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Prayer Of The Righteous


Jeremy Mwangelwa


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The Prayer of the Righteous

Today, we are going to talk about prayer.

James 5:16 ...The Prayer of a righteous man availeth much...

The King James translation says ...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. The Greek text does not have the words “effectual” and “fervent.” So, we’ll stick with just what the text says.

This is the text:
ἐξομολογεῖσθε οὖν ἀλλήλοις τὰς ἁμαρτίας, καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ ἀλλήλων, ὅπως ἰαθῆτε. πολὺ ἰσχύει δέησις δικαίου ἐνεργουμένη.

Now since we can’t read Greek or understand Greek, we’ll translate it. But we’ll translate it word for word. Meaning, we’ll translate each word as it is written in the Greek.

So, this:
ἐξομολογεῖσθε οὖν ἀλλήλοις τὰς ἁμαρτίας, καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ ἀλλήλων, ὅπως ἰαθῆτε. πολὺ ἰσχύει δέησις δικαίου ἐνεργουμένη.

Confess therefore to one another the sins, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. Much prevails [the] prayer of a righteous [man] being made effective.

The words “the” and “man” are implied.

The word translated “prevails” is ἰσχύει, pronounced as “ischeyi.” This word means “to be strong, to have power.”

The word translated “being made effective” is ἐνεργουμένη, pronounced as “energoumene,” which comes from “energeó.” This word means “to be at work, to work, to do.”

Much has power the prayer of the righteous to work.

So, the last part of James 5:16 is really saying the prayer of the righteous has much power to work. The prayer of a righteous person gets things done. In other words, Yahweh answers the prayers of the righteous.

When the righteous get to praying, Yahweh gets to working.

1 John 5:14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (NASB)

John 14:13 Whatever you ask in My Name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (NASB)

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing [continue in prayer daily] (ESV)

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: [keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking and Yahweh will answer your prayer according to His will]. (KJV)

Asking in Yahshua’s Name is asking in the Father’s will. It’s not just placing “in the Name of Yahshua” at the end of your prayer. It’s asking in His Name, His character, His being. It’s asking as if Yahshua was asking for Himself.

Doing things according to the Father’s will, or for the glory of the Father, or in Yahshua’s Name, is doing things righteously. Yahweh promises to answer all prayers asked this way. All prayers asked according to the Father’s will are always answered.

Yahweh answers the prayers of the righteous. So, let’s look at some people in the Scriptures whose prayers were answered. Then, you saints will tell me the righteous things that they were doing.

Before, we go on. Please tell me, what is the opposite of righteousness? What is the opposite of being righteous?

The opposite of being righteous is being sinful. The opposite of righteousness is sinfulness. It is a state of living in sin especially when you know you’re in sin. How does Yahweh respond to those who are knowingly living in sin when it comes to prayers?

Proverbs 28:9 If one turns away his ear from hearing the law [lawlessness, sinfulness], even his prayer is an abomination.

John 9:31 We know that Elohim [God] does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of Elohim and does his will, Elohim listens to him.

Psalms 66:18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord [Adonai] would not have listened.

Yahweh does not answer the prayers of people who are knowingly living in sin or people who disregard his commandments and statutes.

So, let’s look at some people in the Scriptures whose prayers were answered. Then, you saints will tell me the righteous things that they were doing.

We’ll start with Daniel.

Daniel was one of the Israelites from Judah who were taken into captivity from Babylon between 605 B.C. and 586 B.C. He was a young man, maybe a teenager, when he was taken into Babylon. Because Daniel was righteous, Yahweh made him great in a pagan country. Daniel served as a chief advisor to the kings of Babylon, and the king of The Medes and the Persians.

Yahweh punished Judah to be the servants of the Babylonians, Medes and the Persians for 70 years. Daniel spent those 70 years in Babylon. Daniel was reading the writings of the prophet Jeremiah and determined that the 70 years of captivity were about to end. Daniel prayed the following prayer and Yahweh answered Daniel through the angel Gabriel, the same angel who would tell Mary about 500 years later that she would give birth to Yahshua.

So, we have part of the prayer here. So, saints you tell me the righteous things Daniel was doing. You’ll have to remember them or write them down.

Daniel -

“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.

