'The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.' James 5:16 NIV
Are all prayers worth the same? God’s fair, right? So that should mean that He takes the distracted half–grace I said before dinner as seriously as that person praying and fasting for 24 hours, right? Hmmm, maybe not. Why did Jesus teach His disciples that certain ministry was only possible with prayer and fasting? (Mark 9:29, Matthew 17:21) Why does James 5:16 talk about the prayer of a ‘righteous person’, instead of saying that ‘all prayer is powerful and effective’? Here’s a challenging thought. Maybe prayer isn’t heaven’s help desk. (‘Take a ticket and wait there please; your problem is number 689,345,834,957 in the queue…’) Maybe, just maybe, prayer is part of that Christianity thing we keep insisting is a relationship. In fact, we’d argue, it’s the lifeblood of it. If being a Christian is having a relationship with God—supported by good habits of ‘true religion’ (James 1:27) that we build into it—then, when it comes to facing a problem, only firing off the odd panic–prayer is like talking to your parents only when you want money. Look up 1 Thessalonians 5:17. And get this as a kicker: prayer isn’t really about you. It’s about Him. In fact, not only are we meant to be in a constant prayerlationship with God, but that prayer should be the sort that re–points ourselves, from ourselves, toward Him. That’s the sort of prayer that moves mountains. Mull over James 5:13–18, then think of someone who leads something—a church, a politician, a manager. Stick their name on your wall, and pray for them each day this week.
SoulFood: Josh 16:1-19:23, Mark 11:12-26, Ps 112, Prov 23:13-15
word4U2day (an adaptation of The Word for Today authored by Bob & Debby Gass) is published under licence by UCB Australia. 2015 UCB International Ltd