The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16b).
Tools! What a frustration it is to have a job to do and not to have the right tool to do it. The lack of a special screwdriver or socket wrench may mean the difference between a finished job and a failure.
But having the right tool is only part of the equation. There is also the factor of knowing how to use it. The most sophisticated and productive tool is useless in the hands of an unskilled worker. Training and experience are necessary. Still, there is another thought to consider. Tools are useless unless they are used. A tool cannot build anything by itself. A craftsman is required.
These analogies apply in the spiritual realm as well. Prayer is a tool; a tool that can bring down the house of Satan, build the life of a saint, and send workers into the harvest. As a tool, prayer is easily accessible in the toolbox of every Christian. We are invited to come boldly unto the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). It is a tool we all have, but is it a tool in which we have been properly instructed to use?
James said that, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Constantly abiding in Christ provides the necessary training for using the tool of prayer. “Effectual” is used to describe the prayer of a Christian who has spent the necessary time at the feet of Jesus to learn how to pray and what to pray for.
Just like any tool, prayer must be used to be effective. “Fervent” is the adjective modifying a prayer that “availeth much.” Therefore, a want ad for a prayer warrior might read, “Must be willing to work.” Discerning needs, seeking God’s face, and interceding for sinners are aspects of prayer that require effort, determination and perseverance.
The missionaries that our church supports need, more than anything else, the effectual, fervent prayers of righteous men and women. Christians are needed to train in the use of the most powerful tool in the world — a tool that can unlock the windows of heaven.
The oft-repeated request of the apostle Paul to the churches he corresponded with was, “Brethren, pray for us” (I Thessalonians 5:25). Please pick up the tool of prayer and put it to use. Individual Christians can make a mighty impact on the work of missions around the world by doing one thing — PRAYING! Brethren, let us pray!