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Pastoral 2014

What is ‘Effectual Fervent Prayer’?

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In James 5:16, we read, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” The words “effectual fervent” are translated from one Greek word (energoumenē) from which we get the English word “energy”. Here it denotes an energetic, operative prayer.

As God’s children, we must not be contented with weak prayers. We must desire to have an enthusiastic, effective prayer life. The church, being known as “the house of prayer”, must be exuding with effective prayer of God’s saints. We may be short on financial resources, or weak in our physical strength, or despised and ridiculed by those who are hostile toward the biblical doctrines that we hold on to, but the power of prayer belongs to us.

The key to effective prayers is not that very large group of people get together to pray or that a particular pattern or style of prayer meeting is followed, or that we hold very lengthy prayer meetings. Though some of those aspects of prayer are good and desirable, the effectiveness of our prayer is connected to the sanctity of our lives.

According to James 5:16, the energetic, effective prayer comes from “a righteous man”. In the context of our verse, the righteous man is the one who confesses his sins to the one whom he has offended in order that they may be reconciled and pray together. He is a man who seeks to live a life of purity, peace and prayer. It is to such who are dedicated to living a holy, amicable and prayerful life that effectual prayer belongs.

Weak, ineffectual prayers proceed from spiritually and morally weak people. As Christians, we must seek to possess a life of effective prayers. If we would pursue holiness, fellowship and joint-prayers with God’s people, we will soon be heirs of a powerful life of prayer. If we were to be blessed with a powerful prayer life, we must cease from all sins and offences, and live a devout and dedicated life of Christian fellowship.

The success of prayer is intimately connected with our Christian character. The prayer of the righteous is sincere; it does not proceed from insincere lips nor a hypocritical heart. The Lord is pleased to hear those who obey His Word sincerely and hence, He will answer their prayers.

Proverbs 15:8 tells us that “the prayer of the upright is his delight”. Proverbs 15:29 says, “The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.” Psalm 34:15-17 reminds us that “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles”. Likewise, Jesus said in John 9:31, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.”

Hence, prayer is more than a mere good spiritual discipline; it moves the Hand of the Almighty to bless the praying man with His most wonderful providence. Let us therefore pursue a life of purity, peace and prayer, and be blessed with a life of effectual fervent prayer that availeth much.

 

My Short Stint at the Church Resource Centre
Zacharias Tan

After finishing my National Service, I had a 6-month break before I start my university studies. I tried to look for a job but to no avail. Disappointed and bored, I spent most of my time playing computer games and going out with friends. My mother could not bear to see me waste my time; so she approached Pastor Koshy to encourage me to help out at the Church Resource Centre in any area that is needful. Pastor then contacted me and I agreed without much hesitation, as I felt I should not waste any more time.

Under the instruction of Dn Lok, I helped to “archive” the Bible Witness magazines by packing, labelling and placing them in assigned bookshelves. This was no mean task as it took altogether two weeks to complete. I was also given the task of getting the Bible Witness Retreat files ready. Needless to say, I took the opportunity to attend the retreat.

During the retreat, Pastor preached on the topic: “I Have Somewhat Against Thee”, taken from Revelation 2:1- 7. I realized that eventually everyone must stand before Christ to give an account of what he has done in his life. I understood that Christ my Saviour will not be happy if I while away my time by just playing or getting involved in worldly things. I resolved in my heart to be more active in our church activities and fellowship meetings, and to render my help in the church as the Lord gives me opportunity and ability. Serving the Lord is the best way to spend my time and avoid worldly stuff and temptations that are not beneficial to my spiritual life.

Subsequently, Pastor asked if I could try transcribing some of his preached messages, which would help him in publishing them as articles and Bible-study notes. To begin with, I transcribed Pastor’s closing prayers at the end of each of his “Daily Devotions” through our church website. In the process, I became curious as to how Pastor produced the daily devotions. Pastor explained that he would write the article a few days in advance, then wake up every morning around 5 a.m. to record the devotion. He would then send the sound clip to Bro Eric who would upload it to the church website promptly. This would ensure that hearers can either read or listen in to the devotions daily. After knowing all the hard work that had gone into producing these devotions, I felt pricked in my conscience and decided to make an effort myself to read the devotions every day.

As my transcribing skills “improved”, I took on the challenge to transcribe Pastor’s Tuesday night prayer meeting devotions on “Mary’s Magnificat” (Luke 1:38- 52). I would get the recording from Bro Arnold and then transcribe “from scratch”. Although it was tedious work, I felt privileged because I could understand the content more clearly as I typed. It reminded me afresh of things that I have learned in the prayer meetings, especially the great importance of seeking and doing God’s will, as well as keeping ourselves humble before God.

I praise God for helping me to complete transcribing the series of messages on “Mary’s Magnificat”. I am also thankful that I could help out in several other areas, such as folding church bulletins and prayer lists, packing Gospel tracts for evangelism, collating and binding the church directories, etc.

Above all, I praise God for the fellowship I had with Pastor, preachers and the church staff. During this period, the Lord has drawn me to a closer walk with Him. However, the battle with sin has not ended and I continue to pray that the Lord will protect me from sin and its temptations, until he calls me home.