According to a story circulated during World War I, a British soldier was caught one night while creeping secretively back to his tent from a nearby wooded area. He was immediately hauled before his commanding officer and charged with holding communications with the enemy. The man pleaded that he had gone into the woods to pray. That was his only defense.
“Have you been in the habit of spending hours in private prayer?” his officer asked roughly.
“Then get down on your knees and pray now like you’ve never prayed before!” the commander ordered.
The young man knew he could be shot at sunrise for the crime he was accused of committing. He knelt and poured out his soul in a powerful prayer that could have only been inspired by the Holy Spirit.
There was a hushed silence after the soldier’s “Amen.”
“You may go,” the officer finally said in hushed tones. “I believe your story. If you hadn’t drilled often, you couldn’t have done so well at review.”
The young soldier’s prayer was both effectual and fervent. It literally saved his life. He was able to pray effectively because he had prepared for some time, even before he knew what challenges he would face.
James 5:16 declares, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”