"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months." - James 5:16b-17 KJV
The ESV translates this passage this way.
"The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth." - James 5:16-17 ESV
Fervent prayer is prayer with energy (energeō - Strong's G1754). Where does that energy come from? Is it emotional?
I have seen people 'pray hard' in a desperate way for things that haven't happened.
I find the example given here about Elijah very interesting. He prayed it wouldn't rain. That doesn't seem like a prayer that is helping someone. In fact, it is inconveniencing a lot of people. Droughts like that are devastating. God was closing off the faucet of logistical grace using Elijah's prayer.
"Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit." - James 5:18 ESV
Then He opened the faucet again using one man's prayer life.
I think there are times when all my prayers of, 'Bless this one and bless that one' have really just been carnal and have had no energy.
FYI. No one is sending positive energy toward anyone else. That whole economy is just bunk and wishful thinking. We are dealing with kingdoms and intelligent power structures. According to the Bible the universe is a creation of God and not some karmic power grid that can be tapped into and used as a courier service for warm fluffy starlight.
Witholding rain was exactly what God wanted to do for that time. That is what would build capacity. That is what would break the cycles of natural strength. God answered a man's prayer because that man had God's mind on a subject.
I don't know about you but I want to have an effective prayer life. How about this prayer.
'God, Please don't bless that person until they have a hunger to receive from You.'
Sounds harsh doesn't it? Maybe it is just the kind of unsentimental prayer that God will truly answer. Then the day will come for the shower of blessing and all the dust and grime that has built up will be washed away and replaced with freshness.
God please remove our moral 'niceness' and fill us with Your love. Make us salt and light. We don't want to be people of friendly phrases. We want to be people who have depth and true effectiveness. Only You can do this. We pray You will soften the hardened heart and give a backbone to those among us who are friendly but spineless.
Thank You God.