Prayer of the Righteous

We’d love to hear from you throughout this blog series as we discuss how to pray effectively for the animals! [1] Of course, we also strive to partner with God in speaking and working toward their liberation from suffering. But when God gave humanity free will, we were also given ability to tap into God’s power through prayer. Christ wants His bride, the Church, to consent and take part in everything He wants to do for His creation. Through our prayer, God’s kingdom power is released and angels are dispatched unto certain situations and individuals. Because other wills exist in this fallen world besides God’s and our own – Satan and his fallen angels also have free will and power – the constant spiritual warfare [2] can block us from seeing results of our prayers. We see evidence of this in scripture when God answers Daniel’s prayer and sends an angel, but the angel is attacked and delayed [3]. Nevertheless, we cannot underestimate their importance, especially when God’s creatures need them so desperately. After all, humanity’s first assignment from God was the role of protectors over the animal kingdom, in the image of God’s loving dominion over us.  For more exploration of godly stewardship, see the HSUS’s “Eating Mercifully” video, and for more on spiritual warfare and why God needs prayer, see this sermon.

So, what does it mean to pray effectively? One verse that provides insight is James 5:16. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (other translations have ‘fervent prayer’ or ‘earnest prayer’).  Let’s first examine what is meant by a righteous person (which means to be ‘rightly related’).

The very first thing to settle is whether we’re praying to the one true living God, in the only Name with the power to save and answer. There is much evidence to believe that Jesus was the perfect revelation of God and was in fact God (the exact representation of his being – Hebrews 1:3). Even in doubts I always pray in his name, not to an unknown force or to ‘the universe’ which itself is a finite creation… The Creator God is a real and relational being!

In fact, when I learned about animal cruelty I really wanted to reject all faith, but there was too much evidence for the divinity of Jesus. Even secular historical scholars agree He existed. There is a stronger case for His crucifixion and resurrection than for any other belief system. (Some resources for investigating the resurrection can be explored in this note; and here is one for investigating the problem of evil). Despite the unfounded claims, Jesus is not a copy of other religions and is vastly different!  [Watch “Zeitgeist REFUTED & DEBUNKED! (Religious Portion)“]

I couldn’t ignore the evidence simply because my negative view of God made it difficult to face.   So I started praying in the name of Jesus for Him to reveal himself if He is really God. Scripture promises that when we keep seeking God wholeheartedly, we will find Him [5], and this proved true for me as it has for countless others.  For some incredible testimonies of Jewish professionals who were anti-Christianity but found Christ to be the real Messiah, see “I Met Messiah“.   Although it was factual logic and reason that kept me searching and discovering truth, God’s supernatural presence and healing also testified in my spirit to validate this truth [4].  Praise Jesus, He revealed himself to be much more loving and beautiful than religion portrays! And more personal than any spirituality that lacks a real relationship with our Creator, for which our souls yearn.

The next thing to consider is whether we are submitted to God in real relationship through active faith in Christ. This is what is meant by a ‘righteous’ person (rightly related to God). None of us is righteous on our own. But Jesus already died for the sins of the world to forgive us all! [6] However, love must be chosen freely, so He gives us free will to choose to be reconciled to Him or not. As in all relationships, forgiveness can be one-sided and only takes one person, but reconciliation must be mutual and takes both people saying yes.

This is more than just a one-time salvation prayer. As in a human relationship, it takes both people walking in relationship, honoring each other out of love. One person can always choose to walk away. God will never break covenant with us, but humans can and do break that covenant. Amazingly, our gracious God always wants to accept us back with open arms, so falling short doesn’t mean hopelessness. But just like a marriage, if one person is consistently unfaithful without real repentance (meaning changing their mind and therefore their actions, turning away from sin), that’s not really a covenant at all.
If wondering how effective our prayers are, we can start by reflecting on these questions:

To whom am I praying?

Am I fully committed/made righteous (rightly related to God) through Christ?

[1] Many excerpts in this series taken from our last prayer event, “Praying Effectively for the Animals.” Thank you to all who participated and we hope to see all of you in our next one!
[2] Ephesians 6:12
[3] Daniel 10:11-13
[4] Psalm 145:18, Jeremiah 29:13, 33:3, Matthew 7:7-8, James 4:8
[5] John 15:26, Romans 8:16, Hebrews 10:15, 1 John 5:6-7
[6] 1 John 2:2, 2 Corinthians 5:14


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