Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. (James 5:13-18)
This passage tells us that not all prayers are the same. Some are more powerful than the others because of the person who is praying. It means that God doesn’t only listen to the words of the prayer, but He also looks at the person who is praying. If the person is righteous before God, his prayer can be just as powerful and effective as that of Elijah who prayed for famine and there was famine, prayed for rain and there was rain. So then the key is the righteousness of the person. But in our Christian living, we may find it hard to do what is right in the eyes of God all the time. We may not commit the mortal sins, but we may daily commit sins that we think are less serious. We unconsciously give the word of God different weights or degree of importance. But in reality, all of God’s word is important and need to be practiced for us to be righteous.
Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, declares: “I promised that members of your family would minister before Me forever.” But now the Lord declares: “Far be it from me! Those who honor Me I will honor, but those who despise Me will be disdained. (1 Sam 2:30)
Here God says, those who honor Him He will honor. The word “honor” is heavy and it carries weight. So if we honor God, which means that if we put God’s word on a scale, it would always be heavier than our own will. It also means that we obey the word of God regardless of inconvenience and difficulty. And here we see that this relationship is reciprocal. When people choose to honor God by doing what He says, God will likewise respond by doing what people ask. And an example of this is prophet Samuel.
The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. (1 Sam 3:19)
When a person honors God and is righteous before God, God will be with him, and the clearest way that we know that God is with a person is when God answers their prayers. So in our prayers, it is very important for us to examine ourselves to see if we are righteous before God in all aspects of our lives so that our prayers can be powerful and effective.