Effective Prayer

What is effective prayer? We always say, “I’ll pray for you,’ but then does the person get well? Does their circumstance change?  What did we pray for?  For instance, listen to the words of Scripture as you read them with me: “Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray over him after anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord.  The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will restore him to health; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours; yet he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land. Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its fruit.”  James 5:13-18  I didn’t even want to write about this today, but the Spirit compelled me to. Do we have a lack of faith when we pray and a sick one doesn’t get well? I know I have had to deal with that over the loss of a loved one that I prayed earnestly for, yet did not get well, did not get her health restored.  I don’t want the gift of healing as some would say they have, but I want the faith that is strong enough, like Elijah, or like the Centurion, who asked Jesus to just say the word and his servant would be healed. I believe the Spirit distributes gifts as He sees fit, and if a gift makes you closer to Jesus, then yes, I want it. But I know that my goal is to have that “RIGHT” relationship with Jesus.  I believe in Him and His ability to heal, to change, to fix the broken, and to right the wrong. But I also know in my heart that wanting to stay here is not the primary goal of the believer.  Yes, I have had some urgent requests, that I have cried out to the Lord for, and even though it seemed like He was silent, I know He wasn’t. It was just that He wanted me to trust Him, regardless of the outcome I was hoping for.  So is it a lack of faith that keeps us from having the desired outcome that we prayed for in the first place? I know this is a big issue for many believers, and you are probably one who has felt the result of unanswered prayers.  Or at least they seemed to be unanswered.  But were they?  Does your prayers draw you closer to Jesus, or farther apart from Him when they seem to be unanswered?  Do you spend time wondering when Jesus is going to respond to your request for change?  Do you tell others that their lack of results when they pray is because their faith is not strong enough? Why do we need physicians if our faith is strong enough?  Why do we irrigate if our faith is strong enough?  Bring on the rain Jesus! But in the end, what I can conclude is that I have faith, but His ways are so much higher than mine, and my true request is for His will, not mine. I will accept the giving and the taking away, just as Job did, and I will trust in the Lord with all my heart, regardless of whether my wants are satisfied, for it’s my wants that I truly desire to change, and be replaced by trust, and His wants for me. Pastor Andy, Journey

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