James 5:16 tells us that, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  The word ‘fervent’ is from the Greek word ‘energeo’ and denotes activity or work.  The word is translated ‘work’ or ‘worketh’ in several places in scripture. (Romans 7:5, 1 Corinthians 12:6, etc.).  We learn from this that it is the active, concerted prayer that produces positive results.  Let’s look at Colossians 4:12 which says, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always LABOURING FERVENTLY FOR YOU IN PRAYERS, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”  Epaphras was one who prayed fervently for others.  He ‘worked’ in prayer.  He did not take prayer lightly.  He prayed with zeal, focus, and faith. 

It takes preparation to pray fervently.  Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”  We must delight ourselves in the Lord.  We must find our pleasure in Him.  We must truly desire His perfect will in all situations.  When we want what the Lord wants, our prayers will reflect that.  Our prayers will be structured in such a way that we are asking the Lord to answer our prayers according to His will and purpose.  We will be less likely to pray selfishly. 

Fervent prayers will be Spirit-led.  Ephesians 6:18 instructs us, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication IN THE SPIRIT, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”  How do we ‘pray in the Spirit’?  It begins with the realization that we do not know exactly what we should pray for.  It is the act of discerning the moving of the Spirit and allowing Him to lead us in our requests to the Lord.  We read in Romans 8:26-27, “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. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” 

Of course, we do not always know what the exact will of the Lord is.  We do well to ask the Lord to answer our prayers according to His will.  After all, we do want the perfect will of the Lord to be done, don’t we?  The Lord Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, THY WILL BE DONE.” (Matthew 26:42).  2 Samuel 22:31 tells us, “As for God, HIS WAY IS PERFECT…”  We can take great comfort in realizing we can NEVER talk the Lord into doing something that is against His perfect will.  He loves us too much for that!

What is the difference between praying vigorously or gently?  I believe it has nothing to do with how LOUD we pray, or how INTENSE we petition the Lord.  It has to do with the condition of the heart.  We can very quietly, or even silently, pray fervently.  It is when we put aside our own will and solemnly seek the Lord’s will.  Too often, we address the Lord seeking only our own will.  Proverbs 16:25 tells us, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”  May we learn to love and seek God’s will for all our needs.

Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”  Let us always pray with thanksgiving, knowing the Lord is going to answer us according to our particular needs and according to HIS PERFECT AND HOLY WILL.  (446.4)