On Fire for God (James 5:16)
James 5:16, Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much..
In 1935, Blasio Kugosi, a schoolteacher in Rwanda, Central Africa, was deeply discouraged by the lack of zeal in the church and the ineffectiveness of his own life. He followed the example of the first Christians by seeking the Lord's power in his life. He closed himself in seclusion for a week of prayer and fasting in his little bungalow. Revival gripped his heart, mind, and soul. He emerged a changed man. The bungalow became a furnace for God which set him on fire spiritual. He confessed his sins to those he had wronged, including his wife and children. He proclaimed the Gospel in the school where he taught, and revival broke out there, resulting in students and teachers being saved. They were called abaka, meaning "people on fire." Shortly after that, Blasio was invited to Uganda to share with other Christians what God had been doing. As he called the leaders to repentance, the fire of the Holy Spirit breathed again on the place, with similar results as in Rwanda. Several days later, Blasio died of fever. His ministry lasted only a few weeks, but the revival fires sparked through his ministry swept throughout East Africa and continue to the present. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been transformed over the decades through this mighty East African revival. It all began with a discouraged Christian setting himself apart to seek the Lord and the fullness of God's Spirit in his life.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. “Effectual fervent” has the sense of being ‘energized.’ What James is driving at is that effective prayer is fervent and from the heart. When a man will pour out his heart in prayer, God tends to hear the same. James then refers to a “righteous man.” He, no doubt, intends one righteous in his position in Christ; being justified. But he also likely refers to one righteous in his living, who is pleasing to God. When a Christian, one righteous not only in his position but also in his person, comes to God in fervent energized prayer, that prayer will avail much. The word availeth literally means to be ‘strong.’ In other words, prayer that is so strong, it accomplishes what was intended. “I’d rather be able to pray than be a great preacher; Jesus Christ never taught His disciples how to preach, but only how to pray.”--D. L. Moody
Prayer is hard work and takes energy. God desires that we seek Him out. Nothing will impact your life more than seeking the LORD and the sweet fellowship we have with Him. Those who seek the Lord will achieve understanding and clarity. God gives wisdom. Deuteronomy 4:29, But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. They will also find Him. Proverbs 8:17, I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. The word "find" means "to discover, understand, to recognize, to gain knowledge." He wants us to find Him and know Him. “There is more that you can do after you pray, but there is nothing you can do until you pray.”--Dr. Curtis Hutson
Seeking the Lord is the greatest of all searches. There is no doubt that God wants every Christian to seek Him and to be right with Him. When we confess our sins to Him He will hear us and cleanse us every time (I John 1:9). When it comes to our physical burdens God may lift them, lighten them or leave them. In each case, He will supply us with His grace and help us to move forward with our life. We need to trust God and realize that He knows what is best for our life. We need to pray with an urgent desire and not be apathetic in our approach. God wants us to come to him with passion (Hebrews 4:16). May we be bold in our praying. God encourages us to pray and lets us know that He wants to answer and do great things in our life (Jeremiah 33:3). God not only can answer our prayers but do far more than we expect (Ephesians 3:20).
One of the great tragedies of modern-day Christianity is that we simply do not pray as we should. The Lord has placed all of the power and resources of Heaven at our disposal to do His work, yet we “have not, because [we] ask not”. The greatest enemy to answered prayer is unbelief. The Devil cannot keep God from answering our prayers, so he seeks to keep us from asking. He does all that he can to prevent our prayers. If we have faith enough to ask, we should have faith enough to believe that God hears and knows our need and supplies wisdom in every situation. A lack of faith will always hinder God from working in and through our lives. When we pray, we are not to waver. “What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use—men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.”--E.M. Bounds
PRAYER: Father, I praise You that I can at anytime, anywhere, and under any circumstance come to You in prayer. My desire is to keep walking continually with You so that my prayer may be the natural expression of my life with You. In Jesus name, AMEN.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.