Stretched Out in Prayer

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” – James 5:16

These words, effectual and fervent, literally mean “stretched out.” It reminds me of my granddaughter’s horse when they are jumping over a barricade, stretched out as he leaps. Or it’s like an athlete who’s running for the gold, and he bursts for the tape and stretches himself out for the goal.

James says that’s the way we are to pray. Paul also reminds us in the letter to the Philippians 3:12 that we should be striving toward the goal of our salvation.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect,
but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.
But one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Our prayers are to be on fire! They’re to be stretched out, and I don’t mean stretched out on your bed half asleep. We are to be striving for the goal. We’re to be eager, earnest, fervent, and impassioned in our prayers. God forgive our cold, lukewarm, milk toast, take-it-or-leave-it type of prayers.

When we give without sacrifice, pray without fasting,
witness without tears, is it any wonder we sow without results? How God has convicted my heart as I’ve studied the book of James! I’ve had to bow my head, confess my sin and say, “God, forgive my cold, lukewarm, indifferent prayers. May I learn how to pray effectually, fervently, as James taught us to pray.” What does James mean when he talks about the
conditions that we should meet? He’s talking about the intensity of the asking. That’s the kind of prayer that brings


About scon777

Pastor/Teacher at Grace Bible Church in Redwood City, CA since 1998.
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