The Need for Fervent Prayer

A group of people with arms and hands raised in active worship. The words of James 5:16b  NKJV, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
by Beeda Speis for Peace In The Stillness.

Today’s Bible verse is James 5:16. Compare the NKJV with the ESV:
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
James 5:16 NKJV versus
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
James 5:16 ESV

Do you see the difference? The NKJV says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Effective. Fervent. The word “fervent” gives a sense of intense emotion behind it, don’t you think? Why would the ESV leave that out? My husband found a similar difference last week where the ESV took out wording that gave the emotional essence of the passage greater meaning. (1 Corinthians 1:7 in the NKJV says “eagerly waiting” but the ESV just says “as you wait.” Why? Why would they do that? I’m not opposed to the newer translations, but just why???) It’s so important as we study Scripture to compare different versions.

How to pray effectively

I point this out because David Guzik of wrote this about James 5:16

iii. Much of our prayer is not effective simply because it is not fervent. It is offered with a lukewarm attitude that virtually asks God to care about something that we care little about. Effective prayer must be fervent, not because we must emotionally persuade a reluctant God, but because we must gain God’s heart by being fervent for the things He is fervent for.
iv. Additionally, effective prayer is offered by a righteous man. This is someone who recognizes the grounds of his righteousness reside in Jesus, and whose personal walk is generally consistent with the righteousness that he has in Jesus.

When we go to God with requests for loved ones (or for strangers), when we intercede and petition the Lord on their behalf, we need to be just as fervent as we are about our own needs. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We should have a deep, vested interest in each other’s welfare and wellbeing.

Please be in prayer

This morning my heart is heavy for a dear friend whose father passed away yesterday. He was such a wonderful man. I would hang out at their house in junior high and high school and he was always such a joy to be around. Although the family knows he’s with Jesus now and no longer suffering, it’s still an extremely difficult time for them, of course. We miss our loved ones when they leave us, even when we know they’re in Heaven now. There’s a peace that comes in knowing that we’ll see them again and get to spend eternity together. But, for now, we’re separated from them, and it hurts. Please join me in praying for my friend and her family and for all who have lost loved ones this year. The first Christmas without someone we hold dear is a very difficult time.

Praise God for the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

Specific Prayer

Lord, please wrap a loving hedge of comfort and peace around my friend, her family, and others who are facing this joyous time of year without a cherished loved one. Allow them to feel Your presence and know the hope and joy that comes from Your love. Help them through the grief and wipe away their tears, Father.
Lord, we also ask that You open the hearts and minds of those involved with another friend’s work dispute. Please allow those in charge to see and hear only truth and to settle this matter in our friend’s favor. Lord we also ask that You continue to heal our friend of his cancer and related illnesses that have been worsened by this whole unfortunate ordeal.
Father, we praise You and worship You for Your unwavering love, Your mercy, and Your grace. Lord, we are so thankful for everything You do for us, for your blessings and guidance. May we glorify You in our daily works and deeds. Please give us wisdom and direction to do Your will. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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