The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
Chuck, an actor and martial artist, honored his mother on her hundredth birthday by sharing how instrumental she’d been in his spiritual transformation. “Mom has been an example of perseverance and faith,” he wrote. She raised three boys on her own during the Great Depression; suffered the death of two spouses, a son, a stepson, and grandchildren; and endured many surgeries. “[She] has prayed for me all my life, through thick and thin.” He continued, “When nearly losing my soul to Hollywood, she was back home praying for my success and salvation.” He concluded, “I thank [my mom] for helping God to make me all I can and should be.”
The prayers of Chuck’s mother helped him to find salvation—and a godly wife. She prayed fervently for her son, and God heard her prayers. We don’t always get our prayers answered the way we’d like, so we cannot use prayer as a magic wand. However, James assures us that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (5:16). Like this mom, we’re to continue to pray for the sick and those in trouble (vv. 13–15). When, like her, we commune with God through prayer, we find encouragement and peace and the assurance that the Spirit is at work.
Does someone in your life need salvation or healing or help? Lift your prayers to God in faith. He’s listening.
When have you seen God answer your fervent prayers? Who continues to be in your prayers?
Dear Father, help me to continually be in prayer and not to give up. Thank You for Your love that helps me persevere.
The words pray[ed] or prayer occur seven times in James 5:13–18 (niv), but they’re derived from three different Greek words. The word rendered “pray” in verse 13 (also vv. 14, 17, 18) is proseuchomai, to pray to God, to supplicate, worship. This is the word most often used in the New Testament in reference to prayer. The word translated “prayer” in verse 15 is euchē, which denotes a wish, expressed as a petition to God. The verb form of this word, euchomai, appears in verse 16: “pray for each other so that you may be healed.” The other word translated “prayer” in James 5 also appears in verse 16: “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” The word here is deēsis, a petition, prayer, request, supplication. Prayers of various kinds find their way to the listening ear and caring heart of God.