The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
James 5 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! 4 Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; he does not resist you.
7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. 10 As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.
19 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
In today’s text it says: Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Who is righteous, that their prayers might be effective? Among men there are none who are righteous. Romans 3:10-12 says: As it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.” Only Jesus by His righteousness could effectively pray for every situation and circumstance. In John 19:30, on the cross, He said: “It is finished!” Isaiah 53:5-8 says: He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. Romans 8:34 says: Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Jesus the righteous one, intercedes for us. His prayers for us are effective because He fully accomplished everything we need on the cross. In John 14:13-14 Jesus says: And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. We then, can also pray effectively for others in Jesus name; because of the finished work of the cross; because His righteousness not our own. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says: God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
Today’s text ends saying: My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. Earlier this week we saw that Ezekiel 33:7-9 says: I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life. Just yesterday we saw that James 4:17 says: So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, for him it is sin. For those who know what is right and for those who see that others are straying from the truth and are being mislead and believing a lie, if we don’t warn them, if we don’t turn them back to the truth, we fail to save their souls and we will be accountable. 1 Peter 4:8 says: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. If we truly love others, we will warn them if they are on the path of destruction. We will tell them not of our love, but rather of the love of God which is demonstrated in the cross of Christ. His love, is the love that covers all of our sins. We cannot, if we love Jesus and if we love others, not tell them the truth. We cannot allow those who we love and those who God loves enough to send His Son to redeem them from their sin, to continue in opposition to God’s word and His will. In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus says: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by people. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Since we have been given the righteousness of God in Christ, we need to live as light in the darkness of the world. We need to warn those who have strayed, with our words, our prayers and our good works, so they might return and glorify the Father.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit, that through the finished work of the cross, in Your righteousness we can pray effectively for others. Thank You that You empower and enable us to live in Your righteousness, shining Your light in the darkness of the world. Knowing that it is the right thing to do, I will do what is right. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.