Some years ago, our daughter Jordan was experiencing severe headaches so I decided to take her to the doctor, who put her through a series of tests, including an MRI exam. Richard was preaching in South Korea at the time, and you can imagine how I went from doctor’s appointment to doctor’s appointment with Jordan. She was in great pain, not getting much relief, especially in the middle of the night. I was exhausted and concerned, home without my husband, and our two younger daughters also needing my attention.
Finally, I reached the end of my rope, and I sat down with my Bible and asked the Lord to give me an answer from his Word. My attention was drawn to James 5:16, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
This time as I read the verse, however, I found myself putting the word “mother” in place of the word “man.” The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous mother availeth much. This isn’t to say that I was rewriting the Bible, but rather, that I recognize that the word “man” in the Bible often means “mankind,” and that includes mothers!
I also felt the Lord teaching me a deeper truth ― that we each can put our name in the place of the word “man” in this verse. “The effectual fervent prayer of Bob, or Sue, or John, or Carol ― or whoever is in right relationship with God ― availeth much.” What matters is that the prayer is first, effectual – or effective – and fervent … in other words, a prayer of faith! And second, that we are in right standing with God. The word “Righteous” means right standing, and if we have confessed our sins and been forgiven of them, and we stand before God with faith believing, then we are in “right standing!”
Therefore, this verse came to mean to me, “The fervent prayer of a mother in right standing with God ― a prayer prayed with faith that the prayer will be effective ― accomplishes much.” I claimed that verse as my own.
That night I opened the front door of my house, went out on the porch, and called out to Heaven with faith and with fervor, “God, I need for You to heal Jordan. Devil, you can’t have my children. Take your hands off Jordan and our other daughters. They don’t belong to you. They belong to God.” And then I slammed the door on the devil and went back in to my children, fully expecting a good report about Jordan.
That good report did come within the next couple of days. And best of all, Jordan’s headaches left.