Summary: This is the fifth and final message in the Extreme Makeover series. James teaches us the ABC’s of effective prayer.
EXTREME MAKEOVER: CALLUSED KNEES
June 6, 2004
This morning we will be continuing and concluding our study of the book of James titled “Extreme Makeover.” In light of our cultures obsession with makeovers and the popularity of the many reality makeover programs on TV today, it has been interesting to see what kind of things Jesus would do if he were to give our lives an Extreme Makeover. So far we have learned that Jesus would give us Big Ears so we could hear his word. He would give us Dirty Hands as we live what we learn from his word. Then Jesus would give us Pierced Tongues in order to bring the power of our tongues under his control. Last week we discover that Jesus would give us Hunched Backs from bowing in submission to God.
We have learned and experienced much during the makeover, but it isn’t finished yet. There is one last thing that Jesus would do. From the fifth chapter of James we learn that Jesus would give us Callused Knees. Once again I imagine that many are ready to protest. Attractive legs are an important thing to many people both men and women. But Jesus would give us callused knees from spending so much time on our knees in prayer. James closes his book with teaching on prayer. From this passage James teaches us the ABC’s of Effective Prayer.
I hope to help you be more effective in your prayer life through this mornings teaching. Hopefully I can be more effective than another pastor I read about recently. After the preacher died and went to heaven, he noticed that a New York cabdriver had been given a higher place than he had. “I don’t understand,” he complained to St. Peter. “I devoted my entire life to my congregation.” “Our policy is to reward results,” explained St. Peter. “Now what happened , Reverend, whenever you gave a sermon?” The minister admitted that some in the congregation fell asleep. “Exactly, “ said St. Peter. “And when people rode in this man’s taxi, they not only stayed awake, they prayed.” (Ray Heit, in Reader’s Digest) I hope your prayer life will increase after this message, but for better reasons. And hopefully you won’t fall asleep - you could be costing me position in heaven!
There was once a pastor who had a little five-year-old daughter. Now the little girl notice that every time her dad stood behind the pulpit, and was getting ready to preach he would bow his head for moment before he began to preach. The little girl noticed that he did this every time.
So one day after the service the little girl went to her dad and asked him, “Why do you bow your head right before you preach your sermon?”
“Well Honey” the preacher answered, “ I asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon.”
The little girl looked up at her father and asked, “Then how come he doesn’t do it?” (Dan Cormie/Sermon Central) As you can see we pastors don’t always have it all together like we’d like to either. I have plenty of room for improvement in my personal prayer life and so I hope that you and I can grow together through this time.
The ABC’s of Effective Prayer:
The Adequacy of Effective Prayer
13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
In these verses James is teaching us that prayer is adequate for all circumstances in life. There is no situation in which you will ever find yourself in which prayer will be inappropriate.
a) times of trouble
First, we learn that prayer is adequate of our times of trouble. If we find ourselves in trouble the first thing we should think of as Christians is prayer. The Greek behind “trouble” can mean suffering and is translated as such in verse 10 where is refers to the suffering of the prophets, i.e. suffering persecution. This would then seem to refer to the kind of trouble that Christians can get into for standing up for what they believe in as opposed to the kind of trouble some get into because of the wrong they have done. When I was in college I once got kicked out of a shopping mall for sharing Jesus with someone who was sitting on a bench in the hallway. The man didn’t complain at all, but a security guard overheard me as he was walking past. He told me that I couldn’t do that and that I would have to leave. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I suffered persecution, but that is along the lines of what James is talking about here. God is certainly ready to help those who have gotten in trouble for their commitment to the cause of Christ.