Last week, we discussed the importance of righteousness in our lives in order to pray power-filled prayers. Now, let’s examine fervency and effectiveness in our prayers.
In addition to being birthed out of a righteous heart, Scripture says our prayers must be fervent in order to accomplish much. What does that look like? What does it mean? Well, I believe the most fervent prayers are faith-filled prayers. When we pray for revival, we must have faith to believe it can actually happen.
I know many people who want to see revival come. In fact, one night while I was praying to God, I myself said, “God, I really want revival.” Does anyone want to guess what I believe He said to me? I sensed He was telling me, “That’s not enough.” I wondered what He meant at first, but He went on: “This is not a question of your wanting revival; it’s a question of what you are willing to do to attain it.” That struck me. Anyone can want something—it doesn’t take faith to want something. It does take faith to pursue it! I can want to win first place in the 400-meter dash in track, but if I don’t run the race, I’ll never get what I want. We’ve got to move out of our want-to mode into our will-do mode. We must not just hope, wish, or dream about revival, as if it were something unattainable. If we really want it, we must run after God!
So often, we pray for revival to come but don’t really expect it. We don’t have active faith to back up our prayers. The prayer without faith is basically wishful thinking. God can and does make wishes come true, but He is activated by faith (see Mk. 5:3). James 5:15 says, “And the prayer of faith will save the sick.” I challenge everyone: When we pray for revival, let’s not say, “If it comes”; let’s boldly declare, “When it comes”!
Now, one more component must be addressed in our effort to make our prayers accomplish much. James says that, in addition to being fervent prayers of righteous men, our prayers must be effective. So, what makes our prayers effective? I believe one key thing allows them to be effective: They must be in God’s will.
We can be the most righteous people on earth, praying with all great faith, but if we are not praying God’s will, we will not accomplish much. Our prayers are futile if what we’re praying for is not in God’s good and perfect will. Even Jesus, the most righteous Man of faith on earth, needed to keep in tune with the will of God. In Matthew 6:10, He teaches us to pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” In the garden of Gethsemane, He prayed, “Saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done’” (Luke 22:42). We must remain in God’s will when we pray for revival!
When our prayers are effective, fervent, and righteous, they are a lethal weapon against the evil forces of the enemy! However, with one component missing, the prayers begin to lose that effectiveness. If we pray in faith but against the will of God, we’ll either get no result or a crisis. What if we prayed with all faith for a mountain to move into the sea? If God were to allow this to happen outside His will (assuming that He could allow something to happen outside His will, which is a whole other debate!), there would be great disaster both for those living in the mountains and those living by the sea! We can think of the Israelites when they desperately asked God to give them a King. God answered their prayer; however, this answered prayer only led to disaster because God gave them what they wanted, not what He wanted.
On the other hand, if we pray with no faith but according to God’s will, we’ll either get no result or be very surprised. When Jesus told the disciples to cast their nets to the other side of the boat to catch more fish, they didn’t have faith it would happen. Yet, it did—so much that their nets broke. Because they weren’t prepared for what God said He would do, they were overwhelmed.
Remember Elijah? He prayed for rain out of a righteous heart, full of faith that it would happen, and according to the will of God. So, let’s do likewise! Let’s pray righteous prayers (out of a pure heart), fervent prayers (out of faith), and effective prayers (in God’s will). If we do this, I believe we will never be the same! We will see change. We will see a miracle. We will see a revival of God’s Presence with us!
What is one way to increase the level of faith in your prayers? A key ingredient that causes faith to grow is the power of the testimony. By sharing testimonies from how God has worked in your life and by asking others to share their testimonies with you, I can guarantee that you will be encouraged and your faith will increase. Whenever I am lacking the faith I need to pray for something, I know that I only need to recall the testimonies of how God has divinely worked in the past in order to inspire me to pray concerning the future! Never underestimate the power of the testimony.
What is one way to increase your accuracy in praying according to God’s will? Prayerfully examine the motives behind the prayers you pray. Are you praying for what you want or for what God wants? Hopefully, what you want is the same thing as what God wants. But I know that for me personally, that is not always the case. How do you discern the difference between your agenda and God’s agenda? A key way to discern the difference is to check everything with Scripture to see if it lines up with God’s Word. In addition, seek confirmation from spiritual leaders in your life, and pray for peace to rest in your heart as a sign that you’re on the right track.