Have you seen Miss Clara’s fervent prayer in the movie War Room? I have been researching fervent prayer in the Bible. Some people refer to this as wrestling prayer. It seems there is a level of prayer that I have not reached in my prayer life.
What exactly is fervent prayer?
This is a question which is difficult for me to answer. Does fervent prayer require us to beat our chests, weep, sweat drops of blood as Jesus did and shout? Depending on your passion for the topic you are praying, I believe that you can sincerely pray this way. I also believe that this type of behavior can be faked, which would be = like the Pharisee praying in the street (Luke 18:9-14). God will not be mocked. He knows the difference between genuine and counterfeit prayer. The best way to understand this type of prayer is to see what the Bible says about it?
James 5:16 (NKJV)
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (emphasis mine).
If we want to have effective and fervent prayers, we cannot have unconfessed sin in our hearts (1 John 3:22). So begin your prayer time with confession of all known sin. Check out my Sin List from A-Z to help you do this.
To better understand the meaning of this verse we need to look at the Greek meaning of a few words in James 5:16. I do not recommend using a regular dictionary for this. I like to use the website Bible Hub.
effective – “1754 energéō (from 1722 /en, “engaged in,” which intensifies 2041 /érgon, “work”) – properly, energize, working in a situation which brings it from one stage (point) to the next, like an electrical current energizing a wire, bringing it to a shining light bulb” (Bible Hub)
This word effective means that we pray energized prayers. It is described like electricity running through a wire to light a light bulb. How energetic are your prayers? Do you pray as you are lying in bed at night, only to fall asleep before you finish? Maybe God falls asleep when you pray because of your lack of enthusiasm and interest. I often wonder how God feels about my prayers. Sometimes we are so detailed in our prayers, we end up telling God how to do His job. How does He feel about this? If you lack energy in your prayers, ask God to help energize you. You have the Holy Spirit living inside of you so utilize Him. Let’s look at the next word in James 5:16 above.
avails – “2480 isxýō – properly, embodied strength that “gets into the fray” (action), i.e. engaging the resistance. For the believer, 2480 (isxýō) refers to the Lord strengthening them with combative, confrontive force to achieve all He gives faith for. That is, facing necessary resistance that brings what the Lord defines is success (Bible Hub)
Has the Lord strengthened your prayer life with combative, confrontive force? If not, then ask Him to do this. The only way to pray effective, fervent prayer is through the power of the Holy Spirit. Any other attempt to pray fervently in the flesh will be fake like the Pharisee’s prayer.
Jesus in the Garden
The best example of fervent prayer in the Bible is when Jesus prayed in the garden. You might like to see my post, Jesus in the Garden. for an in depth look at his prayer. We will look up the Greek word for loud in this verse below.
Hebrews 5:7 (NASB)
“In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety” (emphasis mine).
loud – “2478 isxyrós (an adjective, derived from 2479/isxys, “engaging, combative strength”) – mighty, strong. For the believer, 2478 (isxyrós) is God’s power “standing by” – ready to unleash itself to bring about His preferred-will, through faith (cf. 2307 /thélēma, 4102 /pístis). This engaging strength is always and immediately available from the Lord, which accomplishes His assignments (cf. 1 Jn 5:4)” (Bible Hub)
The Greek word for loud in this verse is actually a form of the same word for avails in James 5:16 above.
Study Jesus prayer in the garden more closely by reading the following: Matt. 26:36-56, Luke 22:39-46 and Mark 14:32-42. I recommend reading all three accounts so you can see the entire story. We are only told about the angel in the book of Luke so read them all.
Bold, Persistent Prayer
Remember when you pray to be bold and persistent. Jesus asked the Lord to remove the cup from Him three times, even though He knew the will of God. So pray bold prayers and never give up.
Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need”.