Lord, Please Teach Me How


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:



Great power


Wonderful results

Can accomplish much

Very powerful

Continual prayer

Heartfelt supplication

Insistent prayer

Very strong


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.

Matthew 6:7



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.

Just pray!

Be consistent.

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:


Get clean

Be righteous & clean

Be faithful to pray

Expect answers

Expect God to do the impossible


My personal takeaway:



please teach me how


to be a pray-er


who prays fervent


effectual prayers


that avail much.




2 thoughts on “Lord, Please Teach Me How”

  1. Love this Jan. I’ve been contemplating and trying to be more aware of God’s presence as I pray. It’s been really neat and created more depth in my focus and heart.

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