The Book of James – The Power of Prayer James 5:16-20

31 Jan



Our final post continues the thought introduced in our last post on prayer.  This is also our last lesson on the series we started back in November of last year.  I hope you have enjoyed the series; I for one have enjoyed bringing it to you.

Pray for Each Other

In verse 16 James challenges us to be concerned with, and pray for, each other.  The latter part of this verse is often quoted “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  There is power in prayer and to those who pray, faith believing, God will hear and answer.  James describes the manner of prayer as “effectual fervent” prayer.  It would stand to reason that we examine this manner of prayer so our prayers would be heard.

What does effectual fervent mean?  In the original language there is only one word.  The English language often uses more than one word to describe an action or thing.  Let’s use the word hot as an example.  We know what hot means; “don’t touch that it’s hot”.  Now if we want to emphasize how hot we might say “don’t touch that it’s really hot”.  This is what is happening here; the expression is meant to point out the manner of prayer by putting a “really” in front. The word fervent describes the manner; from the heart, passionate and intense.  A really passionate prayer puts life on hold; we enter into a moment where there is nothing more important than reaching out to our Creator.

There is another qualification in this verse, a righteous man.  This verse is directed towards the redeemed.  If we allow the world to infiltrate our heart even a really passionate prayer has no chance of being heard. Psa 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:  (In this case we need an effectual fervent prayer of repentance.)

Do we want God to hear us?  Of course we do.  Seek God, on His terms, with all your heart and He will answer.

Example Time

Elijah_PraysVerse 17: James gives us an example from the Old Testament where Elijah prayed to God to stop the rain.  Elijah saw the sins of Israel and wanted God to get their attention.  He asked for drought conditions because nothing gets people’s attention like hitting them in the pocket book.  After 3 1/2 years Elijah prayed again for rain and God sent the rain.  James points out that Elijah, although he was famous, was just like us, he was human, he dealt with the ups and downs of life just like we do.  He prayed, faith believing, and God heard and answered him.  Elijah’s intentions were pure; he didn’t pray for personal gain, he prayed for the restoration of Israel to God.

Final Thoughts

Verses 19-20: James, in the last two verses of the book, leaves us with a personal challenge: James says our highest and best use is to help others who have either lost their way or never knew the Lord to repent and be made whole.  To save a soul from eternal damnation is God’s top priority.  Seeing a soul restored makes God happy.  There is no greater honor among men than to help unite a sinner with the Savior.

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Until Night,

A Servant



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12 responses to “The Book of James – The Power of Prayer James 5:16-20

  1. A Fellow Servant

    January 31, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    This series has been a real blessing. Thank you brother.

    • A Servant

      January 31, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      Okay partner, tag, you’re it.
      A Servant

  2. Elaine

    February 2, 2014 at 12:18 am

    I only have been aware of your study long enough to have gotten through the last couple of posts and I went back and read all from James 5. Wonderful study and I look forward to going back to the beginning with James 1 and reading the entire study. I think it would make a great devotional for me. Thank you for your hard work. I look forward to what comes next. 🙂

  3. Freedomborn ... Aussie Christian Focus

    February 2, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Thank you A Servant, for your encouragement and Support on our Blog today, it was very much appreciated.

    And yes It is very True the prayer from a heart led by The Spirit is very powerful. The Scripture you shared The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” has great meaning for me I would like to share with you why, it does have a lot of detail, I hope you don’t mind.

    I was addicted to Gambling it had been in my flesh for many years but after becoming part of a Church for quiet a few years I didn’t gamble, I was very busy doing work for the Church and also Ron was not interested in Clubs. How did it start again , just by pleasing someone who was worldly, if it keeps her happy what harm could a few dollars in the pokies do but it lead to Addiction again. A few Christian friends warned me in Love at the time that I was in danger, it was not appreciated but later when I was delivered, I thanked them and have great respect for their willingness to rebuke even risking our friendship because they Loved me enough to do so.

    I went to G.A but it did not help, although I did stop gambling for three years it was a battle as my flesh had not been put to death, so once again I became addicted. They say gambling when someone is fully addicted ends either in suicide or insanity, with me it was believing the only way out was death, I just couldn’t escape it’s grip. I had tried everything and I felt no one cared anymore or loved me including God and I deserved it. I was going to jump in front of a Truck but worried that someone else may be hurt if the Driver swerved to miss me. I went back to my Hospital room and found a Giddions Bible and when I opened it I read about the prayer of a righteous man. I called an Elder who I remember as a very caring man, he was shocked at my confession but not condemning, he prayed and anointed me after I came to full heart repentance, not long after I was Miraculously healed of my very serious heart condition and also chronic Asthma a sign the Prayer had been answered. Although I was tempted to gamble again 4 years later but instead I asked Jesus to help me and it has now been many years since I gambled and I have no desire to either.

    To be sure I felt I was worthless when addicted but when God rescued me at the point of death I realized how great was His Love and mercy and He has showed me many times since that I’m a person of worth whom He greatly Loves and always did … do I deserve this, no not at all but He continues to greatly bless me which leaves me in awe … I hurt Him so much and others and yes myself too but I now have assurance in my heart that we are all precious to Him. He is Love and can do no evil, does He condone it, No! does He forgive yes!. I’m aiming now as Paul did to be perfected in Love, not when I die but as I live on earth, just like Paul and other Christians did.

    Thank you for letting me share, Christian Love – Anne

    • A Servant

      February 2, 2014 at 8:49 am

      As I am reading this it is Sunday Morning, a little before 9am. We will be leaving soon for service but I wanted to comment before I leave.
      God is so gracious. Your story, along with others I have been privileged to hear, stand as testimony of God’s true love for His children.
      Thank you for sharing, you are uniquely qualified to warn others of what an addiction can cost you.
      Praise God for our deliverance.
      A Servant

  4. G Capps

    February 2, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    I love your studies. Thank you so much!

  5. pacificmissionary

    February 10, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Great post love it.. God bless you…..

    • A Servant

      February 10, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      Thank you. The series on James was enjoyable. I’ve always been partial to the book due to James’ strait forward approach. No beating around the bush, just lay it out there.
      I do appreciate you letting me know.

      • pacificmissionary

        February 10, 2014 at 4:32 pm

        AMEN One of my favorites as well, practical and straight to the point….

  6. limbiley

    February 12, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Thank you these teachings have been a blessing.
    We do indeed need to pray for eachother I have just realised the importance of this,no one can stand alone.

    • A Servant

      February 12, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      True words my friend.


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