Summary: Practical teaching about healing ministry
James 5:13 –18 March 23, 2003
The Prayer of Faith
13Is any one of you in trouble? You should pray. Is anyone happy? Sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? Call the elders of the church to pray over you and anoint you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make you well; the Lord will raise you up. If you have sinned, you will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
17Elijah was a human just as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their ways will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
A few weeks ago I talked about how there is a temptation to compartmentalize our lives – we have a work compartment, a family compartment, a recreation compartment, and a faith compartment. James is once again reminding us that our faith is to flow into every area of our lives – like maple syrup flows into all the compartments of a waffle. Particularly our prayer life is to flow into every area of our life.
1. Praying at all times
I have two types of people in my life – there are the people who I never see unless there is trouble in their lives. You get used to the pattern, you don’t hear from them for months, then they show up on your doorstep, or on your phone, and as soon as you hear their voice your mind says, “Oh, what do they want now?”
On the other hand I also know some people that I worry about if I don’t see them for awhile – I only see them when life is going good. If they are going through some hardship, they disappear into themselves, not wanting to bother me or anyone else with their problems.
On the other hand, my best friends are those who are around at all times – whether times are good or bad, we go through them together. If something really good happens, they call me to share it, if something really bad happens, they call me so we can pray and cry together.
God wants us to be that kind of friend – the kind that is always around. Paul writes in Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
So, if we are in trouble we pray. I have heard some people say that they really don’t want to bother God with their problems – as if he doesn’t already know their problems already. But the scriptures are full of people crying out to God in their troubles
In my distress I called to the LORD ; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.
God actually invites our cries, in 1Peter 5:7, it says:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
On the other side, God also wants to hear from us when life is going great. When are happy we would tell him through songs of praise. I love a good party were old friends gather together to share good food and good company – and often times I will saddle up beside a good friend and say to the “this is so good!” We also need to saddle up beside Jesus and say this is so good! Thank you for these good times. If I have an especially good ride on my mountain bike, there are a few friends that I will call to tell them all about it – Jesus wants to be this kind of friend that when we have a good time, we tell him all about it!
Even if the good times are a small window in a world of suffering – give him praise, even if our troubles are just a little bump in what is really a blessed life – cry out to God in prayer!
Specifically if we are sick we need to pray.
Before we do what James says, and pray for healing I want to talk a bit about what he does say.