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Saturday, February 24th, 2024
the First Week of Lent
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Daily Devotionals
Bowen's Daily Meditations
Devotional: February 24th

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’ The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." - James 5:16.

We are not to take the word righteous here in an impossible sense. "In many things we offend all," says James; and in the very verse we quote from, he says, " Confess your fault one to another." Otherwise understood, the promise would check prayer, instead of exciting it. The righteous man is the true Christian; one who hungers and thirsts after righteousness, and in whose life appears the fruit of the Spirit. But the expression is doubtless intended to discourage the man who, while he gives himself to prayer, regards iniquity in his heart.

The Greek consists of five words. One of these we translate " of a righteous man." Another, " the effectual fervent." The word so rendered, means literally " inwrought," and seems to refer to the energetic operation of the Spirit upon the heart. Our word " fervent" is a very expressive word, and does not much lag behind the original. " Fervent prayer of the righteous can much."

" We ask, and receive not." It is not surprising. The promise is not to prayer, but to true prayer, fervent prayer, prayer with the whole heart in it; with concentration of desire, singleness of aim, warmth of affection, strength of purpose, absolute grasp of the promise, and invincible perseverance. Consider Abraham, Jacob, Elijah. Your prayers are not fervent. You pray, and the response from a throne of grace is, " The fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much." The records of that throne will furnish a satisfactory account of the fortunes of every prayer.

" Can much." The Bible generally disparages human ability. It pours contempt upon the might of princes. It some times laughs to scorn the great armies and proud navies of the nations. Yet it points out a way by which man may clothe himself with strength; with "much" strength. How much? This modest word stretches into infinity, and discloses omnipotence within it. God giveth power to his witnesses, his fervent petitioners, to shut heaven, to smite the earth, to turn waters to blood. - (Revelation 10:6.) Through Christ strengthening me, I can do all things.


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