I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, "O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

To you, O Lord, belongs righteousness, but to us open shame, as at this day, to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you.”...
Daniel 9:1-7 ESV

While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the Lord my God for the holy hill of my God, while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. He made me understand, speaking with me and saying, "O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore consider the word and understand the vision.”
Daniel 9:20-23 ESV

- I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet - Daniel was studying the Word.

The Scripture says in 2 Tim. 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

If you don’t study Yahweh’s Word, how will you know Yahweh’s will? How will you know who He is? His likes and His desires? If you know who He is, then you’ll know what to ask so that you will always receive.

When I say study the Scriptures, I’m not talking about Bible study. That’s corporate study. We only do this once a week. I’m talking about individual study. How often do you study the Scriptures to know more about who Yahweh is?

- with fasting - Daniel was fasting. Fasting should be a habit of believers. Seeking Yahweh with prayer and fasting.

- confessing his sins - Daniel was confessing his sins. Confessing your sins is a righteous thing to do. Yahshua told us that when we pray, we should say, “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name...Forgive us our trespasses (sins) as we forgive those who trespass (sin) against us. Confessing your sins in prayer should be a daily thing.

Just as their was a perpetual sin offering, that’s the evening sacrifice Daniel is referring to, so you must continually confess your sins to Yahweh.

- one more thing, what other thing did Daniel do? If Yahweh has punished your country, or your city, or your people, or your church, what should you do? You should not only confess your sins but you should also confess the sins of your people!

Even the things that you did not personally do. Daniel was a probably a teenager when he was taken up to Babylon. Daniel wasn’t even born when Judah committed some of those sins, yet Daniel acted as a priest over his people and confessed their sins too. That is a righteous thing to do.

Hannah -

OK, next we’ll look at Hannah.

Hannah lived in the time of the judges. The time of the judges was a period of about 150 - 200 years between the death of Joshua and Israel’s first legitimate king. Probably between 1235 B.C. and 1050 B.C. There was no one real leader in Israel during this time.

Hannah was married to a man named Elkanah. Elkanah had two wives Hannah and Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. Peninnah used to tease and bully Hannah, because Hannah had no children.

But Hannah did not tease and bully Peninnah back. Instead, she prayed to Yahweh for a child. She said that when the child was born, and weaned, she would take that child to be a priest and serve Yahweh. So, Hannah would not see her child every day. She would only see her child once a year when she went to Shiloh to offer sacrifices.

Yahweh answered Hannah’s prayer. Hannah gave birth to a boy. She called him Samuel. Hannah did what she promised. When Samuel was a boy, she took him to serve as a priest.

Samuel later became a great prophet, and was the prophet who many years later would anoint David. David went on to become Israel’s greatest king.

Hannah shows us the importance of praying for our children, even before we know we’re going have them, and dedicating them to Yahweh even before they are born. Who knows what Yahweh could do to them? Yahweh answers the prayers of the righteous.

Let’s read about Hannah and her prayer, and let’s find out the righteous things she did.

“After they had eaten and drunk in Shiloh, Hannah rose. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat beside the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, "O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head." As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. And Eli said to her, "How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you." But Hannah answered, "No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation." Then Eli answered, "Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him." And she said, "Let your servant find favor in your eyes." Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.”
1 Samuel 1:9-18 ESV

“They rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord; then they went back to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, "I have asked for him from the Lord."”
1 Samuel 1:19-20 ESV

- Hanna was obeying Yahweh, keeping His commandments, and offering sacrifices even when He hadn’t given her what she wanted. That shows that Hannah wanted Yahweh more than she wanted to have a baby.

She wanted the healer, more than the healing. She wanted the Savior, more than the saving. She wanted the Giver, more than the giving. She wanted Yahweh more than anything.

I prayed for my twin girls and twin boys not too long ago. I would like to have twins. Morgan and I have talked about this. I think twins are fun. Twice the work and twice the pleasure! Now, it may not be Yahweh’s will for us to have twins. It may not even be His will for us to have any children. But, whatever His will is, if I’m going to be righteous, my attitude will be Thy will be done, oh Yahweh.

Matthew 6:33 Seek first the Kingdom of Elohim and His righteousness, and all these things [things you ask according to His will] shall be added to you.

