During this week of prayer, we are sharing the writings of two of our precious ladies, Pam Lundy and Nanci Larkin.  Pam has experienced many difficult trials in life, but has used her poetry as a way to express her petitions and praises to the Lord, who has been her constant help.  Nanci shared thoughts at our January prayer breakfast, based on James 5:16.  We are publishing a manuscript of that presentation to encourage you to pray fervently and effectively!

by Pam Lundy

Dear Lord, I pray,
That I will walk each day,
With faith, hope and a life that you willed,
For me to be fulfilled.

I love you Jesus,
Through you I have picked up the broken pieces,
Putting one foot in front of the other, going forward,
Filling my heart with joy and never looking backward.

Jesus, lead the way,
Through each new day, I pray,
For strength, understanding and love,
And someday I, too, will be with you in heaven above.

Presented January, 2020 at SW AG Prayer Breakfast
by Nanci Larkin

 This week has been set aside for prayer and fasting. Today we end our congregational fast, but as Christians, prayer will always continue to be our focus.

My key verse today is James 5:16 (KJV) “The effectual and fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

So, what I have observed from the daily emails with the stated prayer focus for the day is that:
First, the needs are MANY
Second, the needs are BIG: bigger than ourselves.
Third, the needs are desperate.

And finally, You are not alone. There are others to your right and to your left that carry the same prayer burdens you also carry.

So when we look at the key verse  James 5:16 (KJV) “The effectual and fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” And then look at our many, needy, and desperate prayers, let’s ask some tough questions.

There are some here today who have been praying the same prayers for even up to 10 years! Maybe 20 years! And maybe longer, yet they remain unanswered today. (Remember Tomorrow is just a day away so hang on to your prayers).

Very recently as I was praying for the lost, I fell under the weight of the knowledge of the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Genesis 6:5 (NLT) says “The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness…. & He saw that EVERYTHING they thought or imagined was CONSISTENTLY and TOTALLY evil.”

I sobbed in tears most of that night, crying out and asking: Why does He bother with us? Why was He willing to dies for the likes of us? How could He love us in our wicked condition?

Mostly, I am immune to the common sins all around us. They are part of our culture—we get desensitized from advertisements, news articles, TV, and every worldly voice, even our workplace rules of ‘tolerance’. I mean the Bible says to dress modestly and it is incredibly difficult to find modest fashions in our current culture. But I digress.

This night my own heart was full of anger, disgust, and horror at our worldly sins. I wanted judgment and justice to fall on those trapped in these horrible sins—which are so offensive to my Savior. And I was so disappointed and sickened by my own unsaved loved ones trapped in their ugly sins. How could God love them in light of this deep sin? I was having a very hard time with love myself.

But He does love them and scripture says it is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4), not the sternness or lectures from Mom and Dad. Though sternness if often a very healthy thing as well.

The discrepancy here is sometimes we cry out for justice and judgment out of our hurt, anger, and our disappointments and God says in Romans 5:8 He died for us in our current, stinking rotten condition! (NIV) “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And He also tells us in Mark 2:17 (NIV) “….

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

And so we step back, bow our heads and ask Him to teach us to love.

We circle back to our key verse now, “The prayers of a righteous man…” and cry out: O God, am I righteous? Show me my own moral failings!

I am sure you are all familiar with Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the spirit list. It starts with the big bang of LOVE and ends with the grand finale of SELF CONTROL. (ouch).

But if you back up a few verses and read Galatians 5:19-21 you find a different list, the sin list. Discord and envy are just a few, the list is long, take some time to read it—just sayin….. When I got saved, as I read my Bible, I kept finding myself on the wrong list! It took years of fervent prayer for me to slowly change lists. I asked God to move me from one list to the other, and He was faithful to answer my prayers.

But as our Christian walk continues, our moral failings become more subtle. However, God remains faithful and still convicts us and moves us to the right ‘list’, if we cooperate with the Holy Spirit.

We read again: James 5:16 (KJV) “The effectual and fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” And still this congregation has our many, our big, our desperate unanswered prayers, so we ask, “Am I fervent?”

All of our fervency waxes and wanes, it surges, and it rests, it wells up and it ebbs away. Do not despair, my beloved. Do not grow weary. Be encouraged. The LORD inclines His ear to hear you.

So we close with the final phrase of this verse: “Availeth much”. This is not a guarantee God will give us OUR exact answers on OUR timetable according to OUR instructions.

If your unanswered prayer is for yourself, lean in hard to your LORD and ask, “What do You want me to learn from this situation?”

If your unanswered prayer is for another, lean into your LORD and Thank Him for His kindness which is leading your loved one to repentance.

And finally, all of us should ask for increased fervency and perseverance in prayer.

Be encouraged—He may not change the situation exactly to your liking or on your schedule, but I guarantee He WILL CHANGE YOU! And it will be GOOD!

And remember, God does hear your prayers. They remain awake even when you are sleeping. He is not mad at you and delayed answers are not for your harm.

When we get unexpected blessings, we stand amazed and in awe of our most Holy God. When we get unexpected delays, also remain amazed and in awe of our King and Savior.

Be blessed and Keep Praying!