The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much

Dear friends,

My hope is that you are walking in the blessing of the Lord. Many are facing difficult situations and the help of man is futile. I believe we are in a season of God calling His people to prayer. That is a great encouragement to me because the precursor to outpourings of the Spirit in the past was almost always prayer. In the middle of the 19th century church attendance was dropping, slavery had become a volatile issue, the economy was bad, and the country was becoming increasingly divided. In September, 1857, six men gathered in New York City to pray. A few days later the bank of Philadelphia failed. A couple of weeks later the stock market crashed. Within 6 months there were 10,000 people praying in that prayer meeting at the noon hour. Similar meetings sprung up in other parts of the country. The revivals that were birthed as a result helped prepare the United States for one of its most tragic periods in history. I am not saying that there is some sort of tragedy looming ahead and that is why we must pray. There could be, but we must pray because we are compelled; we are drawn to deeper levels of intimacy with the Father. We must pray, for our nation has turned from Him, who in His sovereignty birthed this great nation. Again today I would like to share a few thoughts on prayer. We serve a God whose ear is not deaf, nor are His arms short.

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for 3 years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. James 5:17,18

Let’s first look at Elijah.

1. Elijah was an ordinary man. James is making a point that Elijah was just like us. He was saying Elijah was not an angel; he was not a god. We see him the day after his great victory on Mt. Carmel thoroughly depressed and wallowing in self-pity. He was an ordinary man with an extraordinary God. James wants us

to know that even as Elijah prayed and affected the climate, our prayers can affect great change.

2. Elijah prayed. He prayed expecting results. We must pray with expectation. If we pray and don’t expect that God will answer; He probably won’t. Sometimes in His mercy He moves, but the principle in the kingdom that moves God is faith. Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” 1 Kings 19:41 He said this before he began praying.

3. Elijah persisted. He went up to the top of Mt. Carmel to pray. He put his head between his knees on the ground, which I don’t know , but have been told is the Hebrew birthing position and that this is a picture of birthing things in intercession. That would go right along with the acrostic:






He sent his servant to check for rain clouds. When he returned the first time saying he saw nothing, he sent him back seven more times and the seventh time, which would have been eight in all, the servant said that he saw a cloud the size of a man’s hand. Eight is the number of new beginnings. He did not quit until he knew the answer was on its way.

James was using Elijah as an illustration of what he had said in the portion of the verse listed in the heading. Prayer makes a difference. The Amplified Bible says it like this: The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].

James 5:16b

How does that apply to you? Do you believe your prayer will avail much? Some would say, “I’m not righteous.” Are you born again? If you are, then you are righteous not by virtue of what you have done but by receiving by faith what Christ has done for you. If you are saved you have become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. By virtue of your position in Him you are righteous and you can pray your earnest, heartfelt,

Spirit-inspired prayers, and expect results. Expect your prayers to be dynamic in their working. As I said earlier our Father’s ears are not dull. He’s not hard of hearing and His arms are not short. Our God is mighty to save. May we see again a mighty outpouring of His Spirit in this land. Be blessed.

In His love,

Herb Dean