There are some prayers that God does not attend to, because “the Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29). There are some prayers that Jehovah attends to with great care and interest, because “the prayer of the upright is His delight” (Proverbs 15:8). What James describes in the New Testament, using Elijah as an example (James 5:16-18), David demonstrates in Psalm 17—“the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
In fact, Psalm 17 is a divine commentary on James 5:16. Verses 1-5 describe the characteristics of a righteous man, “a just cause” (v. 1) of one whose steps are obediently in Jehovah’s paths (vv. 4-5). Verses 6-12 describe the effective prayer of a righteous man, one who has called upon Jehovah and has been heard (v. 6) and who seeks to be kept as the apple of Jehovah’s eye, hidden under the protective shadow of His wing (v. 8). Verses 13-15 describe the fervent prayer of a righteous man, one who desires to see Jehovah’s face in righteousness and be satisfied when he awakes in His likeness (v. 15).
Regardless of which testament one studies, the distinct message is “the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Therefore, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).