We hear about amazing answers to prayer in history and in our lifetime. These answers to prayer encourage us to pray with new resolve. But when we ourselves pray, nothing happens. It seems God is silent. Over time, we grow cynical about prayer until we are reminded again of a great answer to prayer, which fuels our prayers once again. And the cycle continues.
Though answers to prayer are a great encouragement to pray, God has given us a “more sure” source of motivation for prayer—His Word (2 Pet 1:19). We must read and believe again what we see in James 5:16b: “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
The key to this verse is to understand who a “righteous person” is, since this person’s prayers are “powerful and effective.”
In this passage, a “righteous person” is not a subjectively righteous person but an objectively righteous person. In other words, the “righteous person” is the one who has their sins forgiven and is clothed with the righteousness of Christ. The “righteous person,” in short, is a Christian.
What this passage means, then, is that powerful and effective prayer is not reserved for the “super-saints” or “prayer warriors.” Powerful and effective prayer is for the ordinary Christian. Your prayers, dear believer, are “powerful and effective.” If we could truly believe this truth, it would motivate our prayer life . . . a ton.