Effectual, Fervent Prayer
Perhaps no word is spoken more often, requested more frequently, or more superficially applied than the word “prayer”. A request will appear on Facebook and immediately responses will pop up that say, “Praying”. A person requests prayer of a friend and the statement is made, “I will pray for you.” When we hear of a death or serious illness, we write the person to tell them that they are in our prayers.
I am all for all of us being people of prayer. But, when we see so much shallow faith prevalent among Christ followers, it at least creates a question of how fervently and earnestly we are praying for God’s power to fall on those we love. In Biblical times, prayers were answered by grand provisions of God’s power. Servants of God prayed with tremendous confidence that God would hear and answer. They did not presume upon God sending His power. They believed that God would do so.
Their prayers were not for superficial things to enhance the holdings of the saint in prayer. Rather, the requests were for God to demonstrate His power for the deliverance of His people, for their faith to be strengthened, and for the unbelieving to know that the God of Israel was the Living God Who answers prayer. We have a few who pray with that level of confidence because of their hours alone with God. But, the majority pray perfunctory prayers not expecting heaven sent answers, but just content with earthly remedies. The Biblical writer James recorded that “the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”. We know both the kind of prayer and the kind of man doing the “praying” that God honors.
When Hudson Taylor was sailing to China to begin his missionary work, his ship was in great danger. The wind had died, and the current was carrying them toward sunken reefs which were close to islands inhabited by cannibals—so close they could see them building fires on the shore. Everything they tried was to no avail. In his journal Taylor recorded what happened next: The Captain said to me, “Well, we have done everything that can be done.” A thought occurred to me, and I replied, “No, there is one thing we have not done yet.” “What is that?” he queried. “Four of us on board are Christians. Let us each retire to his own cabin, and in agreed prayer ask the Lord to give us immediately a breeze.”
Taylor prayed briefly and then, certain that the answer was coming, went up on the deck and asked the first officer to let down the sails. “What would be the good of that?” he answered roughly. I told him we had been asking a wind from God; that it was coming immediately. Within minutes the wind did began to blow, and it carried them safely past the reefs. Taylor wrote: Thus, God encouraged me ere landing on China’s shores to bring every variety of need to Him in prayer, and to expect that He would honor the name of the Lord Jesus and give the help each emergency required.
Knowing that our prayers touch the heart of our loving Father in Heaven and that He can meet any need, we should be confident that He will hear and answer when we cry out to Him. (Copied).