R. A. Torrey related this story: "Up in a little town in Maine, things were pretty dead some years ago. The churches were not accomplishing anything. There were a few godly men in the churches, and they said, 'Here we are, only uneducated laymen, but something must be done. Let's form a praying band. We will all center our prayers on one man. Who shall it be?' They picked out one of the hardest men in town, a hopeless alcoholic, and centered all their prayers on him. In a week, he was converted. Then, they took up another, and another, until within a year, two or three hundred were brought to God, and the fire spread out into all the surrounding country."
In James 5:16, we read, "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." The word "effective" here comes from a Greek root word that means "a fixed position," suggesting an unmovable, unshakeable mindset. "Fervency" speaks of boldness built on solid evidence, absolute proof that supports your petition. Together, these two words – "effective" and "fervent"--mean coming into God's court fully convinced that you have a well-prepared case. Charles Finney said, "Effective prayer is prayer that attains what it seeks. It is prayer that moves God, effecting its end."
David declared, "In the morning, I will direct my prayer to You, and I will look up" (Psalm 5:3). The idea is that he is one with a bow and arrow, taking aim, directing his prayer to God, and then looking up to see where it goes, and watching also to see what answer is coming down in response to his prayer.
Paul exhorted us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, to "pray without ceasing," meaning "unceasing in the sense of 'ever-recurring'." George Mueller was greatly used of God in the 19th century, known for his total dependence on God, in prayer, to supply the daily needs for thousands of orphans. He began to pray for five friends. After five years, one was saved. In ten years, two more were converted. Mr. Mueller prayed on for twenty-five years, and the fourth man got saved. The fifth man, Mr. Mueller never stopped praying for. A few months after Mueller died, this fifth man came to Christ! His prevailing, fervent prayer was rewarded.
"Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge to Satan" (John Bunyan).
Dave Arnold, Pastor, Gulf Coast Worship Center, New Port Richey, Florida, 34654