Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 30, 2021

“The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

Today’s devotion comes from James 5:14-18.

“Is anyone among you sick?  Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;  and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.  Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.  Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.  Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.”  James 5:14-18.


“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”  2 Timothy 2:15.

We can mishandle today’s Scripture to simply try to get what we want.

We can break down today’s Scripture to a “To Do” list as if we do all the things, then we will get what we want.

We can miss the main points.

First, despite what the world claims, God does not treat all prayers equally.  God sharply distinguishes the prayers of the wicked from the prayers of the righteous.  

“The LORD is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous.” Proverbs 15:29.

“15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous
And His ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the LORD is against evildoers,
To cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.” Psalm 34:15-17.


“The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”  Verse 16.

Second, when we think that we can get what we want through our own wisdom and our own will, whether it be by doing all the things on the “To Do” list or by praying harder, thinking that by doing so then we will get what we want, we are likely praying through the flesh, rather than praying through the Spirit.

We have seen in the verses above that the prayer of the righteous can be as simple as a “cry”.

The prayer can also be as simple as “Abba!  Father!”  

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba!  Father!”  Romans 8:15.

“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness;  for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;  and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”  Romans 8:26-27.

“It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” Psalm 127:2.

“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Matthew 6:31-32.

“The LORD will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” Psalm 138:8.

“Are you so foolish?  Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?  Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?  So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”  Galatians 3:3-5.

Third, God’s will, not necessarily our will, will be done.

Paul prayed that the thorn in his flesh would be removed.  “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9.

Jesus prayed “saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me;  yet not My will, but Yours be done.”  Luke 22:42.

“9 “Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]” Matthew 6:9-13.

Fourth, the Lord may delay granting our prayer request sometimes to allow the testing by fire of our faith:  “that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” 1 Peter 1:7. 

The Lord’s delivery is not dependent on how good we are or how right we are in doing the right things or how much faith we have.  We can’t treat God like a cosmic bubble gum machine and insert a coin of “good work” or “faith” and immediately receive the bubble gum of “deliverance”.

The Lord may not deliver us from our trouble when we want or how we want, but God will deliver us out of all of our troubles.

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous;
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19.

“This poor man cried and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.” Psalm 34:6.

“And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19.

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”  Matthew 7:11.


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