Q. What makes prayer effective?
A. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
God responds to who I am, not just formally to what I say (James 5:16). He listens to the totality of my life, not just my words. I am not righteous in myself (thankfully!), but in Christ and in His “positional righteousness,” I am to grow in practical righteousness. The more I grow in Christ through repentance and faith, the more conformed I am to the image of Christ and the more I pray according to His will. The more I pray according to His will, the more effective my prayers become. W. Bingham Hunter has called this “The Prayer/Obedience Cycle” (The God Who Hears, 214). It is not a “magic formula,” but rather, a description of God’s active work of conforming us to the image of His Son and conforming our prayers to be efficacious like His, as well (Romans 8:26-31).