The Great Power of Prayer (James 5:16–18) - Radical

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The Great Power of Prayer (James 5:16–18)

“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months, it did not rain on the Earth. Then he prayed again and heaven gave rain and the Earth bore its fruit.”
– James 5:16–18

Do you believe this? Do you believe James 5:16–18, that the prayer of a righteous person has great power, as it is working? Like I hope that even by listening to this podcast, you have some kind of confidence and conviction about the power and the work of prayer, but I just want to encourage you in a fresh way today, based on James 5:16-18, prayer works. Prayer has great power, as it is working and what a privilege this is, isn’t it?

That you and I get to come before God, even what we’re about to do right now, and that we can do this anytime, anywhere, that we can come before God, ask him for things, and he answers? Yet I know there’s faith struggle even when I say that because we’ve all asked for things that God has not given, which can cause us to begin to doubt that prayer has great power as it is working. This is why we remember to pray according to God’s word, why praying the word, even the whole idea behind this podcast, is so important. Because Jesus has told us, when we ask for things according to his word, according to his promises, according to what he has said, that we can know we have those things we don’t know that we have based on God’s word.

James 5:16–18 Prays for God’s Help

I can think of a variety of things I’m asking for in my life right now that I don’t have a verse that I could go to in the Bible that promises it will work out in this way or that way. But I do have multitudes of verses, all over the Bible, that give me promises that I can pray according to in the middle of these circumstances that show me truths about who God is, that I can pray according to in the middle of these things. And so to pray according to what we know from God’s word and to trust that he will work according to his word with great power, through our praying.

So let’s ask God together for faith in James 5:16–18. God, help us to believe that our prayers, not offered based on our works or even our righteousness, but based on the righteousness of Jesus and the standing he has made possible before you. Based on abiding in him and his righteousness in our lives. God, we come before you with all kinds of requests, and we pray that you would tether our requests, our prayers to your word.

Help us to pray according to your word and as we do, to believe, to trust that our prayers before you have great power and are working. That Elijah was just like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain based on your word that it might not rain and for three years and six months it didn’t rain. And then you said you were going to bring the rain and Elijah prayed and he persisted in praying at the end of 1 Kings 18 and the heaven gave reign in response to his prayers.

James 5:16–18 Leads Us to Pray for Theological Training for Afghans

Oh God, for the privilege you’ve given us, of participating with you in what you’re doing in the world, even as we’re praying for Afghanistan during this month. Pray today specifically for theological training for Afghan Christians, for good, solid, biblical, accessible training in your word. God, we ask for that, knowing you want that for our brothers and sisters in Christ there. God, knowing and believing that you desire your church to be built up, for your truth to be made known in Afghanistan.

So we ask for it together, we ask for it and we believe that as we pray for this, our prayers have great power as they are working. God, help us to pray like this. Keep us, we pray. Keep us, oh God, from getting into a routine of just saying words and wondering if they really matter. God, help us to believe when we pray that you hear us and when we ask for things according to your word that you will give it, and we are participating with you in what you’re doing in our lives, in others’ lives around us, and ultimately, in lives around the world, that we have an opportunity right now oh God to be involved in what you’re doing in Afghanistan.

This Leads Us to Ask God to Hear Our Prayers

So help us to take full advantage of this privilege. Hear our prayers for theological, biblical, solid training for Afghan Christians and answer them, we pray, and for all sorts of other things that we might pray throughout today and tomorrow and the next day and the next day. Help us to walk with you in prayer, believing that the prayers of a righteous person have great power as they are working. In Jesus’ name, we pray, in the name of the one who makes all this possible. In Jesus’ name, amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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