The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
We sometimes hear the saying that prayer does not change circumstances, but us. I’m sure there can be some truth in that. But it is surely partly in error. Indeed, somehow in God’s working in the world, our prayers can and do make a difference, if what we see in the narrative of scripture holds true today.
Over and over again, we see it. James cites the example of Elijah, a human being just like us. But he was not only a man, or person of God, but a person of prayer as well. I would think the two go hand in hand. Elijah prayed it would not rain, then he prayed that it would. All with God’s honor and will in mind. And God answered.
During the time I have left on earth, I don’t know what is left for me to do other than loving God and my family, and seeking to follow Christ in the fellowship of his church as a witness to the world. But I would like to become a person of prayer. One who prays along with others, and sees God intervene.
Such prayer must be surrounded with an endeavor to walk with God in fellowship with his people in and through Jesus. And the desire, yes- commitment to do so in love. And this means humility on our part. Willing to receive- seeing our need for that, as well as to give.
And we’re told in scripture not only to pray, but to keep on praying. Not giving up, or giving in to something less, or in opposition to the will of God in Jesus.
Jesus himself is our great example in this. He would get up early, at least occasionally, and spend significant time with his Father alone in prayer.
I have seen it make a difference in bringing about some things, or the start of some things in which seed I trust is planted. Which in God’s good time and way will bear eternal fruit in another’s life.
So yes, true prayer does begin to work change in us. If we keep at it. But it can work change in others. God himself is the one who brings the change of course, in answer to our prayers, according to his will in Jesus. Through us for each other and for the world.