Word of the Day
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much…”(James 5:16). Admittedly what I have written about this verse is taken out of context, but isn’t that what we do most of the time? In the context, James is talking about the practice of prayer within the fellowship and how we are to approach this matter of prayer. And in doing so, he makes some rather radical statements(5:13-18) which are rarely used or even mentioned from our pulpits.
So much hot air is given to the subject of praying. And while much “praying” is taking place in America, sadly most of it is being done by Muslims. Is what they are doing really praying? Ask them and listen to their response and to their reasoning and compare it to your own.
In the many midweek services I have attended in over 50 years of being “in church” I have heard so much about praying for the sick(which the Bible advocates) and so very little about praying for the lost, revival, the well-being of each other spiritually, of seeking the face of God(which the Bible also advocates). Now no one misunderstand me. I have cancer and want my brothers and sisters to pray for me. But I am far more concerned about my spiritual condition than I am about my physical condition. Yes, I want to “feel good” as I go through life, but I have to live with the reality that, for whatever the reason, I am going to die. This body may suffer pain and discomfort for a time, but my spirit will continue to live no matter what. So, yes, pray for my physical condition, but please pray for me spiritually, that I might be what God expects and demands of me.
So much of our praying is so very petty. The story is told of Napoleon Bonaparte, the former emperor of France, who was also a great military leader. It seems that he had his army attack and conquer this rather large island off the coast of England. After a rather bloody and brutal battle, his forces won the victory. And as he and one of his generals were riding across the island, surveying the island and its people, one of his lowly privates approached Napoleon and made a rather brazen request. He dared ask this brilliant military leader to give him this island! How dare him make that such request!! As his general drew his sword to thrust through this impudent and presumptuous young soldier, Napoleon stopped him from doing so and told the general that this brazen young soldier honored him by making this request. Looking his general and this brazen young man, he granted the young soldier his request.
When was the last time you asked God for an island? Ridiculous, you say. Well, is not our God even greater than any human leader the world has ever known? And is not our God more gracious than any human leader? And is it not His wish to bless His people even more than any human would ever dream?
We spend so much time praying for Aunt Susie’s sore toe than we do asking for the mighty things of God(Jer.33:3). We spend more time praying about our friend’s struggle with coming to church than we do about the opening of blind eyes. We are so caught up with all our petty praying that we forget that we are approaching the God of the universe, the Eternal, Almighty God of the ages, the God Who holds the world and the entire universe in His hands. We forget that we are approaching the God with Whom NOTHING is impossible. And we ask for a penny!! How is that honoring Him??
Jesus died on that Cross to save us from our sin which condemns us to eternal hell. We are not hesitant to ask for Him to save us and deliver us from that awful destiny. And when we ask, we have the audacity to believe that He does just that. Why? Simply because He said He would. We deserve nothing but He gives us everything.
And does not the same Scripture that tells us to call on His Name for salvation also tell us that we “…have not because we ask not…”(James 4:2)? Does not that same Scripture also tell us that “…whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do…”(John 14:13,14; 15:16). In saying these words, did Jesus put any limit on what we can ask for? Did He not say that we must simply believe?
When will we ever wake up and realize just how mighty our God is, and begin to honor Him in everything we do, including our praying?