by J. Gerald Harris

The Prayer of a Righteous Man
J. Gerald Harris
James 5: 16-18

When Joni Erickson was 17 years old, she was an active, beautiful teenager. But a diving accident broke her neck, leaving her paralyzed. She is a quadriplegic today. Many of you have seen the painting of Joni where she puts a paintbrush in her mouth and paints beautiful scenes and calligraphy.
Each one takes her many, many hours to do. She is a delightful Christian and speaks at many Christian conferences. Recently she was at a conference and at the conclusion asked everybody there to get on their knees before God, and everybody went to their knees except, of course, Joni.
In commenting on that night she said it broke her heart and she literally wept because she could not go to her knees. She prayed a prayer that night. "Lord Jesus, I can't wait for the day when I will rise up on resurrected legs. The first thing I will do then is to drop on grateful, glorified knees and worship you."
Here is a woman who cannot kneel, but wishes she could. How many of us can kneel, but simply refuses to do so. This passage of scriptures should teach all of us something about bowing before the Lord and praying fervent, focused and frequent prayers.
By the way, the author of this epistle, the apostle James, was known as a great man of prayer. He is referred to as "camel knees." His knees were callused because he had spent so much time on his knees in prayer.
James uses one of the laws of biblical interpretation know as the law of illustrative mention. He states his position and then takes his illustrative mention to demonstrate the proposition he has declared. And so James says, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." And then he goes right on and says, "Elijah was such a man."
I've been in I Kings 17 and 18 reading the story of Elijah. And it's strange, but there is very little said about his prayer life. Certainly he prayed and his prayers are recorded. But the ...

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