…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. (James 5:16, N.K.J.V.)
A mother came to evangelist Hyman Appleman at the close of a revival service Appleman had conducted. She said, “Brother Appleman, I have two boys who are unsaved. Other mothers’ boys are being saved in your meetings and I don’t understand why my boys haven’t been.” Appleman looked at her and said, “Mother, I think I can tell you why. I think it is because your eyes are still so dry.”
The next day the mother came to Appleman before the service. This time her eyes were swollen from all the crying she had been doing. She said, “Brother Appleman, you broke my heart last night because you drove home the truth that I really hadn’t agonized in prayer for my boys. But last night I prayed and wept all night long. And this morning I feel like I will die if my boys don’t get saved in this meeting tonight.” That night Appleman preached and gave an invitation and the first two people to walk down the aisle were the woman’s two sons.
Praying works, but usually it works in direct proportion to the degree in which it is done. Putting it bluntly, don’t expect a million-dollar answer to a ten-cent prayer. If you want your prayer to be truly effective, you must pray with fervency. Webster’s Dictionary defines “fervent” as “hot; glowing.” Does that describe your prayers? Are they so hot with emotion they glow like red-hot coals? I promise you that when your prayers get that hot, you’ll start seeing more results from them.
I think about Hannah in the Old Testament. She was barren and wanted a son badly enough to pray with red-hot tears streaming down her face. As the Bible describes it, she “wept in anguish” (1 Samuel 1:10, N.K.J.V.). And was her prayer answered? Yes. God healed her barrenness and caused her to become pregnant with Samuel, who would grow up to become one of Israel’s greatest leaders.
I don’t mean to imply that tears are the magic pixie dust that get God to grant any request, regardless of whether or not the request is His will. But I am saying that praying with hot, glowing fervency, the kind that typically leads to tears of emotion, takes your request to a whole different level. Like that mother of those two unsaved sons learned, there is praying and then there is PRAYING.
As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemene just before He was arrested, His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:44). Think about that. When was the last time you prayed so hard that you literally worked up a sweat? And even if you have prayed that hard, did your drops of sweat became like drops of blood? Talk about praying with fervency!
The takeaway from all this isn’t hard to figure out. If you have prayed about a situation over and over again but haven’t seen any positive results from all that praying, could it be that you aren’t praying with enough fervency? You see, like most endeavors in life, you get out of prayer what you put into it. So if you want more results from it, you are going to have to put more into it. It’s that simple. Think of it like this: Most prayers avail something, but it’s only fervent prayers that avail much.