should I pray?
Dr. Herbert Samworth
an excellent question. There are times when it appears that our
prayers are not heard, or we are too discouraged to pray, or we
think that our prayers really don't make any difference. After all,
we reason that God is sovereign and His plan is unchangeable, so
what difference does it make whether we pray or not?
reasoning is an example of drawing wrong conclusions from correct
assumptions. It is a fact that God is sovereign, He is working out
His plan, and that all will come to the end that God has ordained.
these truths give us all the more reason to pray than not pray.
Why is this so? It is because God has ordained prayer as one of
the means by which His perfect will is accomplished.
a remarkable verse found in James 5:16 concerning the importance
and efficacy of true prayer. The verse is located between the admonition
to pray for the sick and the example of Elijah as a model of persevering
prayer. At the end of James 5:16 we read these words, "The
effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much"
(KJV). In these ten words, there is much to be learned. These words
can be translated differently to emphasize the key thought of the
verse, "The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in
is important to understand what James means by prayer in this context.
It is the word that is used exclusively for petition or
request. The emphasis lies on the need of the person to
receive God's blessing.
we have the promise of God that prayer is effective. James states
without equivocation that it avails much. James does not
define exactly the meaning of this word but in the context, it has
application to God's perfect will. The goal of the Christian should
be to glorify God and God is glorified when His will is accomplished.
The application of what God's will is for the individual person
may vary, but true prayer advances God's glory and brings great
blessing to man.
is powerful. There is something dynamic in prayer. No prayer ever
falls to the ground without accomplishing something. The reason
for this is that God is all-powerful. Frequently, the effect of
prayer is felt in the person praying as much as in the meeting of
the request itself.
prayer should serve as a wake-up call to us. Note that James states
that it is the prayer of a righteous person that avails much in
its working. This should cause us to reflect on our relationship
to the Lord. We need to be Christians who are walking in fellowship
with Him. In addition, it is fervent prayer that produces much.
Often we find that our prayers are heartless and without passion.
True prayer occurs when we are convinced that it is only God Who
can supply us with what we need.
So why do
we need to pray? It is our response to God's gracious invitation
to partner with Him to carry out His great purposes. Note what Paul
writes in 2 Corinthians 6:1, "We are workers together with
Him." God calls us into partnership in doing His will. One
manner by which we can enter that partnership is through prayer.