Tuesday, January 20, 2015
The last part of the following verse has been misunderstood by many bible readers, especially if they read it in the King James version: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16) The New Living Translation (NLT) says it this way: “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” Upon comparing the different bible translations, it is evident that “man” in the KJV is a general reference to mankind and applies to all human beings. The issue that remains and needs to be clarified is this: Who is a righteous person?
“Righteous”, just like the word “saint”, has thrown many people for a loop because their general perception of a saint or righteous person borders on sinlessness and perfection, which leads them to think, “that is definitely not me”, which leads them to think that their prayers have very little effect, which leads them to desist it’s practice. We must keep in mind that the righteousness that we have is the one that comes by way of our faith. Romans 4:3 tells us that when Abraham believed God, it was counted to him for righteousness. I know some will be hard to convince, but to put is as simply as I can, all God’s children are righteous, and its certainly not because of us but rather because of the One who lives in our heart. If anything, our prayers are answered more on the basis of our faith than on our righteousness. Let me try to picture it more simply by the following story I heard years ago.
In the heat of a ferocious battle in the Korean War, and while bullets were flying everywhere, a young soldier was ordered by his sergeant to go out and bring some of his wounded fellow soldiers into the bunker. Upon hearing his name, he glanced at his watch seemingly ignoring the orders. In a few minutes, the sergeant angrily repeated the orders. Again he glanced at his watch, and did not move. After several minutes, he jumped out of the bunker and managed to bring in several wounded comrades without getting hit. When the battle was over, they asked him why he hadn’t obeyed the orders immediately and he told them “I’m not a Christian, but my mother told me that everyday at 12 noon our time, she would be upon her knees praying that God would protect me. As soon as my watch hit 12 noon, I ran out knowing that I would be safe.” In the end, he obviously believed in the power of his mother’s prayers, and she was righteous because she was a child of God, thus making her prayers effectual. If you are a child of God through faith in Christ, don’t sell yourself short; your prayers are much more effective than what you may think. Please don’t stop praying!
Memory verses for the week (Psalm 103:13-14) “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.”