Day 17: Praying Effective Prayers

17 May 2020

2.9 MINS

When we confess the sin in our lives to God, our prayers have great power and wonderful results.


“If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.”Psalm 66:18–20

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”James 5:16

Many prayers have been prayed over the last year for our great nation of Australia. Prayers have been offered for drought, fires, and now for the coronavirus pandemic. But are these prayers being heard?

There is evidence they are. Rain has come. Fires have been put out. Fewer lives have been lost to the virus than anticipated, and restrictions are slowly being lifted. So we assume that God has answered prayers. But could we have been more effective?

I read one commentary on James 5:16 where the writer said that the majority of our prayers are not effectual. We have to look a little closer to see this.

James 5:16 says, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” James continues encouraging his readers to express their dependence upon God—this is done by participating in prayer.

In previous verses he has asked his readers to respond to trouble by praying to God; to respond to cheerfulness by singing songs of praise; and respond to illness or spiritual weakness by calling the elders of the church to pray for them.

So, according to James, what seems to be the hindrance to effectual prayer with great power and wonderful results? Is it not sin?

No matter where we look, this is a theme running through Scripture. We see it in James 5; we see it in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 5; and we also see it in Psalm 66:18“If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”

In James chapter 5, he is talking about the prayer of a righteous person having great power and producing wonderful results. What does it mean to be a righteous person? Essentially it means to be right with God. Some of the characteristics of a righteous person include being ‘set apart’, ‘sanctified’, ‘to have a right attitude’, and ‘to do what is pleasing to God’.

I am sure this is what we want when we pray: prayers that have great power and see great results. So let us all search our hearts before God so that we may be more effective in our praying.

We must also remind ourselves of verse 19 in Psalm 66“But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer.” And in the final verse of Psalm 66—verse 20—it says “Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw His unfailing love from me.”

Thank God He hears and answers prayer, and that He wants us to be more effective by dealing with our sin and coming before Him with clean hands and a pure heart.

Lord you are holy, holy, holy, and I stand in awe of you. Your great power, holiness and love are beyond my comprehension. Thank You for being mindful of me. Enable me by the power of the Holy Spirit to live a righteous life, for in my praying, I want to have great power and see wonderful results. Set me apart to see Your kingdom come and Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

31 Days Prayer Points
1. Pray for five people and share the Good News of Jesus with them.
2. Pray that God would use His people to reach one billion people this May.
3. Pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic, both in Australia and globally.

James Condon is a Commissioner with the Salvation Army, and the Chairman of the National Day of Prayer and Fasting.

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