What is an effective, fervent prayer referred to in James 5:16?


James 5:16

ESV - 16 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.

Clarify Share Report Asked June 07 2020 Final avatar Lawrence Siamuyoba

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
My understanding is that the Greek word translated as "effective" or "effectual" in the verse in question is (in anglicized form) "energoumene", which makes its relationship to the English word "energetic" clearer. It is referring to the degree of both power and faith with which the prayer is being offered, as well as the degree of focus on the object of the prayer. By way of contrast, it might be regarded as the opposite of prayer that is indifferent, casual, or lifeless.

While fervency of prayer is always subject to being in the will of God with respect to the object of prayer being granted, such an attitude is in keeping with recorded instances in Scripture where concentrated devotion to prayer resulted in a desired outcome. These would include the people of Israel appealing to God to rescue them from their oppression in Egypt (Exodus 2:23-25); Elijah invoking a prolonged drought against Israel in judgment of the idolatry and wickedness of King Ahab and his wife Jezebel (1 Kings 17:1), as well as ending that same drought through prayer (1 Kings 18:42-45); and prayers being offered on Peter's behalf after he was imprisoned by Herod, culminating in his being miraculously freed from his captivity (Acts 12:1-17).

(I would also note that such prayer is linked or conditioned in the cited verse itself with confession by the individual(s) praying of the sins or faults that they are aware of in themselves, and also with concern for others and their needs for prayer related to their own concerns or problems.)

June 07 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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