Sermons

Summary: Effective praying is simply the result of effective Christian living. A good prayer life is the practical result of a life of commitment to Christ.

Two brothers came to the U.S. from Europe in 1845 to make

their fortune. The older brother had a trade for he knew how to

make sauerkraut, and so he took a wagon train west to California to

raise cabbages. The younger brother went to school to study

metallurgy. Several years passed, and the younger brother went to

visit his older brother. As the older brother was showing him

around the cabbage fields he noticed he was not paying any

attention to what he was explaining, and he protested, "You really

don't care about my work do you?" The younger brother picked up

a stone and said, "Do you know what this is? It is quartz, and that

yellow spot is gold. You have been raising cabbages on a gold field."

It turned out to be one of the greatest gold strikes ever in Eldorado

County.

Raising cabbages on a gold field is what every person does when

they fail to fulfill the potential of what they possess. In the realm of

prayer almost every child of God is raising cabbages on a gold field.

We are playing marbles with pearls and do not begin to fulfill the

potential of prayer. It has always been so, and James in 4:2 says,

"You do not have, because you do not ask." Only that angel who is

the accountant of heaven could ever know how many blessings

God's people never receive because they never ask. Someone told the

story of a man who was being shown the glories of heaven, and his

angelic guide showed him a vast storage area of beautiful gifts God

wanted to give His children on earth, but they never asked. The

story is fiction, but the truth of it is fact.

In the next verse James says to the Christians, "When you do ask

you don't receive because you ask wrongly to spend it on your

passions." To ask for a wrong motive is just as fruitless as not asking

at all. A 7 year old boy was told by his mother that he could not go

to the Sunday School picnic because of his disobedience. By the next

morning she had softened, as mother usually do, and she told him he

could go after all. He took the news so quietly that she asked him,

"What's the matter, don't you want to go?" He sighed and said, "Its

too late now Mom. I've already prayed for rain." He saw prayer as

a way to get even with others. Prayer was a means by which we get

God to do our will.

If only children had this immature concept of prayer, it would

not be so bad, but the fact is, many Christian adults are also

immature amateurs when it comes to prayer. We all miss its

potential, and spend our lives raising cabbages on this gold field of

spiritual riches. Prayer is the most universal aspect of man's

religious nature. Man is such a praying creature that even an atheist

has a hard time to keep from praying in certain situations. Like the

girl in Russian who was taking a test to qualify for a job in the

Soviet government. One of the questions was, What is the inscription

of the Sarmian Wall? She answered, "Religion is the opiate of the

people." She was not sure, however, and so obsessed with a desire to

know that she went the 7 miles out of the way to check. When she

saw the exact words she had given, she was so relieved that she

sighed, "Thank God." It is sometimes hard for unbelievers to

escape all prayer.

Charles Steinmetz, the great scientist, was asked what field for

future research holds the greatest promise, and he replied instantly,

"Prayer, find out about prayer." That is what we intend to do,

because James very quickly in his letter gets to this subject of

prayer. He knows you cannot get far in any direction spiritually

without prayer. She knew that the Apostles of his divine brother and

Lord never asked Him to teach them to preach or teach, but did ask,

"Lord, teach is to pray." James was such a man of prayer that he

was known as camel knees, because he spent so much time on them

in prayer. He will help us see how important and practical prayer is

for effective Christian living. The first thing he makes clear is,

I. THE REASON FOR PRAYER v. 5

The reason we pray is because we have a need. James says that if

you feel you lack wisdom, ask God. Prayer is first of all a confession

of our own inadequacy.

Say, what is prayer, when it is prayer indeed?

The mighty utterance of a mighty need.

The man is praying who doth press with might

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