So I’m working to understand this verse better:
Confess your faults one to another,
and pray one for another,
that ye may be healed.
The effectual fervent prayer
of a righteous man (or woman) availeth much.
(King James’ version of James 5:16—beautiful poetic language that I often have to ponder in order to internalize)
Other versions use these words:
Can accomplish much
I positively don’t want to waste my time praying wimpy limp-along prayers that don’t accomplish much. So I’m striving to be a better pray-er. (perhaps that’s a key; maybe it’s not so much praying better prayers, as it is being a better pray-er)
I read in Matthew Henry’s commentary that one needs to be careful to actually pray in prayer. I paused for much thought there. Then caught myself this morning saying words while my focus was really on the pictures I was taking; and I’m pretty certain there’s no such thing as half-hearted effectual fervent prayer.
God doesn’t want me to treat his listening presence as if I can contain it on the back burner.
And there’s not a cookie cutter design for prayer because God says:
“When you pray,
don’t babble on and on
as people of other religions do.
They think their prayers are answered
merely by repeating their words again and again.
However, God was so meticulous when he gave his OT worship instructions to Moses that I have to believe some conditions and methods are more effective than others.
I asked some friends what they think the verse means:
Without ceasing (3 repeats)
With an honest heart.
Takes a lot of intentionality to be constantly aware of God’s presence during prayer.
Pray with conviction.
Sometimes pray with a broken heart.
Like you are on fire and you just want to burn hotter and you don’t want to stop or even have a slow down—if that makes sense.
Pray believing and often.
I even listened to one of Dr. David Gibbs, Jr.’s sermons on prayer:
Be righteous & clean
Be faithful to pray
Expect God to do the impossible
My personal takeaway:
please teach me how
to be a pray-er
who prays fervent
that avail much.