By J. H. Jowett
"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (Jas. 5:16). Or as Weymouth translates it, "The heartfelt supplication of a righteous man exerts a mighty influence." Prayer may be empty words, with no more power than empty shells. Firing empty shells! That is what many professed prayers really are; they have nothing in them, and they accomplish nothing. They are just forged upon the lips, and they drop to the earth as soon as they are spoken.
Effectual prayers are born in the heart. They are stocked with heart-treasure, with faith, and hope, and desire, and holy urgency, and they go forth with power to shake the world.
What are my prayers like? If I were God, would I listen to them? Are they mere pretences at prayer, full of nothing but sound? Is there any reasonable ground for assuming that they can accomplish anything?
Or are my prayers weighted with sincere desire? Do they comprehend my brother’s good as well as my own? Are they spoken in faith? Do they go forth in great expectancy? Then do they surely "exert a mighty influence," and they become fellow-labourers with all God’s ministries of grace. The greatest thing I can do is greatly to pray.