Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Prayer availeth much. Prayer works. The Word of God says that we are to confess our faults one to another. Faults are those places where we have fallen aside from the Word. Why are we to tell other believers about our faults? Not so that they can criticize us, but so that they can pray for us and we can be healed. We are to pray for one another because prayer availeth much in every situation!
The word availeth is not a word that we use much today. The context of James 5:16 gives us a clue as to the meaning of "availeth much."
Elias was a man subject to like pasions 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.
And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
Two prayers are cited here. Elijah prayed once and it did not rain for three years and six months. Matthew 5:45 says that God sends rain upon the just and the unjust. Rain on the earth is normal. It is the way God designed the earth to bring forth fruit. Elijah prayed and it did not rain for three years and six months. Then, he prayed a second time and it began to rain. Now that is effectual prayer! That is prayer that availeth. That is prayer that works. That is prayer that has force. That is prayer that is powerful.
The word "availeth" is the Greek word "ischuo" from the root word "ischus." God's Word is its own context for study. Ischuo is used 28 times in the New Testament. To find out a word's Biblical meaning you must trace its use in the Bible. Ischuo is translated into English as follows:
1 CAN DO
The first use of the word ischuo in the New Testament is in Matthew 5:13.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good [ischuo] for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Salt is good, it is useful and has strength, when it is "salty." When salt has "lost its savour," it no longer is effective as a seasoning. You can see from this first use, that ischuo means to have effect, usefulness, or strength.
And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might [ischuo] pass by that way.
The two possessed men were so fierce and strong that no man was able to pass by them. Ischuo means to have strength and ability.
But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole [ischuo] need not a physician, but they that are sick.
Ischuo means to have strength and wholeness.
So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed [ischuo].
Acts 19:10 says that for two years the believers continued learning and speaking God's Word and that ALL ASIA heard the Word. In Acts 19:20 the word of God grew in the lives of the believers until it prevailed. It had great effectiveness. People were healed and the adversary was beaten in their lives.
I can do [ischuo] all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Christ in you gives you the strength to get results. In every situation, rich or poor, we have the strength to be effective and prevail because of the Christ in us.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth [ischuo] much.
We have been made righteous in Christ Jesus. We have God's Word and we have the spirit of God living within. When we pray for one another, our prayers have great power. They are effective.