Fervent Prayer

Journal 2009.

I can name five people right now who are in crisis emotionally. I am not indifferent to their pain; I am concerned and praying for them. But I wonder at my emotional detachment from these good friends. I realize that with the healing in my own heart, I’m not jerked around so much by other people’s issues. I’m sure a doctor goes through this process having to take care of sick bodies without getting too emotionally distracted.

The prophet Jeremiah said God’s burden on his heart to prophecy was like a fire in his soul if he didn’t speak. David also had a fire in his soul—but it was driven by guilt. The key, I think, is recognizing the difference between the Holy Spirit’s burden on my soul to pray for someone and my own triggers that reveal insecurities and fears.

James said, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (5:16 KJV). Can prayer be effective if emotions aren’t involved? “Fervent prayer” implies strong emotion. When I’m in crisis, I have strong emotions, and my prayers are deep. But what if I’m not feeling anything? Are my prayers just as effective? I say yes—if my motives are pure and my heart is right before God.

When I pray with someone who is demonized, I don’t have to raise my voice, wrestle, be stern, or give in to fear. The power is not in my desire to see someone delivered and getting all excited emotionally. The power is in Jesus’ Name.

So if I’m praying for someone, interceding on their behalf, I don’t have to drum up some emotion to get God’s attention. Remember the prophets of Baal who had strong emotion, pleading, crying out, jumping around, and cutting themselves? But Elijah? He just appealed to the God who made the fire and the rocks and rain. The power is in the Person. Using God’s Name means I’m accessing the power of the universe. Therefore, be careful what I ask for!

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