“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16b
Today my mind is turned toward the reality of suffering in the world. Before I came into work I listened to a bit of news from around the world and what dominated this was the coverage of refugees who are fleeing from their homes to avoid the slaughter that is occurring in their homeland. Over 500,000 people, (that’s five hundred thousand!) individual men, women and children; the young, the old, the healthy and the infirm who are literally running for their lives. Why? They’re being hunted and killed in the streets for no other reason than someone who personifies evil doesn’t like them.
It makes no sense, and yet, I was seeing it live and in color. The throng of humanity pressing into different locations for a slice of bread, a morsel of meat to satisfy the gnawing hunger in their bellies and that of their children.
And here we are, sitting unfettered, un-pursued by anyone seeking us harm, in the land of the free, the home of the brave—doing what?
Truth be told, the reality is we cannot ever hope to fix the ill or the evil in that situation. We couldn’t do it if we talked about it all day long for evil indeed abides in the heart of man.
So, what dear sisters, is up to us to do? What is it that we can do? How has God equipped us and how does He enable us to effectively help those we cannot help?
In a word — PRAY!
Prayer, which is something we get to do, ought to do and should do as if our very lives depended on it. And the way we do it (pray) is going to involve a little imagination.
Quite literally, dear sisters, let’s begin with imagining our own loved ones in such extreme need and yet, we are helpless to give them aid. Our hearts would surely ache for their misfortune, their dire circumstance, the reality of their starving soul. This is your flesh and blood and they are perishing before your eyes! Can you feel the anguish in not knowing whether they’ll be dead or alive to breathe their next breath 24 hours from now?
If so, this is called sympathy. And with that we begin to cry out to God on their behalf. We begin and then we continue. We over and over and over again petition the Lord of Heaven to intervene on their behalf and rescue them from their enemy. We may even go so far as to ask Him to destroy the one who pursues them unto death.
Therein is our challenge for the suffering in the world. Let us take up the mantle of prayer and be willing to bombard the atmosphere of earth and heaven with the mighty rushing breath of our effectual fervent prayers! Selah
Stephanie D. Paul serves as part of the Addiction Recovery Team at America’s Keswick as Director of Women of Character. She has been married for over 30 years to Sesky Paul who is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. They have two grown children. Her single focus in ministry at Keswick is to image Christ in grace and truth to wounded and hurting women, encouraging them to make Jesus the truest Lover of their soul and the One in whom all hope lies.