Ricky re-filled our coffee mugs and left to get our breakfast from Cook. “Stan,” I said, “I’ve got a question.”
“What’s that, my friend?” he replied.
“I was reading James letter last night,” I responded. “And near the end, James wrote that the effective prayer of a righteous person can accomplish much. Either I’m not righteous or I’m not praying effectively. Maybe both, because I don’t see anything that’s being accomplished with my prayers. Nothing, let alone ‘much’.”
“I would imagine,” Stan replied, “that over the years many people have stumbled over what James wrote about this. I certainly know that there was a point when I doubted the truth of what he wrote.”
“But you don’t any more?” I asked.
“That’s right,” he said. “I don’t doubt it because I know it’s true.”
“At least for me,” Stan continued, “one day the Holy Spirit made it clear that I was asking the wrong questions. It wasn’t a matter of whether I was righteous, or whether I was praying in an effective manner, it was all about perspective.”
“Perspective?” I responded. “How so?”
“My perspective versus God’s,” he replied.
I was quiet, so Stan continued. “I was too focused on getting what I wanted, rather than what God wanted. When I would pray and I didn’t get what I wanted, or what I prayed about didn’t seem to be answered, I thought James had written an empty promise. Nothing was accomplished from my standpoint, but I was ignoring God’s perspective.”
“God’s perspective?” I said. “In what way?”
“In exactly the same way as with you and your question,” Stan replied. “The Holy Spirit showed me that the mere fact I was asking the question was accomplishing much from God’s perspective. Thus, it was effective from His standpoint in that it changed the whole focus of my praying.”
“It led me Into a deeper sense of the need to pray in accordance with God’s will, not my own,” Stan replied. “And that took me into a life of prayer that I had never experienced before where I ask, ‘How do you want me to pray?’ The mere fact of that prayer of asking makes the prayers that follow very effective and they accomplish much in an ever-deepening personal relationship with God in and through Christ based on knowing them better!”
Bible verses to consider:
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:16.
And it came about that while He was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray . . . .” Luke 11:1.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you allow me to come before you in prayer. Thank you that you show me how to pray in an effective manner so my prayers will accomplish much from your standpoint. I confess that too often my prayers are self-focused and I have a negative reaction because I don’t get what I want, rather than intentionally praying in accordance with your will. Please, Father, forgive me for that foolish approach in coming before you in prayer. And please continue to lead me in my prayers so that the first thing I ask is “How do you want me to pray?” Please lead me and help me to follow in praying only in ways that you consider effective so they will, indeed, accomplish much. Thank you I can and do come before you with these prayers in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: When you pray, what is it you are seeking, your will or God’s? Do you see your prayers as effective and accomplishing “much”? Why or why not? What is it you want to see accomplished with your prayers? Do you think what you want is in accordance with what God wants to see accomplished? If you sense the need for change in how you approach God in prayer, how is that change going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?