James 5:16

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Confession is good for the soul. I love playing golf with my buddies. I love the outdoors. I love visiting with friends and family. I love worshipping with my church family. Suddenly, each of these “loves” have been put into jeopardy or cancelled altogether.

I am guilty at the beginning of every golf season thinking about how many seasons of golf I have left while in good health. Quite presumptive on my part, I agree. I will also consider the current month throughout the season and how many more months of good golf weather I can expect to have before the winter chill. Again, this prediction is quite speculative and often wrong. Snows in March and rains in April through August have proven me to be a step above a groundhog. A pandemic was another force that came out of nowhere and put a damper on the start of our Spring. Just as we have to adjust to uncertainty within our world and lives, we have to adjust our prayers to weather these storms. Uncertainty breeds worry and worry gives birth to fear. When the times graduate to higher levels, our prayers need to graduate accordingly.

We know we have no control over the weather, sickness, injury, financial abilities, yet we continue to make plans for our life. A tragedy or a providential hindrance gives us an awakened direction of God’s will and the fragility of life. We then get a closer view of the big picture. More importantly, we see the impact of our past and quickly passing reliances. We relied upon golf for our recreation and the church house for our spirituality. When these things are eliminated, we see our true relationship with those both around us and Christ.

Instead of SportsCenter before we go to bed, we have a greater conviction to fervently pray. I’m not talking one of those “now I lay me down to sleep”, “please send us rain to water the garden” or “please let Karen have a good day at the office” deals. I’m talking about a prayer in Jesus’ name calling for God’s grace and mercy for a lost world, demanding His guidance in times of uncertainty and telling Him you are not quitting until He sends us help. These are the effectual prayers which get the attention of the Almighty. He doesn’t care if the putting greens dry up or if you are not able to play your part in the Easter play.

In James 5:16, we are told that fervent prayers offered by the righteous are effectual petitions. “Fervent” means “impassioned, forceful, passionate, heartfelt, powerful, or wholehearted.” We learned at an early age how to fervently argue with our parents for a later curfew. Then a little later on, we became professionals in the art of fervent persuasion when we married. It is natural for us to be fervent with everyone except for our Heavenly Father. During these times, let us practice the art of the fervent prayer. We, as believers, have more to be concerned about than what grocery stores have restocked, whether the prom is going to be held, or if our “Chinese flu check” will arrive in the mail next week.

We are in the midst of a pandemic which has shaken the normal lives of everyone around us. Some realize the comfort and peace found in a relationship with Christ. Many are scattering around with the worries of losing “their world.” Let us strive to be that needed stability pointing them to the one who is in control. Pray the lost will see the frailty of the vices which were depended upon and failed in the matter of days. Pray that conviction will be laid upon their heart in such a degree that rest will be impossible until they place total faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Better yet, let us pray that we will be restless and burdened until they are saved! Paul taught in 2 Corinthians 7:10 that, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

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