Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray....confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
How often when trouble comes do we just throw in the towel and give up. Or we settle for some easy solution, so we can go on with our sleepy lives.
The teaching of praying through is verified time and again in Scripture, from Jacob to David to Esther to Daniel to Jesus himself, and followers of Jesus. Too often we settle for rather sleepy, half-hearted prayer, and while that might be better than no prayer at all, yet it's not the kind of praying God is necessarily going to hear, as in answering.
This takes effort on our part. Effort against the grain of who we are; effort willing to get off our face and deal with any sin issue that needs dealt with. Effort to be there for others, interceding for them, as well as for our own needs.
Praying through also requires time. It takes some serious time. If this was so with Jesus himself, how much more so with us, his followers! Praying through requires faith that is focused on God and on God's promises to us in Christ.
Too often we settle for some substitute that soothes us, or makes us forget our trouble. But God wants us to get serious before him, and get our petition or request out to him. He alone can do what needs to be done, but he uses the prayers of his people to accomplish much of what he does.
For some, this will impinge on the sovereignty of God. But not so. God's sovereignty has a certain sense of mystery. In the mix is our prayers and the acts of faith we do. God's gracious sovereign rule is at work in every aspect of the human side of work, but it remains for us to do it.
I like this rendering of James 5:16b:
And this translation of the verse:
The prayer of a person living right with God
is something powerful to be reckoned with.
I also like Eugene Peterson's rendering in the spiritual (I take it, primarily as against spiritual entities) warfare passage of Ephesians 6, concering praying in the Spirit:
The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters.
What might you like to share with us about praying through?