Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.
— James 5:16–18
Because I unknowingly have written a post already about the importance of prayer, I have only one more thought that comes to mind to encourage my brothers and sisters: we must never forget the horrible power of our sins. We see here that the “prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” But what is righteous? Without reading the link proposing the two different kinds of righteousness, suffice it to say that it is man that strives to be with as little sin as possible. It is not a sinless man, but a man who hates it and seeks to eradicate it through the grace and power of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is only when we recognize how truly sick we were that we are able to dance with joy with the limbs that were once lame and look with eyes once destined for Hell’s suffering to Heaven and glories unimaginable.
Most of us do not doubt the power. What we do doubt is for the power of prayer to be wielded by us. Such power, we tell ourselves, is reserved for those saints in the Bible, and for those so are intensely spiritual, who read nothing but the Bible, fast weekly, etc., and so we would do better to leave it in the hands of God; for he is the one who takes care of our requests, so we should focus more on being a clean vessel for God’s glory, power and work to shine through. That is the thought.
A Slight Clarification
The power of prayer is a subject for a great many other posts, but what is important is the purpose and to whom we pray. We pray to the almighty. We pray, and He acts. The power or lack thereof is not in our hands. It is in nothing that we do. There is no magic formula for making our prayers more effective. There are perhaps ways to keep ourselves focused while we pray, pray more often, etc. But once these barriers have been recognized and a constant effort against them mounted (yes, this means a constant re-commitment), then the rest is up to God.
While it is still entirely true that God hears (and answers) every prayer, what we are oftentimes unwilling do is to recognize in our hearts “not now” or simply “no” as an answer.