I awoke early today. Strange, for someone who loves to sleep. Especially on a Saturday morning, when a neighborhood yappy little dog is finally not outside barking incessantly. Yet, here I am, wide awake, and I simply look at the myriad of things I need to complete. I should be up, getting them done. Instead, I spend my time chatting with God about the many people who are in need of His help. So often, I wonder if these prayers are being effective. I ask them often, and have repeated many of them for so long. I recall a Bible verse memorized as a child:
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. [James 5:16 KJV]
So I wonder, maybe I’m not righteous. Maybe my chatting with God needs to be more fervent. Maybe my prayers are not being effectual. But then I know that’s the devil trying to discourage me. I am righteous, not because of anything I’ve done myself, but because Jesus is my righteousness. Could I be more fervent? Sure, but my prayers are heartfelt.
So I looked the verse up in The Message and wanted to see what the context was. Maybe I was just pulling that memory verse out and using it the way I want it to work…Here it is:
16-18 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.
19-20 My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God. [James 5:16-20 MSG]
Back in verse 7, James is addressing fellow believers. “Friends” he calls them in The Message. He says to wait patiently, like a farmer waiting for his crops to mature, “letting the rain do its slow but sure work.” Rain isn’t always welcome. But it is necessary.
In the meantime, I will keep asking, keep talking to God about things. Confessing my sins to my fellow believer who also pray with me. Waiting through the rain. Because I know the harvest will come in due time.
DAY 337 HOMEWORK: Got a prayer [or two, or a dozen] you’ve prayed for a long time? Be patient, and keep praying. Remember, Elijah didn’t just ask once in his prayers. He sent his servant back to keep checking if the rain cloud was coming. If it’s good enough for a prophet to keep praying, it’s good enough for us…so keep at it, and let the rain do its slow but sure work.