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Prayer with Great Efficacy


Prayer is essential for Christians.  Through praying with a trusting heart to God, we can understand God’s will and enjoy peace in Christ.  James Chapter 5 verses 13-18 clearly point out when and for what we should pray, and how to make an effective prayer.  Here I would like to mention some of my personal thoughts to encourage one another.

I.       In time of affliction

“Is anyone of you in trouble?  He should pray” (Jas 5:13).  Affliction is a tremendous test to a believer.  Many a time, because we fail in the test of affliction, we lose our heart and faith and start to grumble.  However, since we are the children of our merciful Father, how would he let us suffer in vain?  The Bible always emphasizes that to bear the burden in youth is good, and suffering is to help us grow and bring us closer to perfection so that we have a hope in the last day.  Therefore, it is very important to pray for God’s will in time of suffering.  While Jesus being in great sorrow in the Garden of Gethsemane, He left us an example of prayer.  Jesus said, “My father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from em.  Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Most often while in suffering , haven’t we forgotten to pray for God’s will?

While God let Satan attack Job, His main purpose is for Job to be more perfect and to enable God’s name to be glorified.  Although Job had been attacked by Satan several times, he did not complain against God.  Instead he said, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away”.  Since Job was able to prevail over the trial and glorify God’s name, God not only made him perfect, he also blessed him abundantly.  In times of affliction we often forget the fact that it is the battle between God and Satan.  Satan wants to knock us down through this affliction while God wants to gain glory through our prevalence over this affliction.  If we can get through, we will gain perfection in our utterance and be blessed richly.  However, if we fail, we will become the captives of Sata, and much more suffering will be waiting for us ahead.  Thus, we should be watchful and pray in order to overcome the ordeal.

II.    In times of Joy

“Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise.”  (Jas 5:13)  While we are at the weakest point, joy always has us lose our self-control.  As King Nebuchadnezzar enjoyed being the mightiest one of his time, he forgot that it was God who made him strong.  Instead he bragged, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?"” The words were still on his lips, God’s word came and said, “King Nebuchadnezzar, your royal authority has been taken from you.  You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle until you acknowledge that the most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men.”  King David ran into the same incident too.  When David came to reign, with the help of his mighty men and fighting men, the kingdom enjoyed peace and prosperity.  At that moment, he lost his watchfulness and sinned.  Thus in his Psalm 103, he always reminded himself, “praise the Lord, o my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name…”  Later he built the temple and offered gifts to glorify the Lord.  (1 Chron 29: 12-14).  In serving the Lord, we hardly give true glory to the Lord because we always get hurt and lose heart in failure, or because we always feel complacent while everything has been worked out fine and most often just remember our great deeds.  Then how could this glorify the Lord’s name?  Therefore, we should pray in watchfulness and with thanksgiving heart so that God’s name will be glorified.

III. In time of sickness

“Is anyone of you sick?  He should …. Pray.” (Jas 5:14).  Sickness may come from God’s trial and his discipline due to our wrong doings, or from our lack of care for our health.  No matter what the reasons are, all these are for our sake (Job 33:19-30).  Asa was a good king who removed all the idols and the idol worshipper’s leader, and led people to the Lord.  Therefore, God blessed him and made him prosperous.  While everything was going on smoothly for him, he no longer felt that everything was from the grace of God as he became used to being under the grace of God.  Although God wanted to save him through the warning of the prophet, on the contrary, he put the prophet into jail and oppressed the people.  Finally, God made him sick.  While afflicted with a disease in his feet, he did not examine his misdeeds, instead he kept searching for the physician and at last he died of the disease.

Upon enjoying the grace of God we should keep reminding ourselves to count God’s blessing often.  In doing so, we will be continually stirred up by God’s love.  At the same time, our faith toward God will stand firm and our love for God will increase more and more.  Once illness comes upon us, we can be strong enough to resist it and think it over in quietness so that the same mistake of King Asa won’t be repeated to us.

What is the prayer with great efficacy?

