James 5:16 "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."I was watching the news this morning and saw where a Hollywood agent/publicist had just left a movie premiere and was shot multiple times. One minute heading home, going over tomorrows "to-do list" happy the movie she had been publicizing looked like a hit...and just that quick...her life on earth ended.
A woman goes for a routine mammogram and the next thing she knows she is hooked up to chemotherapy and shopping for wigs. A man goes to the doctor because he is tired and lethargic and finds he has mere months to live. A family living in "Leave-it-to-Beaver-Land" is split wide open because one person just doesn't want to be married anymore. Jobs are lost, friends suffer, illness takes hold, and accidents happen.
Devout Christian or not... Life can turn on a dime... sometimes there are warning signs... sometimes not. No matter how much we plan... no matter the contingency, sometimes life just gets turned upside down and inside out leaving our emotions spent and our nerves raw. It is during these times when most people turn to prayer. You've heard the old saying... "When there is no place left to go, go to your knees."
Sometimes people want to use prayer like it is some kind of magic formula or think of God like a genie a bottle... "Lord, I can't fix it - please, please fix it for me." They want some kind of big booming voice to emanate from the sky with words of wisdom... or a lightening bolt to strike the "problem" down. That kind of attitude and expectation can and will only lead to more disappointment. Now, don't get me wrong here, I definitely believe in miracles... I have seen them and BELIEVE in them... it can happen. What I'm saying is... it's a "heart thing."
In reality, prayer is opening up our hearts and pouring out all that is contained therein... frustration, hurt, anger, sin, thankfulness, praise, worship. There are times we feel like we just don't have the words... sometimes it is simply lying prostrate sobbing and groaning. Sometimes... we just have to start with a song...
When we empty our hearts of self and focus on HIM... and trust me... this is, at times, so much harder than it sounds... we are praying with a right heart... in righteousness... It is then and only then, that we can hear, we can understand what it is that He has planned, what He has in store for us... it is then we can receive what He has to give us... even if it is simply comfort and peace. ahhhhh... comfort and peace... it is what we all long for, isn't it?
Then the PRAISE comes welling up from within our souls. Praise Him in the good times and in the bad times... in the fruitful times...and in the lean times. Sometimes praising the Lord is as simple as singing to Him. I think prayer and singing go hand-in-hand after all, singing is worshiping God... even if you sound like an old toad doing it!
There really is power in prayer...the power is not ours, it's not in the singing, not in the words spoken... it is in the very act of prayer itself... it is in the communion with God... the power comes from HIM! It is so easy to turn to God in prayer when times are tough... it seems like everyone does that. But do we maintain that communication with God when times are going smoothly or are we like those who walk and live in the world and only seek God's face when life hands us a curve ball?
James 5:16 (b) The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.