The Effective Prayer
How does James 5:16..."the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" apply to us today?
The writing of James is inspired and harmonious with other apostolic writings. However, some religious leaders have rejected James because they embrace the error of "faith only". They reject James 2:17 "even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead being alone". To them the entire book of James should be cut out of the New Testament.
This reminds me of an evangelist who regaled us with his attempt to convince a lady of a particular point to which she replied, "those Scriptures are not in my Bible." He examined her Bible and found she had cut those passages of her Bible!
Let us examine the passage word-for-word.
"THE" is a word grammatically a *definite* article of speech. "THE" White House in Washington DC signifies a *definite* structure. Therefore, "THE" prayer of a petitioner to God signifies the ownership of the prayer.
"EFFECTUAL (EFFECTIVE) FERVENT". Dan King’s commentary states, "The expression *effectual fervent* represents the translation of a single participle ἐνεργέω energéō. In those places where is appears, it is usually rendered by the term 'working'". Entomologically this compound words denotes a "power working inwardly" (as in Galatians 5:6). Thus, the prayer is owned by the petitioner being alive and working. James 5:17 says Elias prayed "earnestly" with sincerity and energy.
"PRAYER" - When His disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He provided the introductory example. "Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy name" (Matthew 6:9-13). Our prayer of faith must be directed to the Heavenly Father and it must be within God's will (James 4:13-15). We must also remember that Jesus Christ lived on the earth and experienced life and that now is our advocate before God (1 John 2:1-6).
"OF" is used to indicate "distance or direction from". Therefore, "THE" prayer is directed FROM the petitioner TO our Heavenly Father.
"A" - as compared to "THE" (a *definite* article of speech), "A" is an *indefinite* article of speech. How important can a one-letter-word be in this context? Very important! The letter/word here leads us to the next word, which qualifies the petitioner as...
"RIGHTEOUS". The condition of being *right* is based on God's sight. The word "A" above introduces the qualification of the petitioner and it is unlimited in race, but limited to all "righteous". “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one also the doeth righteousness is begotten of Him" (1 John 2:29). "My little children, let no man lead you astray; he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous" (1 John 3:7). "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:20-21). The apostle Paul asked, "what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14). Thus, the effective prayer is uttered by a righteous person in God's sight.
"MAN" in this context, can refer to either male or female. Hanna, a woman, prayed to God and her God gave her a son, Samuel (1 Samuel 2:1-10).
"AVAILETH MUCH" - God decides the results of our prayers and how "much" is "much" is His decision!