James 5:16 says that the "fervent effective prayer of a righteous man avails much." This scripture reveals a few keys that links righteousness with fervency and effectiveness. Our righteousness comes from the blood of Christ which enables us to come boldly before God's throne of grace that we may find mercy and grace to help in our time of need. Righteousness sets the stage for our fervency.
Fervent means to show intensity of feeling or spirit. It can also be described as warm or even a hot passion. Effective means prayer that works. Righteousness combined with fervency creates prayer that works. Verse 17 provides us a picture of what James is saying. He refers to the prophet Elijah who prayed for rain to break a drought right after he had just confronted and defeated 450 prophets of Baal. He did this by calling fire down out of heaven to burn up his sacrifice that had been soaked in water.
If your prayer life lacks results, then maybe it is time to get fired up. That's what Elijah did. As he got fired up he brought fire down and demonstrated God's miracle working power in the face of idolatry. Elijah was a prophet with passion.
Jesus demonstrated his passion to. Zeal for God's house of prayer ate him up and caused him to drive out the merchandisers. Jesus also moved with compassion. Compassion occurs when the passion of anger comes into the presence of love. God hates sin and iniquity that hurts the people he loves. For example, Mark 3:1-6 tells the story of how Jesus healed a man with a withered hand when he was angry. Jesus went on to perform a number of supernatural miracles that was performed through compassion. That my friends is the key to prayer that works.