The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)
My father may have been gone for several years now, but he was the sort of man who cast a long shadow. Prior to his death in 2010, some sort of minor crisis in my life sparked the conversation, the sort I would have readily shared with my father in our weekly calls before he suffered a stroke and was confined to a nursing home. The topic probably came up because I had run out of polite conversation sitting there beside him in that depressing setting, making me resort to relaying my problems that seemed so insignificant in comparison to his.
My father was the Mr. Fixit in our family, so, after I explained my situation I added, “I didn’t tell you because I knew there was nothing you could do.” Ever the life coach he both schooled and humbled me by saying, “I could have prayed.”
My father may have been complex but he was also a plainspoken man and his words that day rang true. How often do we search for the right thing to do for someone we know who is in need when the one best choice requires no money, no manpower, and very little time? Simply to bow our heads in prayer is usually all God asks of us. Even in our most tongue-tied way we can pray effectively. Remember the passage in Romans 8:26 where Paul reassures us:
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Where our limited abilities leave off, the Holy Spirit is all too ready and willing to pick up our heavy load and make intercession for us. All we have to do is swallow our pride and ask.
Please grant us the wisdom to come to You first instead of using prayer as the avenue of last resort.