Daily D – James 5:16
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 (NLT)
If you want to get an AMEN from your Christian friends on Facebook, post these words: “I believe in the power of prayer!” Be sure to use the exclamation mark. Guaranteed Likes and comments will be yours.
You could even jazz it up a bit and say something like, “Let’s see who has the courage to copy this and post it: ‘I believe in the power of prayer!!’” Note the extra exclamation point. This makes it even stronger. You could go as far as three exclamation points, but four is gauche.
If I spent much time on Facebook, I might run an experiment of good theology. I would write, “I do not believe in the power of prayer!” This would anger a lot of people. Some would call me the L Word (Liberal). Others would call me the H Word (Heretic). Some would smile and say, “I see what you did there.”
Do you see it?
Since I do not plan to write any such thing on Facebook or Twitter, and since I will not perform a sad dance routine on Tik Tok with this message, let me explain what I mean in my remaining words in this space.
Prayer is not powerful. God is powerful. He answers prayer in powerful ways. However, prayer by itself is not powerful. For example, a well-known modern mystic appeared on the most-watched daytime television show around twenty years ago and talked about the power of prayer.
The host of the show asked good questions about what her guest believed and practiced. The host even seemed to agree with her guest. The guest basically believes that God is in all of us. In fact, she pretty much believes she is god. (I will not offer her a capital letter.)
Before the commercial break at the end of the guest’s appearance, the host asked her to pray. She prayed. She prayed for several minutes. She said lots of pretty words, almost poetic in nature. She concluded with a soft and simple Amen. Thankfully, she did not say, “In Jesus’ name.”
I couldn’t help but wonder, who was she talking to? Since she believes she is god, was she not talking to herself? Since our Father in heaven expects relationship, was she not simply speaking pretty words into the air? I could go on. However, let’s change the subject.
Listen to The Message paraphrase of this verse:
Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.
Prayer practiced wisely and well is powerful. The power is not in bowing your head and speaking words. The power is in the relationship between you and your Father in heaven. The power is in living a life aligned with God’s truth and attuned to God’s heart. Right living produces right praying which is powerful and effective.
Ordinary people like you and me are capable of powerful prayers because we depend on God alone for answers according to his will and ways, and because we seek to honor God and serve others with what we pray.
I believe in the power of prayer of righteous people who know and experience God and help others do the same. That is worth posting. More importantly, it is worth practicing.
I will honor God and serve others through prayer.
Our Father, please forgive us for mistaking tools for truth. Prayer power is about knowing and experiencing you, not about prayerful posture, pretty words, and repetitious recitation. Teach us to pray so attuned to your heart that we know what is needed in the moment and what you desire in the situation. Teach us to pray so aligned with your truth and grace that we do not seek to impress or please anyone for any reason. Empower us to live the kinds of lives you can bless and to pray the kinds of prayers to which you say Yes. Amen.
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John 9:8, 9 His neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar said, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit begging?” Some said, “He’s the one.” Others were saying, “No, but he looks like him.” He kept saying, “I’m the one.” (CSB)
Luke 6:43-45 “A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit; on the other hand, a bad tree doesn’t produce good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs aren’t gathered from thornbushes, or grapes picked from a bramble bush. A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” (CSB)
John 8:31, 32 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (CSB)