The book of James is so rich, isn’t it?
One particularly beautiful nugget of truth is found in the second half of chapter 5, verse 16:
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
Short and sweet, but it touches the heart.
Unfortunately, we are sometimes tempted to use this verse as an excuse not to pray. We think to ourselves, “Well, I’m not particularly righteous. Why bother?”
Needless to say, this is not at all what James had in mind.
What is it that makes a man righteous? Philippians 3:8, 9 has the answer:
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith….
Notice that Paul did not claim to be righteous all on his own. His righteousness was from God.
Then who is the righteous man, the one who can pray effectively? The one who received his righteousness from God through faith in Christ.
This is the secret to powerful prayer.