Daily Devotion: Prayers of the Righteous

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16b

I used to think that the effectiveness of my prayers somehow depended on me. If I was living “righteously enough” or if I had been following God’s Word closely enough, then my prayers would be “powerful and effective”. I knew that God always heard my prayers, but for some reason I though that the effectiveness of my prayers was basically tied to my good works and avoiding sin. I wouldn’t have said that out loud necessarily, but it was how I prayed and what I expected to happen after I prayed.

If I had fallen into sin in some way recently, even if I was repentant and had confessed my sins and received forgiveness, I thought that somehow my prayers were not as powerful. I didn’t think that God didn’t hear me–though I know some people struggle with that thought as well–I just thought He was less inclined to answer my prayers or I was less in tune with God and therefore wouldn’t be praying what God willed.

Though I knew the truth about my own righteousness before God, that I was not the source of it in any way, somehow this thought got into my thinking about prayer. At some point, I finally connected right thinking and theology regarding my righteousness before God with the verse above.

“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” – Romans 3:21-24

In essence I was thinking about the effectiveness of my prayers as if I was living under the law. However, the truth is that through believing in Christ I stand perfectly righteous before God, “justified freely by His grace”. It is “apart from the law”, separate from my works and any “righteousness” I’ve tried to earn.

Through Christ, I am righteous. Therefore, I am a “righteous person” and my prayers are “powerful and effective”. I pray under and through Christ’s righteousness.

When I finally connected these truths, my prayers became much more bold. I didn’t have to feel like God wasn’t going to answer my prayers because I hadn’t been good enough or lived faithfully enough to His Word. I didn’t have to worry that God’s answer to my prayers was dependent on my own “righteousness”.

If God doesn’t answer my prayers in the way that I expect or in the timing that I want, I don’t have to wonder if it is my fault or because of my failings. Rather the truth is that God’s perfect will and timing is different from what I think or see. But I can know that God is at work and is not delaying.

I can boldly approach the throne of God and pray knowing that I have the righteousness of Christ and therefore my prayers are powerful and effective. It really has nothing to do with me or my good works. God doesn’t owe me when I’ve been good and doesn’t ignore me when I’ve failed.

Dear believer, pray as the righteous person that Christ makes you and know that your prayers are powerful and effective.

 

 

9 thoughts on “Daily Devotion: Prayers of the Righteous

  1. Hey Nate — I like this one a lot. Thanks for writing!

    From a prayer standpoint, I’ve been contemplating a lot lately, and I think we are coming to the same conclusion. That is: if we approach God with the right state of our heart, and desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit and learn from and follow Jesus, he will reward us and our prayers are “righteous”. We don’t have to have lengthy, sophisticated, or beautiful sounding prayers.

    God sees them as beautiful when we offer our hearts to him and desire to be filled with the Holy Spirit and follow Jesus.

    A few of the inspirations in my approach to prayer that really helped me:
    1. St. Paul (Colossians) — I’ve added some of my own formatting to the below. Colossians 1:9-14…
    “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual will and understanding.
    And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way:
    (1) bearing fruit in every good work,
    (2) growing in the knowledge of God,
    (3) being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and
    (4) joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the Kingdom of light.
    For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

    2. Dr. Charles Stanley — https://www.intouch.org/listen/featured/devoted-to-prayer-part-1

    3. Listen to this song if you haven’t yet. In related to the “boldly” approach that you wrote above. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QDnVD7gu5Y

    Sorry for the lengthy post – you got me thinking a lot! Keep it up, you are encouraging other believers, more than you know.

    Your Brother in Christ,
    Tom

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Tom,

      Thanks for the encouragement, that means a lot. And I love that you left a “lengthy” post, you packed a lot of truth in there. Feel free to leave lengthy posts anytime you want, the whole point is we are encouraging each other in our walks with Christ. That song is powerful, I’ll be listening to Dr. Stanley shortly. Thanks again and keep following Jesus brother.

      Nathan

      Like

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