(This is a guest post by my wife, who did the Facebook Live devotional on day 2 of our fast.)
Sunday was just one of those mornings for me. Even though I was up by 5:30, I was still struggling to get out the door in time for the first service. I was whining to God about it all, complaining about this and that, when I looked up and saw the time. My prayers turned to “Oh God, oh God, oh God, I’m such a mess. I can’t get it together.” I went on this vein for a bit until I think God had enough. He quite forcibly reminded me about our sermon series, “It is finished.” Then He asked me, “What are you finished with?” Tentatively I responded in the form of a question, “I’m finished with ineffectual praying?” I sensed His nod of approval. So I sucked it up, finished getting ready, was at church on time and was present for the amazing move of God in the third service.
We are just at the beginning of our 21 days of prayer and fasting, and I want to make sure that my prayers are effective. The last part of James 5:16 tells us that, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” NKJV In other words, has great power and produces wonderful results. I’m sure that you want that for your prayers as well.
I can tell you right off what doesn’t help your prayers be powerful and produce great results…that’s whining, pleading and complaining to God. When I checked it out scripture I found that:
Doubt and unbelief (James 1:6-7)
Selfish prayers (James 4:3)
Unforgiveness (Mark 11:25)
Living in disobedience to what pleases God (1 John 3:22)
Living in disharmony with others (1 Peter 3:7, Matt 5:23-24)
Impatience (Matt 7:7-8)
All causes our prayers to be ineffective as well. I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. I’m just giving you a friendly reminder because life has a way of causing us to forget. For prayers to have great power and produce wonderful results they need to be:
- Passionate, fervent, regarding something that you are really concerned about. It can’t be just pulling out a list and going through the motions.
- 1 John 5:14, tells us that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us…so pray the will of God. Remember we’re just clay. We don’t tell the potter what to do. We come into agreement with what He wants. We become His partners in prayer. One of the best ways to pray God’s will is to pray His Word.
And remember it really is all about God. Prayer is effective not because great people pray, or that we pray great prayers but because we pray to a great God. Find a place of intimacy with God. There in His arms you will have confidence that God is listening, that He hears and answers. Now that’s effective praying.