Here is a thought from my personal devotions:
- Most people want to be influential in some way or to have some sway or power.
We might say that we don’t want this, but it still hurts when we feel overlooked or useless.
Here is what God says we should do if we want to have influence or power with Him:
- Be a righteous person who prays!
I normally read my King James Bible, and James 5:16 says the following in the King James Version:
- The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. KJV
And then I kept going on reading without thinking too much about the verse. But here is how this verse reads in other versions:
- The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. or The effective prayer of a righteous person has great power! ESV
- The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. NASB
- The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. NIV
This makes me consider a few points:
- It must be a righteous person who is doing the praying. If a person is right before God, he or she will be praying in God’s will. That person will be “justified by the righteousness of Christ, and has the truth of grace in him, and lives soberly and righteously; for a righteous man often designs a good man, a gracious man, one that is sincere and upright.” (Gills Expostion of the Entire Bible) We cannot say, “Well, I prayed and nothing happenened!” if we are living in sin. The promise is that it must be from a righteous (not perfect) person.
- It must be effectual prayer. Effectual means “intense and fervent, not ‘wavering’.”
- When righteous person prays, this has great power with God. This is key. In the eyes of other people, we may still not have power or be overlooked. But in God’s eyes, we can accomplish much as He can use us. God will hear our prayers and will answer as He knows what is best. So the answer still may not be the answer we would desire, but God will hear the prayer and will answer according to His will. And since it is a righteous person who is praying, he will accept that answer with thankfulness, being humbled that God heard Him and demonstrated His power in His life by listening and answering a mere mortal’s requests!
From Matthew Henry on this verse:
And when a righteous person, a true believer, justified in Christ, and by his grace walking before God in holy obedience, presents an effectual fervent prayer, wrought in his heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, raising holy affections and believing expectations and so leading earnestly to plead the promises of God at his mercy-seat, it avails much. The power of prayer is proved from the history of Elijah. In prayer we must not look to the merit of man, but to the grace of God. It is not enough to say a prayer, but we must pray in prayer. Thoughts must be fixed, desires must be firm and ardent, and graces exercised. This instance of the power of prayer, encourages every Christian to be earnest in prayer. God never says to any of the seed of Jacob, Seek my face in vain. Where there may not be so much of miracle in God’s answering our prayers, yet there may be as much of grace.
Thoughts about Thankgiving:
Last year, I made a set of Thankgiving printables that we did for family devotions. We cut the printables into strips and made a paper chain out of them as we did them. I said this year we were going to make cards for people we were thankful for and read missionary prayer letters during family devotions, but the children were not too excited about this activity. They wanted to make the paper chain longer. So I will still do my idea but make some printables that go along with the following ideas:
Why should we be thankful for . . . or How can we thank God for the following groups of people?
- Week 1: Missionaries and Pastors
- Week 2: Sunday School teachers and School Teachers
- Week 3: Family
- Week 4: Friends
Since November 1 is Saturday, I wanted to give you the first couple of printables. I will use these for the first two weeks plus we will make some cards for some missionaries, pastors, Sunday School teachers and school teachers to thank them for their ministry. Next week, I will try to have a printable that could be used for making your own cards!
- Answer for Romans 1:8: That their faith in Christ is being a witness for God throughout the world. (This is especially for when we give thanks for missionaries.)
- Answer for Philippians 1:3: Every time we think about them! We do a prayer time in family devotions as well.
- Answer for Ephesians 1:15-16: For their love of other believers.
- Answer for I Thessalonians 1:2: Pray specific prayers for their needs and requests (not just thank God for them.)
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