April 21, 2024

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POWER OF THE FERVENT PRAYER OF A RIGHTEOUS PERSON

IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.

TOPIC: POWER OF THE EFFECTUAL FERVENT PRAYER OF A RIGHTEOUS PERSON

SERMON BY-:
Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM

“So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.”
1Kings 18:41

The term fervent prayer comes from James 5:16 in the King James Version: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

The English word fervent simply means “impassioned, forceful, passionate, heartfelt, powerful, or wholehearted.” The verse, as translated in the King James Version, seems to indicate that a passionate, wholehearted prayer will accomplish much, implying that a half-hearted prayer will not be as effective.

“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (ESV); “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (NIV); “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (NASB). These translations simply say that prayer is powerful, without differentiating between “fervent” prayer and some other kind.

This expanded paraphrase may illustrate the difference: “The forceful, earnest, heartfelt prayer of a righteous man will accomplish much” vs. “The prayer of a righteous man will yield forceful, powerful results.”

On Mt. Carmel, Elijah made a pronouncement that it would rain and then prayed that it would. He prayed for rain seven times. After each prayer, he sent his servant to see if the sky looked like rain. When it did not, he would pray again. Finally, after the seventh time, a small cloud was visible, which Elijah interpreted to be the answer to his prayer—and it was. He had prayed bent down to the ground with his face between his knees. This could be interpreted as an expression of earnest supplication.

Having interpreted what is effectual fervent prayer let’s now look at the issue of righteousness, some people will tell you that the bible declared that no one is righteous except God, then why are now claiming to be righteous?

WHO IS A RIGHTEOUS PERSON?

“What does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’ Now to him who works, wages are not given as a gift, but as a debt. But to him who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Romans 4:3-5

How was Abraham righteous in God’s eyes? Was it by his own works and devotion to God? Or was righteousness graciously credited to him by faith?

Many look at Old Testament saints like Abraham and draw the conclusion that they lived a righteous and holy life and, therefore, God loved and accepted them as His own. Yet, when we look at the life of Abraham, the Scriptures reveal flaws and mistrust.

He more than once called his wife Sarah his sister out of fear that he would be killed so that another might take her. He listened to Sarah when she gave him Hagar as a concubine to bear children rather than trust fully that God would do as he promised. Though Abraham was certainly a man of faith who sought to walk in the ways of the LORD, he was not perfect and without sin.

So, how was Abraham righteous before God? St. Paul quotes from Genesis 15:6: “Abram believed the LORD, and He credited it to him as righteousness.”

The apostle Paul explains further: “Now to him who works, wages are not given as a gift, but as a debt. But to him who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Rom. 4:4-5).

If Abraham were righteous by his own works, righteousness would not have been credited or imputed to him; it would have been earned by him and his own by right. But the Scriptures say that Abraham believed God’s promises and that righteousness was credited to him by God.

Notice, too, that David, in Psalm 32, speaks of the blessedness of the one who confesses his sins and receives in faith God’s mercy and forgiveness (Rom. 4:6-8). David, as well, speaks of God’s forgiveness and the imputation of righteousness as God’s gracious gift received through faith and not earned by our own works.

How then are we righteous and acceptable in God’s eyes? By our own works? Or, by faith?

Though many assume the way to be righteous before God is by our works and our obedience to God’s commandments, the Bible teaches us that we have all come short and that even our best righteousnesses are like defiled, unclean rags in God’s eyes (cf. Rom. 3:9ff.; Isa. 64:6).

The only way for sinners like you and me to be righteous before God is through faith in Christ Jesus. When we believe the Word of God which tells us that Christ fulfilled all righteousness for us and then was sacrificed for us to make full atonement for all our sins, God credits it to us for righteousness. He forgives all our sins for the sake of Jesus’ blood, shed upon the cross, and He imputes and credits to us the perfect righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ (cf. Rom. 3:21-28; 1 John 1:7 — 2:2).

It is as the Bible says: “But to him who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness” (v. 5); “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law” (Rom. 3:28; cf. Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 3:6ff.; 3:26-29; Phil. 3:8-9).

Having seen the meaning of an effectual fervent prayer and who is a righteous person let’s see the power behind such combinations….when a righteous person offers an effectual fervent prayer!

Fervency in prayer is like the tension a string puts on a bow, it transfers its energy to the arrow to make it fly straight and true. An effective prayer is one that is successful in producing a desired or intended result.

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.
“Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.”
James 5:17-18

Now, notice what James is saying. This is a promise that prayer is effectual. God answers the fervent prayer of a righteous man. When we ask in faith when the prayer comes from a heart of faith, God answers. That’s the same promise Jesus made in Matthew 21:22: “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Mark 11:24: James 5:16-18

“Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” First John5:14-15: “this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.”

Now, notice what all those verses are saying. Those aren’t promises that you can manipulate God with your praying. The apostle John says, “If we ask any thing according to his will,he hears us.” True faith is confidence in the power and the promises of God.

After all, he says, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours.” Elijah wasn’t supernatural. He was a spiritual hero, but not some kind of superhero. He was a fallen human being, just like you and me, subject to the same passions and fears and fits of depression.Scripture records his failures as well as his triumphs.
But he was a righteous man, despite his sin, because he was justified by faith. He trusted God, and therefore righteousness was imputed to him. That’s what James means when he speaks of “a righteousperson” in verse 16. He’s talking about believers, those who are clothed in the perfect righteousness of Christ.

But “the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
Here’s what James is saying: your prayer life ought to be the most exciting and exhilarating aspect of your spiritual life. If you’re not seeing answers to your prayers, it’s not because there’s something wrong with God.The problem is with your own prayer life. “You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” Learn to pray passionately, persistently, according to the will of God, and the Word of God guarantees that your prayers will avail much.

SHALOM!

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