July 08, 2021

Faith—Praying Effectively

James 5:13-18

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

—  James 5:16

A Nigerian pastoral leader came to visit us one day. He had attended a meeting of the college’s board of trustees. Before rushing back home, he insisted on a visit to our home.

I recognized the imposing figure as he stepped out of the car and approached our door—this strong, gifted pastor. We greeted each other warmly and stepped into our living room, where my wife joined us in her motorized chair.

After a few common-courtesy questions about our family, our work, and our health, the pastor became earnest. He had heard about our situation; he knew we were struggling. My wife’s multiple sclerosis was making life more and more challenging. He was deeply concerned.

He had come to be a pastor to us. In the Hausa language he asked if he might pray with us. Of course he could. Approaching my wife’s chair, the elderly pastor went to his knees, took her hands in his, and poured out his soul in an earnest prayer for my wife, for me, for our sons.

It was moving, beautiful, heartwarming. Effective? My wife still had MS. But we knew we had been brought into the presence of God by this praying servant of God. Our courage was renewed. The prayer of a righteous Nigerian pastor was movingly effective in our lives. God is good—we tasted it afresh as the pastor prayed for us.

Lord, thank you for people with the gift of prayer, and that the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Harvey Kiekover

Harvey Kiekover grew up on a Michigan farm and studied to go into pastoral ministry. He served as a teacher in Nigeria and as a pastor and chaplain in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He and his wife became the parents of three sons, and he enjoys spending time with his six grandchildren.

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