His people?
3. What is God saying to you to do personally?
4. Who can you share this with to make a difference?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.