My husband and I recently watched the movie, War Room; it dramatically demonstrates this truth—“the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16 NLT). Or, as it reads in NKJV version, “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
As I watched the film, I felt awed by the way God answered the prayers of prayer warrior, Miss Clara (played by Karen Abercrombie) and her mentee—Elizabeth Jordan (Priscilla Shirer). He stirred up in my heart a renewed commitment to pray. I want my prayers to become more effective; I want to see significant—not piddling—results, and I want to stir up in your hearts—my blog readers—a similar commitment. I believe that God will answer our prayers in powerful and new ways, giving us joy and bringing him honor.
Consequently, the topic of my blog posts—starting today and continuing for the next six weeks— will be prayer.
Through viewing War Room and studying the Scripture in James, I got a vision of what truly effective prayer looked like and realized at least one thing that my prayers have been lacking. As I mediated on the Scripture, these three words stood out to me: earnest, effective, and fervent.
Dictionary definitions of the word earnest include the following:
- Serious in intention, purpose, or effort: sincerely zealous: an earnest worker
- Showing depth and sincerity of feeling: earnest words.
- Seriously important: demanding or receiving serious attention.
These are dictionary definitions of fervent:
- to have great warmth or intensity of spirit, feeling, enthusiasm,
- hot; burning, glowing.
Thinking about these definitions, and reflecting on the prayers of Miss Clara and Elizabeth Jordan, I saw what fervency (great intensity of feeling) and earnestness (intentionality, effort, and clearly focused purpose) look like in prayer. These women demanded and received God’s serious attention. They were boiling mad about destruction and evil, and with God’s authority, they powerfully resisted Satan—the Evil One.
As I think about how my prayers can become more earnest and fervent, these are the questions I am asking myself:
- What injustices, injuries, or destructive situation(s) am I boiling angry about?
- What is God’s perspective (some Scripture) regarding these situations?
- How can I direct my anger into effective, focused, and intentional prayer—not railing against God and complaining to him but in confident trust presenting my concern to him?
- Where, this week, will I make time to pray with fervency for God to intervene in behalf of the people in these situations?
I hope that you will consider asking yourself the same questions and that you will continue reading my upcoming blogs on the topic of prayer. Together, I believe that we can exert a powerful influence for good in the world where we live.
An Additional Reference: Prayer is Invading the Impossible by Jack Hayford