“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:16b-18, NKJV).
Elijah wasn't a perfect man. He was human like us. But when Elijah prayed, he saw miracles. James 5:16 declares that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. A righteous man prays believing in the outcome. He is a man who has put his faith in the grace of God and knows he has been forgiven of his sins. And it is the righteousness within him that makes his prayers powerful and effective.
Do you believe in your heart that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21)? The Pharisees believed they were righteous based on their ability to keep the law. But their hearts were not right with God.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites,” Jesus said! “You are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27, NKJV)!
You have what the Pharisees didn’t have. You have what Elijah didn't even have. You have the righteousness of God in Christ that you didn’t have to earn. Jesus earned it for you. You are righteous because Jesus gave you His. When you believe that only in Christ you are righteous, you live a life totally dependent on Him. You know you can’t earn holiness. Christ has made you righteous—not you. And you don’t have to prove to God that you are righteous. Jesus proved Himself for you on Calvary. God sees the righteousness of His Son in you.
Prayer is a spiritual relationship with God where you commune with each other. Prayer is also a way to ask God for things in our life. We can pray for specific outcomes. We don’t have to be “good enough” to pray powerfully. If God answered Elijah’s prayer who lived at a time when New Covenant grace had not finished its work, then God can also answer our prayers. Paul and Peter knew the righteousness of Christ in their hearts. They were not perfect. We, just like Paul and Peter, have weaknesses. But in their human weakness, Christ was strong. The prayers Paul and Peter prayed healed the sick and cast out demons. Paul and Peter didn’t heal the sick. It was the righteousness of God within them. Your good living—your holiness—won’t bring results to any fervent prayer. But the righteousness of Jesus Christ within you will bring forth miracles.
“Therefore I say to you,” Jesus said, “whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24, NKJV).
Pray specifically in faith. Pray from your assurance of your right-standing with God. That right-standing you have with God is the righteousness Christ has given you. Believe you will receive what you ask for.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4, NKJV).
You don’t have to be perfect to pray. It is the Holy Spirit who prays from within you (Romans 8:26). It is the righteousness of God within you—not your human lack of righteousness—that communes with God. When your spirit communes with God’s Spirit, your prayers are powerful and effective. They tear down strongholds that hold back God’s power in your life.
We have shortcomings, but we, too, can pray, believe, and see miracles. The prayer of a man who knows His righteousness is only in Christ is powerful and effective.
© 2022 Lynn Lacher