1.      Being laid hand and pray

“Is any one of you sick?  He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint hi with oil in the name of the Lord.” (Jas 5:14)

When we are ill spiritually or physically, we should ask the deacons or the elders of the church to lay hand on us and pray.  In the Old Testament times, “oil” was used to anoint a person to be prayed for, but nowadays, hand laying has replaced “oil”.  Laying hand brings forth blessing.  It was recorded in the Bible that a person brought his child to the Lord and the Lord laid hand on them and blessed them.  Laying hand also stands for gift passing.  Paul said, “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Tim 1:6).  The Lord had commanded Moses to lay his hands upon the elders in order to pass on them the grace of God.  The laying hands also could heal the sick.  Many a time, Jesus laid hands upon the sick to heal their illnesses.  He also granted the disciples this type of ability.  (Mk 16:18).  A brother of BanChicoChurch, seeing a pastor pass by him, suddenly grasped the pastor’s hand to put on his shoulder to heal the pain in the arms through the pastor’s hand.  After the realizing the reason, the pastor said, “May God fulfill according to your faith.”  Indeed, all the pain of the brother had gone away after being laid hands upon by the pastor of course the laying of hands could heal the sickness, but the person being laid hands on should accept it with faith as well.

2.      Prayer of faith

“And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well, the Lord will raise him up.  If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.” (Jas 5:15)

The Lord often told those who asked for the grace: “Your faith will accomplish it.”  He continued, “If you believe God, without any doubt, you can even remove this mountain to the sea.”  Thus it shows the greatness of faith.  Our God has abundant grace for us, however, we often lack faith to receive it.  Therefore, may the Lord increase our faith.  To increase our faith, we should beseech – pray – the Lord to fill us with the Holy Spirit.  We should listen to the sermon often, so that w will have a profound understanding of the Lord and at the same time our faith will increase and grow.


David was only a shepherd boy; however, he dared to fight with the giant warrior Goliath who had defeated the Israelites for 40 days and nights.  Even God’s name was defiled, but not one Israelite dared to come forward to wage battle against Goliath.  David said, “While I tended my father sheep in the wilderness, when a lion or a bear came to carry off a sheep from the flock, I chased it off and beat it to death to save the sheep from its mouth.  The Lord helped me before and He will help me today so that I will prevail.”  David too his past experience as the foundation of today and said to Goliath, “You use sword and spear to fight, but I fight in the name of the Lord who will hand you over to me today.”  With his great faith, David struck Goliath down with one of hive five stones and triumphed totally for Israel. 

The faith of David is built up from his daily experience.  By the same token we should learn to rely on the Lord in our daily life.  Never wait until we run into great difficulties and hasten to rely on Him.  We always make a mistake that we could handle the small matter and only when we encounter a great incident we try to rely on the Lord.  Actually we ought to rely on the Lord with every matter.  We should also teach our children to pray and put their truest on the Lord so that they will build up their faith upon the Lord and could overcome every hindrance before them.  Thus to attain a prayer with great efficacy, faith is one of the prerequisite to be achieved.

3.      Prayer of the righteous

“The prayer of the righteous man is powerful and effective.” (Jas 5:16).  The scripture says: “God does not listen to a sinner’s prayer but the prayer of the righteous one.”  We are all sinners and are justified by faith.  When our prayer is not effective, it does not mean that God does not hear our prayer.  It is sin that separates us from God.  Therefore, in our prayer, we ought to reflect and reexamine ourselves thoroughly so that we may become righteous before Him and our prayer will attain great efficacy.

4.      Prayer of Earnestly

“Elijah was a man just like us.  He prayed earnestly that it would not rain and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.  Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (Jas 5:17-18)

James emphasizes that Elijah was a man just like us with flesh and blood and feelings.  Whey then is his prayer so powerful and effective?  The answer is that “he prayed earnestly”.  Earnestly means an honest and sincere attitude from the inner heart.  Hebrew 5:7 records, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayer and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.”  Prayer with a loud voice does not mean earnestly and great efficacy.  But the prayer must come with petitions from our inner heart and with tears from our reverent heart.  A loud prayer without a prepared and quiet heart could not bring forth effectiveness.  Jeremiah tells us that if we beseech and seek single mindedly, it will be found.

Some people said that we use our feet to tread on the roads of the world, but the roads to the HeavenlyKingdom, we must walk with our knees.  No matter which circumstances we are under, whether it is suffering, joy, sickness, we should pray.  We should also ask the elders or the deacons of the church to lay their hands upon us and pray.  Moreover, we ask God to increase our faith so that in our daily living we can experience the grace of the Lord and glorify His name.  Praying in this way will produce great power and efficacy.

We pray to the Lord to keep every one of our brothers and sisters in Him and help us to finish the journey of this life, and through the prayer, we can meet the Lord in clear conscience in the future.