Charles Finney writes of “agonizing prayer.” What he means by this is a deep connection of the individual with the heart of God for the salvation of others. It’s not an external effort—the harder we pray, the more will happen—but an internal identification with the will of God and a sincere desire to see His will fulfilled. Properly understood, this type of prayer stems from humility and will never become proud when an answer is received. Finney explains it this way:
Another reason why God requires this sort of prayer is that it is the only way in which the Church can be properly prepared to receive great blessings without being injured by them. When the Church is thus prostrated in the dust before God, and is in the depth of agony in prayer, the blessing does them good. While at the same time, if they had received the blessing without this deep prostration of soul, it would have puffed them up with pride. But as it is, it increases their holiness, their love, their humility.
The efficacy of earnest prayer is referenced in the book of James also:
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.
Let that be an encouragement to us all.