13 Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17 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. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.
Message: Persevere through Prayer
Time: James is thought to be the brother of Jesus. It is written about AD 45.
What the Lord is Saying:
1. The Call to Prayer
There are 3 anyone statements: Is anyone suffering? Is anyone cheerful? Is anyone sick? I recalled that James 1 started with the idea that we have trials and the first action to the trial is asking God for wisdom. When we are going through a difficulty, the first response is to talk to God and ask him for help. In this scenario the response to each statement is prayer. Our focus remains on the Lord and looking to Him for help. This idea is central to our faith - we depend on God. We trust in Him. We rely on Him.
2. The Character of Prayer
The final statement is in response to sickness and calling on the elders of the church to come and pray over the person. He calls on leaders of the church and they anoint him with oil. Oil in Bible times was medicinal and was used to treat lacerations, like the parable of the Samaritan in Luke 10:34. It is used to express concern and it strengthens. Symbolically it is the filling of the Holy Spirit. Is this a practice still today, that is, to anoint people with oil? According to our church, it is still a practice. James is encouraging us in the practie of church leaders interceding for one another.
We are to have faith, a fervent energetic spirit, and righteousness.
a. Faith is the means of the power of prayer (v. 15 - prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick). Faith is conviction, it is trust, full confidence, and no doubting. Personally, I think it is very hard to pray without any doubt.
b. Fervent energetic spirit (vs. pray for one another as effective prayer (v. 15-16) we are passionate about what God wants.
c. A righteous individual (vs. the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much v. 16)
3. The Consequence of Prayer
v. 15 - faith will restore the one who is sick
v. 15 - they will be forgiven him if he committed sins
v. 16 - mutual confession provides healing - confess to one another
v. 16 - prayer can accomplish much
example is Joni and we are not to put faith in faith; result is a transformed life.
Promise: Prayer can accomplish much, in my life, in other lives.
Prayer: Lord, help me to learn how to continually pray. Thank you for Hope Church and their pastors and bringing the Word through them. Thank you for Pastor Roy and this message he gave this morning. Teach me now to continue to depend on You and trust you throughout all of life's circumstances. Help me to pray more for in doing this I trust you for the outcomes of life and acknowledge that I am not in control.