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"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16).

Effective, fervent and passionate prayer was Elijah's method. It had to be! Elijah was aware, that apart from the miraculous in an unforgiving and skeptical world, his ministry was finished. But God rewarded his fervency.

What is effectual and fervent? To effect means literally to "bring to pass" or "to accomplish." To be effectual means "to have the ability to produce or accomplish something."

The word "fervent" is related to the word "fever" and means "to glow, boil or rage." The idea is one of great activity, like boiling water in a pot, restless and hot.

To be fervent is "to demonstrate great strength of passion and intensity, a boiling inside." To be fervent and effectual means that a person is intense in their prayers, raging inside with passion so that they may effect, through God, a desired or needed outcome.

This is the type of prayer that shakes demonic strongholds; that demolishes principalities and powers; that delivers from darkness and moves heaven and earth.

This is the kind of prayer Elijah lifted up to the Lord during his ministry. One of the most comforting truths about serving God is the fact that God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

People like you and me and the guy sitting next to you in the pew have all the potential of God vested within our hearts. Anyone has the ability to believe God for great things and see Him perform the miraculous. Elijah was such a man.

"Elijah was a man just like us..." (James 5:17). James writes that Elijah was a normal person, with normal problems. He had no greater advantage, as he grew in the Lord than anyone of us today, yet God used him mightily.

He was human, and struggled with all the issues with which humans must deal: sickness, fear, temptation, etc. He was not a perfect man. Yet, God enabled him to become one of the greatest figures in the Bible.

How? I believe that Elijah's strength centered on his devotion to God through prayer. And our success or failure in ministry can be directly related to the quality of our prayer life.

Prayer encompasses every aspect of the Christian life because it is our vital link with the Father. In his book "The Power and the Blessing," Jack Hayford puts it this way:
"Whatever else may be said about either living as a disciple of Jesus Christ or walking with Him by faith, in love, through trial and in power, prayer is the one discipline above and beneath all others....

The Bible's call to prayer is not a call to the mystical or to the theoretical. The pathway to prayer is preeminently learnable, not intended to be mysterious, and always intended to be practical."
"He prayed earnestly..." (James 5:17). Elijah didn't pray a half-hearted petition to God with a vague, "if it be your will, O Lord," attached to the end.

No! He prayed with fervency, earnestly and with passion. He knew that those effects which are the greatest and most significant, require the most extreme and dedicated prayers of faith.

Elijah was intense as he cried out to God, and God responded accordingly, bringing far-reaching repercussions not only to Elijah personally, but all of Israel.

For Elijah, a greater sense of confidence in his ability to move God's heart was born which would serve him later at Mt. Carmel against the Baal prophets.

For Israel, they saw the power of God demonstrated and were reminded that He is Lord of heaven and earth.

God is looking not only for people who will change the world, but who will, in the process, become changed themselves. His interest is in what He is producing rather than the means by which something is produced.

So, how can we tell whether or not our prayer is earnest? If we are being changed ourselves.

Many times I have often been in deep prayer seeking the face of God. It is in these times that the Holy Spirit will often begin to do a deep work within me. I have not intentionally begun my prayer times with myself as the focus, but the Lord has changed me during these prayer times.

It is like the prophet Isaiah who begins to have a vision of God. He realizes that he needs to change himself and then God will bring a change to the people he is ministering to. Again if our prayer is earnest and fervent, we will be changed by it ourselves.

Source: Pacesetters: Setting the Standard by Benny Perez
Excerpt permission granted by WinePress Publishing

Author Biography

Benny Perez
Web site: Benny Perez Ministries
 
Pastor Benny Perez has an incredible passion for Jesus and it is in that passion that he has been called one of the leading voices to this generation. His ministry has been marked by unique ways of ministering, and God has used him as a means to bring revival and genuine transformation in the hearts and lives of countless thousands. Pastor Benny could be defined in part as being real, relevant and very responsive to the needs of people.
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