Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.James 5:16 NIV
This is really a quite remarkable verse. Many of us have the attitude toward prayer that it is a good thing for us to do; and we pray periodically, or maybe even regularly. But do we really expect it to make a difference? James tells us that prayer is powerful and effective. And he follows that with the example of Elijah praying for the rain to quit and later to return; and it did.
But before getting to carried away with what prayer can do for you, take note of a couple of things. Within the context of this passage the prayer talked about is prayer offered for others, not self. And the prayer is coming from a righteous person, not just from anyone. But if I am striving for personal holiness (1 Pet 1:16), and I am praying for others, I should expect that my prayer would be effective; that it will make a real difference in people’s lives. What a privilege God has granted us, to be an active part of his activity on the earth.