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What the heck is righteous?
Do it for the fat lady.
As a big fan of Jesus' brother James, I don't doubt he spoke the truth when he asserted that "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
Which of course may leave us wondering what the word righteous means.
Here are some clues:
Clue 1: Joseph Wambaugh has long been a favorite crime writer of mine, so when I noticed the Wambaugh name in a San Diego Union Tribune article, I read it. Should you care to do the same, a link to the whole article is on my facebook page.
The story was about how Mr. Wambaugh's son David had trouble becoming a model citizen until he discovered a different sort of prayer.
Here's his take on the subject: “I used to pray for things like a new girlfriend because the last one dumped me because I cheated on her. Or a new car because I totaled the last one in a high-speed car chase, or a new apartment because I got evicted from the last one for not paying rent.
“However, when I was incarcerated, I didn’t pray for anything like I used to pray for. I prayed that God would help me become the best dad, the best son, the best friend, and a law-abiding citizen. He answered those prayers I think because I was praying for the right things."
Clue 2: For a while I studied counselling therapy and learned, in my favorite class, Family Systems Therapy, that if you hope to change the family dynamic or the behavior of any family member, the only effective method is to concentrate on changing your own behavior.
Clue 3: Any attempt at being more righteous can be helped by praying, "Lord, please help me to love better."
Clue 4: For clue number 3 to be most effective we surely need to keep it in mind and try to act accordingly, which may well be what St. Paul meant when he told some Thessalonians to "Pray without ceasing."
Clue 5: Read Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger in which Franny is obsessed with that advice St. Paul gave (see clue 4) and tries to follow it by continually saying either aloud or silently "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. . ." She got the idea from reading The Way of a Pilgrim. Her mother thinks she has gone mad. Her brother Zooey, after many fun pages, finally guides her indirectly to Matthew 25:40 by telling her to do it for the fat lady (which, by the way, was an inspiration for my novel The Very Least).
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