Dutch Christian and Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom was known as a woman of prayer. She once said, “What wings are to a bird and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul.” As we end our study on powerful prayers from the Bible, one of the unifying themes we have seen is that each praying person exhibited a deep love for the Lord. As believers, we know there is great power in prayer, and a life steeped in prayer can be greatly used by God.
The half-brother of Jesus, Pastor James, knew this too. James was the leader of the church in Jerusalem. In his letter to his flock scattered among the nations, he emphasized the importance of prayer in the Christian’s life. In our text today he begins by saying that if anyone is in trouble, happy, or sick, prayer and praise is always the answer (vv. 13–15). He also admonished them to confess their sins to one another and pray for healing. He summarizes his thoughts by saying, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (v. 16).
In this letter, James reminds us that a life steeped in prayer spills over into action. While we are found righteous only because of Jesus, our personal walk ought to reflect Christ’s teachings. When we center our lives on Jesus and live in a way that is worthy of our calling, our prayers become even more powerful and effective. Is it any wonder that some say Mary Queen of Scots dreaded the prayers of Reformer and Pastor John Knox more than the armies of King Philip?
James concludes by pointing to Elijah as a biblical example of a man who lived a godly life and prayed earnestly and effectively (vv. 17–18). The prayers and the lives of faithful men and women are powerful and can accomplish much!
>> May the lessons we’ve learned this month challenge us to become people of prayer. Remember that the life you live is just as important as the prayers you pray.
When we encounter problems, some of us complain, some rage, and some deny. Lord, help us cultivate an attitude of prayer in all circumstances and praise you as the giver of peace, wisdom, and righteousness.