James writes, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (5:16). Powerful because of the people? Effective because of our energy/zeal? No, powerful because God’s people tap into God’s power. Effective because God’s people pray according to God’s Word and will.
How much stronger our families, relationships, churches, and communities could be if we would take seriously the privilege, priority, and power of prayer, especially prayer that includes meditation upon the Word.
Don’t know where to start, what to do? Read/pray through the Psalms. Just open up to any Psalm, David wrote half of them, and you will likely soon find a prayer that’s appropriate, that reflects your situation. Anyone who’s actually read the psalms of David knows that he prays for help when stressed, in trouble, in sin. No one can say these scriptures are outdated, that they don’t speak to us today. They do – to people, culture, challenges, to you and me. As we read/pray through them, they speak for you and me to our heavenly Father.
If our home galaxy, the Milky Way, were scaled down to the size of the entire continent of North America, our solar system would fit in a coffee cup. And somewhere in that coffee cup are the planet, the sun, and you and me. It would seem that our prayers are pretty tiny, pretty insignificant, at best infinitesimally small. But to the Father’s ears, they are big prayers, important prayers of his children who belong to him through Jesus. Consider the following from Psalm 71, and speak to your heavenly Father:
“In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me.
Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel. For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you.
Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens, you who have done great things. Who is like you, God? Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.
My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you—I whom you have delivered. My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long.” (Psalm 71:1,2, 4-6, 19, 20, 23, 24a)
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand