“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16 NASB
I loathe the doctor's office. I will not go unless I really have to, and usually it takes an emergency. The same relationship I have with the doctor is easily emulated within my relationship with God. It's easy to come to God when I am wounded, broken, when I have an emergency. In this way, I'm only seeking God to fix the now and the immediate future. In this way, I am not doing anything about my past. In this way, my prayers are not to be as effective in God's ears.
As read in James, the effective prayer comes from a righteous person. So what does it mean to be righteous? Just to be clear, it does not mean to be perfect. God does not require us to be perfect to come to Him. It does mean that we are to bring our petition by first settling the past before dealing with the future.
If I was to borrow money several times from you, one day coming to you and saying, "I will never again borrow money from you", that only settles half the issue. This only concerns the future, not the past.
The righteous person comes to God, confesses their sins, leaving them to be in the past. Then, only when the past is settled at the foot of the throne, can a person bring forth an effective petition about the future.
What past do you have to be settled with God? What do you have to confess today?