Scripture says that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16 NKJV). Effective—that is exactly what we want our prayers to be, especially in a crisis. When we meet God’s requirements, we can be confident that He’ll not only hear our concerns but will also act on them in accordance with His purposes.
Requirement #1—Fervent prayer. Motivated by a deeply burdened heart, fervent prayers are filled with passion and a strong sense of personal helplessness. They also have a narrow focus on some specific difficulty about which we care deeply. Scripture calls this type of prayer “laboring earnestly” (Col. 4:12).
Requirement #2—Righteousness. As soon as we place our trust in the Savior, we become rightly related to God as His children. At that moment, we are permanently sealed with the Holy Spirit and are declared righteous forever because of our position in Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:9). While salvation is by faith rather than by deeds (Eph. 2:8-9), genuine faith will result in an obedient lifestyle and good works (James 2:26). If we willingly and knowingly engage in sin, then we are not living righteously and our prayers will not be effective.
When the Lord hears an impassioned prayer, He knows who is praying. If it is a righteous person whose life reflects God’s ways, Scripture promises the Holy Spirit will begin His divine work.
God responds with great power to the prayers of even one righteous person. That person can be you!