Prayer Essentials

As I was freshening the site, I came across an article from October 2018 where I noted an intention to write articles from a book about prayer that I had borrowed from my church library. Well, here it is almost six years later (!!!!) and I only had the one post. The book has long since been returned to the library, and I’m not even at the same church any longer.

I did find a small workbook about prayer from the same author on my own bookshelves, one that I’d start to work through but hadn’t finished. So, it is my intention, once again, to find a way to build a habit of regular writing. I’ll write as I go through The Essentials of Effective Prayer workbook by Kay Arthur, David Lawson, and BJ Lawson.

Verses: James 5:16b – 18

The first lesson suggests a read through the verses in James, marking each time the word “prayer” or “prayed” is used, then discussing observations. I won’t copy the questions in the workbook here but will just write some things that stood out to me.

Three things stand out to me right away – the words “earnestly” and “righteous” along with the mention in verse 17 that “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours…”

Although I tend to put someone like Elijah on a pedestal, this passage is a reminder that Elijah is just like every one of us in many ways (“a nature like ours”). He had a sin nature and needed redemption and he was needy and dependent on God.

The description of a man being “righteous” stands out, as it is only that kind of person who may have effective prayer. We are only righteous when we are in Christ, so only a person born again in Christ may enjoy regular effective prayer.

The word “earnestly” is a help for me to remember not to pray sloppy prayers. I often (Lord, forgive me) throw up prayers out of a sense of duty, but more and more lately I’m struck with the thought that I don’t really desire that for which I’m praying! Someone who has a need comes to mind and I begin to pray, but my prayer couldn’t be described as fervent or earnest.

Lately, when this happens, I’ve started my prayer over again, sometimes asking God for the proper desire for His glory and for love for the person for whom I’m praying. At times I’ve even abandoned the prayer, realizing that I am distracted, praying out of obligation and not being earnest and needing to move to a quieter place. At other times I will just write down the prayer to come back to it later when I’m in the proper frame of mind.

When we come to God in prayer, we are coming to a King! He is our Father through the Lord Jesus Christ, but He is still a King and worthy of our respectful, earnest prayers.

Please add your own thoughts in the comments!


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