“The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16 NASB
Quite frankly, I’m “out” on posh restaurants that have things on the menu you can’t even pronounce and nothing to show for it but two bites of fish and an empty wallet! All I want is a full plate of food, thank you!
Which reminds me of how the Israelites must have felt when, soon after their miraculous escape from Egypt, their stomachs started rumbling. They started grumbling, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death” (Exodus 16:3). A lot could be said about their lack of faith in that moment, but notice God’s immediate, generous response: “I will rain down bread from heaven for you” (Exodus 16:4). The people then gathered as much as they could eat. How great is that?! You’d think, after that, they would have never again doubted God’s generosity and His power to supply all their needs.
Unfortunately, we are often a lot like them. In times of distress, it’s easy to forget God’s past generosity and to doubt what God can do—or even what He is willing to do—about our problem. We find ourselves grumbling, “Why doesn’t He do ‘more’ for me?” But we need to be “out” on that kind of thinking, because, actually, God is a God of abundant generosity. In fact, I like to think of Him as a God of “muchness”—with both the desire and capacity to fill our lives with His goodness and grace.
In James 5:1-20 we see the contrast between the leanness of our lives and the muchness of God. James mentions suffering, sickness, and sin—three constant realities that underscore the fact that we are impoverished, needy people. And the antidote is found in prayer. Not ritualistic, passionless prayer, but prayer that is rooted in the reality of our leanness and our desperation for God’s muchness. As James reminds us, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).
God, I praise You for Your generosity and desperately need You to replace my leanness with Your “muchness.” Please keep me from grumbling, and turn my attention toward the incredible and abundant spiritual blessings that You provide to Your children. In Jesus’ name, amen. (NASB)
- In what ways are you “lean”? In what ways is God “much”?
- Do you think your prayer life is “effective”? Why or why not? If not, how can you increase its effectiveness?
- What is the key to unlocking the “muchness” of God in your life?