In my town, there are neighborhoods that literally have a place of worship on every corner. Many have billboards out in front to inform passersby of the services offered, to quote scripture or to share some thought provoking ideas: "Exercise for Christians: Run from Satan!"
I often find myself mulling over these messages. In front of the Christian Science Reading Room is this quote: "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16 KJV). This is a plug for prayer, and for me, it brings up a lot of the questions I have about prayer, particularly about prayers being answered, or perhaps not being answered, and why sometimes people have "success" with prayers, or they don't.
Perhaps, like me, you are often in your least righteous form when you need prayer the most. And, of course, "availeth much" doesn't mean "everything, always", the way we want it, when we want it. But I am definitely on board with "fervent" because it has its roots in "love with energy".
Personally, for quite awhile, I thought I had discovered the secret of successful prayer. I had given up the idea of asking for specific, material things and instead asked for "clarity and wisdom" whenever I had a problem. I can tell you that this particular prayer has been foolproof, that it has never not been answered, that it arrives like a lightning bolt and that I am instantly changed by it. It was clear to me that this was the secret to successful prayer and a no-brainer; after all, what couldn't be made better in this life with more wisdom and clarity?