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Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: Effective Prayer (James 1:2 – 8, 5:13 – 18)
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Explain the meaning of prayer as a means of communicating with God,
ii. Explain why some prayers are not answered,
iii. Indicate how to pray,
iv. Identify types of prayer.
Prayer is a means of communicating with God. Prayer is very important in the life of a Christian. It is the means of interacting with God and it also serves as a weapon of defence against the evil ones. This was the reason why Christ, during his earthly ministry, emphasized much on prayer. He told his disciples that they should watch and pray and even taught the disciples how to pray. (Mathew 6:1 – 14)
St. James Teaching on Effective Prayers (James 1:2 – 8, 5:13 – 18)
Conditions For Effective Prayers
Some of the conditions for effective prayers are steadfastness, perseverance and faith. St. James said:
“Count it all joy; my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effects, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith without doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways will receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:2 – 8)
St. James is saying in effect that Christians should pray, believing God that He would surely do what they ask Him. No matter the temptation, no matter the suffering. Christians must persevere They must not doubt because if they doubt, they may likely not receive answers to their prayers. The Bible says in Hebrew 11:6:
“Without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him”.
Another condition for effective prayers is that christians must not ask wrongly. They must pray according to the will of God and with right motive. For this reason, they should ask for God’s wisdom to direct them in the right thing to ask God.
Again, Christians must confess their sins before God and take decision to forsake them so that God can hear their prayers. For the Bible says that the fervent prayer of the righteous has great power in its effects. So, to make prayer effective, Christians should endeavour to live a righteous life.
Types Of Prayer
St. James further mentioned various types of prayer as he said:
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man and the Lord will raise him up; and if he had committed sins he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain and the earth brought forth its fruits”. (James 5:13 – 18).
James, in his teaching mentioned various types of prayers that ought to be prayed at various times and conditions. These are:
i. When people are cheerful, they should sing praises to God and appreciate God. This is prayer of adoration to God.
ii. When one is sick, elders of the church would pray for him; in this case, it is intersession prayer. The person cannot pray effectively for himself, others have to pray for him.
iii. A Christian that is in need should pray by himself asking God to meet his various needs; this is the prayer of supplication and petition to God.
iv. Dedication prayer is when people commit themselves a new to God to remain His children.
v. Confessional prayer is said when people perceives they have sinned against God and so they confess their sins with strong determination to forsake such sin.
Factors That May Hinder Effectiveness Of Prayer
i. Lack of faith on the part of the person praying
ii. Unforgiving spirit on the part of the person praying
iii. Repetition of the same words.
iv. Lack of repentance from personal sins.
v. Lack of concentration.
vi. Lack of consistency.
vii. Asking wrongly, God knows what is best for us as His children.
Done studying? See all previous lessons on Christian Religious Studies
Take a quick test for this lesson
i. What is prayer? List four types of prayers and give reasons why some people’s prayers are not answered by God.
ii. Outline the teaching of James on prayer. Mention any four factors that may hinder the effectiveness of prayer.
iii. Discuss various kinds of prayer that could be prayed as stated by St. James and the conditions that can necessitate those kinds of prayer.
Questions answered correctly? Kudos!
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Enuofu, P.N. (2006). A Text of the Christian Religious Knowledge for senior secondary schools. Enu-Mary Petrus Publications.
Orovwuje, B.O., & Okoli, E.U. (Ed.). (2018). Essential Christian Religious Studies for Senior Secondary Schools. Tonad Publishers.