OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


A.             At any moment, at any location, the Christian has the privilege of approaching God in prayer.

B.              Prayer is the means whereby each child of God can directly communicate with his Father in heaven.

C.              We go to God with our requests.  We go to Him with our needs.  We go to Him with our troubles.  When we do, we hope that He hears and that He responds favorably to our petitions.

D.             Question:  Do you ever feel that prayer does not accomplish much?  Do you ever pray and see little, if any, results?  Have you ever grown discouraged in your prayer life?  Have you ever felt like David (Ps. 22:1-2a).

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?  Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?  O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not…

E.              James 5:16 gives us some insight into why our prayers may not be accomplishing much.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

1.                Could it be that our prayers lack energy?  The Greek word translated “effectual fervent” is “energo”(1754).

2.                Could it be that our prayers do not produce much because we are to blame instead of God?

F.               In this lesson we are exhorting our listeners to practice “Effectual Fervent Prayer.”


A.             In the context of James 5:16, we are given an example of an effectual fervent prayer.  The prayer was prayed by the powerful prophet Elijah (James 5:17-18).

Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain:  and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

1.                Note the words, “He prayed earnestly.”

2.                This was not a flippant, light-hearted, faintly uttered prayer.

3.                This prayer poured forth from Elijah’s heart in earnestness to God.

4.                Note the result:  “And it rained not.”

B.              A second example of an effectual fervent prayer is found in I Samuel 1.  This time a woman was praying (I Sam. 1:10).

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore.

1.                The woman’s name was Hannah.

2.                Her dilemma?  She was childless and was mocked by Peninnah who had children.

3.                Note the words:  “Bitterness of soul…prayed…wept sore.”

4.                This was not a shallow wish that came forth from her lips.  It was a deep longing that sprang from the anguish of her soul.

5.                This prayer also availed much (I Sam. 1:20).

Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord.

C.              A third example is found in our Lord Jesus Christ.

1.                Jesus was a man of prayer.  He prayed often.  At times, He prayed long.  His prayers were always fervent prayers to His Father.

2.                In theGarden of Gethsemane, He definitely prayed in earnest.

a.         We are familiar with His prayer (Matt. 26:39).

O my Father, if it be possible, let his cup pass from me:  nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

b.               Some might ask:  “How do we know this was a fervent prayer?”  The Hebrews writer gives insight into the agony of our Lord (Heb. 5:7).

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared.


            A.        Very specific requests.

                        1.         Each prayer that we have studied had a singular request.

                                    a.         Elijah – rain.

                                    b.         Hannah – a man child.

                                    c.         Jesus – Let this cup pass from me.

2.         A brother in Pocahontas, TN used to say we do not have to be specific because the Lord already knows what we have need of .

                        3.         However, specific prayers are focused and usually much more intense.         


B.              Emotions.

1.                In every prayer that we discussed, we find the prayers involving much emotion.

a.         Elijah – prayed earnestly.

b.         Hannah – bitterness of soul and crying.

c.         Jesus – agony along with strong crying and tears.

2.         Hearts do not have to be hurting to pray, but they should have an emotional springboard. 

a.         Emotions involve the sincerity with which our prayers are prayed.

b.         Thanksgiving, praise, rejoicing, supplications, requests, all involve the emotions of man.

C.              Faith.

1.                Who would say that any one of these three prayers was faithless?

2.                Hannah’s prayer.

a.         Prior to her prayer, Hannah would not eat.  She was also of a very sad countenance.

b.         In faith, she left her prayer with God.  I Samuel 1:18 states:  “So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.”

                        3.         Our prayers must be offered with deep faith.

                                    a.         Matthew 21:22.

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

b.               James 1:5-8.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

D.             Righteousness.

1.                Each one of the individuals who prayed was righteous in the sight of God.  Each one was walking in the commandments of God blameless.  They were not overtly practicing sin.

2.                One of the great hindrances to prayer is sin.

a.         Proverbs 28:9.

He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

b.               Psalm 66:18.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.

c.               I Peter 3:12.

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers:  but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

3.                We must examine our lives.  Continual, habitual sins can close God’s ears to our prayers.  Our secret sins can close the doors of heaven to us.

E.              Persistence.

1.                Hannah and Elijah may have only prayed once, but Jesus offered His prayer three times (Matt. 26:44).

And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

2.                A one time request may not indicate enough earnestness to the Father.  We may have to pray over and over again, like a child asking for candy in a store (Ex., Luke 11:5-13, esp. vs. 8-10).

I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.  And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.


A.             How many parents would refuse to aid and assist their children if they came to them blameless, with sincerity of heart, and with great earnestness?

B.              In like manner, and more so, the Father in heaven yearns to give aid to His children who seek him in effectual prayer (Matt. 7:9-11).

Or, what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?  Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?