“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16
If we are to pray against this pandemic, we must understand what this verse means……..
We are asking much of God for this virus to be defeated and that because of our prayers. This may seem like an obvious statement, but we are bearing a specific load of responsibility upon ourselves. We are targeting a large monster and, as if shooting an arrow, we must use aim that is specific and direct.
Such a prayer can only be prayed by a righteous person. This person knows Jesus Christ as his Savior. Therefore, prayers must originate from a heart that is right with God. We must not allow any form of unconfessed sin to be in the way.
There are hindrances to praying an effective prayer. We cannot pray in a matter that would honor or exalt self. It is possible to offer a prayer yet not believe that God will meet the need. It is easy to fall into the trap in which we are praying in a formal manner that could be flippant and insincere. If we have an unforgiving spirit toward someone else, how can we expect God to look beyond our grudge?
As we pray against this pandemic, we must be patient and diligent. There are numerous examples in the Bible of those who would not let go and not be discouraged. Our prayers must be persistent and focused against the enemy and on our God, who will defeat it. James 1:5, 6 says, “let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” This prayer is a sign that we truly trust God.
We must not be afraid because when we pray, we are doing as the Bible says. We are offering an effectual fervent request from God. The Greek word for effectual is where we get the idea of energy. It is when we pour out our heart to God with faith anchored in him.
This thought has examples in the ancient world. It is a man on duty in his profession or calling. It is a Navy fleet that is so large that it has the greatest active service. It is the vision of a vigorous attack at a rapid march with a reliable weapon. Effective would be the word to describe a farmer who cultivates properly and has a productive crop. It is a mine that amply supplies minerals and cannot be exhausted.
These examples share the meaning of vitality as opposed to worn-out, idleness, or uselessness. It is the realization that light drives away darkness. Furthermore, to be effective, we must see our prayers as battering rams. It is the activity of a drug that works. It is simply not an action but one that is superb in the way it works. We have a picture of a man who has virtue in action. This is not the potential of action because it is the demonstration of focused, purposeful, meaningful, and actual action.
So, as we pray against this pandemic, we are engaging ourselves to the mighty working of God. This is the same operation of God that brought Jesus from the dead. This is the power that is so great as it stands against evil and all that is anti–God. The result of our prayer is because we are fully engaged with the power of God. First, that power must be affected within ourselves to be effective against any enemy. It becomes a channel for God to respond.
Effectual and fervent are words said together. It is spiritual energy persistently directed toward the result and for that which we pray. The combination of these two words means divine power working in us continually. Let us, therefore, pray in such a manner that we received much from God.