You must want Yahweh for Yahweh, not for what He could give you. Don’t forsake Yahweh because He refuses to give you what you want. Yahweh is always good. All His ways are perfect and worthy to be praised!

- Hannah poured out her soul before Yahweh. Hannah gave Yahweh every single thing she had. All her thoughts, all her being, every bit of herself, she gave to Yahweh. It’s being completely naked, completely transparent before Yahweh.

It’s like a burnt offering. Every bit of the burnt offering is consumed. The whole thing. Not one bit left. This is what Yahweh desires of us. He wants us to be wholly, completely, fully given to Him. This is righteousness.

This is exactly what Messiah did. In Isaiah 53:12, the same thing is spoken of him, though it’s not the same work.

It is written of Him, “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”
Isaiah 53:12 ESV

- Now, one last thing. Name one other thing Hannah did that was righteous? This one may not be that obvious. Let’s see if the elders can find this one too?

What does Exodus 13:1,2 say, “Yahweh said to Moses, "Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine."”
Exodus 13:1-2 ESV

What was Hannah’s vow to Yahweh? That if Yahweh gave Hannah a son, she would dedicate Him to Yahweh. Dedication meant serving in the priesthood and not pursuing your own vocation and your own desires.

Hannah was simply praying the will of Yahweh. She was promising to do what Yahweh had already said should be done. I think the reason it is highlighted here is because the time of the judges was not a very righteous time. It says of the time that everyone was doing what they thought was right in their own eyes.

They didn’t follow what Yahweh thought was right.

So, it shows just how close Hannah was to Yahweh and to His Word.

Finally, we’ll look at Moses.

Moses -

I think we all know who Moses is. Moses was Israel’s first national leader. Yahweh used him and led Israel out of Egypt by a mighty hand. They passed through the Red Sea on dry land, were given water to drink, meat, and bread in the desert wilderness. Yahweh showed might miracles.

Yahweh led Moses and Israel to Mount Sinai. On this mountain, Moses was to receive laws about how this new nation, Israel, was to live, behave, and relate to other nations. So, Moses went up to the mountain while the people remained at the bottom. Joshua also went up with Moses, but was lower on the mountain than where Moses was.

Moses was on the mountain for many days. The people down below became impatient and didn’t know what took Moses so long, or if he died on the mountain or what. So, they decided to make an idol and worship it, and the next day eat, drink, and play.

Yahweh told Moses what was happening, and told Moses to go down and straighten things out. Yahweh wanted to kill everybody and make a new nation out of Moses. But, Moses prayed and Yahweh heard his prayer and did not destroy the people.

So, let’s look at Moses’ prayer and let’s see if we can find the righteous things that he was doing. Yahweh answers the prayers of the righteous.

“When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, "Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." So Aaron said to them, "Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me."

So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, "These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!" When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, "Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord." And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.

And the Lord said to Moses, "Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them. They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it and said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!'" And the Lord said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you." But Moses implored the Lord his God and said, "O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, 'With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth'? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people.

Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, 'I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.'" And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people. Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand, tablets that were written on both sides; on the front and on the back they were written.”
Exodus 32:1-15 ESV

Now, we know Moses obeyed Yahweh by going from Midian to Egypt, doing everything that Yahweh told him to do, and leading Israel out of Egypt. All that is right yes. But, what do we see in the text about what Moses did.

- Moses prayed for His brothers and sisters. James 5:16 tells us to pray for one another. It is a righteous thing to pray for others. Yahshua in Heaven is always praying for you.

Philemon 1:4 “I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers,”
Philemon 1:4 ESV

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,”
Philippians 1:3-4 ESV

- Moses asked Yahweh to do His will. Yahweh will always perform His will. Moses “reminded” Yahweh of all the promises he made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Of course, Yahweh didn’t forget His Word to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But praying Yahweh’s Word will always get results because Yahweh’s Word never returns void.

It will always accomplish what it is set out to do. That’s why saints who align themselves according to Yahweh’s Word, and pray Yahweh’s Word, always accomplish and do mighty things in Yahweh.

So, in conclusion I hope we have all learned about the prayers of the righteous that avail much. The prayers of the righteous have power to do work. Yahweh answers the prayers of the righteous. I hope we have all seen examples of what that righteousness means.

May Yahweh bless you all!