Summary: A classic sermon by Dr. Adrian Rogers explaining the importance and efficacy of a "righteous man's prayer."
Now, turn to James chapter five and we begin now where we left off last Sunday night in verse sixteen. James chapter five and verse sixteen: “Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” I’m speaking today on this subject, How To Pray For Friends And Influence People.
There is no way possible that I could overstate the importance of prayer. And I pray God that you will never underestimate the importance of prayer. Andrew Murray said, in relation to his people God works only in answer to their prayers. Notice the word only. Only in answer to their prayers. And then he said, it is in pray that we change our natural strength, for the supernatural strength of God.
Dr. R. A. Torrey, the great noted Bible preacher said, nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies beyond the will of God. Dr. A. C. Dickson, a fine expositor of the word of God said, when we depend upon organization, we get what organization can do. And that is something, when we depend upon education, we get what education can be, and that is something. When we depend upon money, we get what money can do and that is something. When we depend upon singing and preaching, we get what singing and preaching can do, and that is something, but then he said, when we depend upon prayer, we get what God can do.
And oh, what this world needs is what God can do. What our city needs is what God can do. What your home needs is what God can do. What our church needs is what God can do. You don’t have a prayer, a failure in your life but what somehow it’s a prayer failure. You don’t have a need in your life but what earnest persistent believing prayer could supply that need in your life. There’s not a sin in your life but what prayer, the right kind of prayer, prayer in the Savior’s name, effectual, fervent prayer would have prevented that sin.
And so, James has several recurring things that comes that come to us again and again through this epistle and one of them is the power of prevailing prayer. And now, he’s talking about the prayers of intercession, not just getting the things that we need as he talked about in chapter four but helping our friends to have their needs met. So he says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.”
There are four things that I want us to pitch our mental tents around this morning as we study this passage of scripture. Number one, THE CONFESSION WE MUST MAKE—the confession we must make. Look in verse sixteen. James says, “confess your faults one to another.”
Now, I’ll tell something that most of us are not very good at. And that is confessing our faults. Amen? Oh, it’s all right, you can say Amen. I mean, we’re talking about you. We’re not very good about confessing our faults. Oh, we’re pretty good about criticizing our friends. Oh, and we’re very good about castigating our foes but we’re also very good about concealing our faults, right? Hmm. To err is human and to cover it up is too. We just, we just, you know, we want to cover up our faults. We don’t want anybody to know that we have any faults. But, let me tell you something friend, if you will study the history of revival you will find out that great revivals are not necessarily marked with great singing or great preaching but they are marked with great confession of sin, not only to God, but to one another. Where God’s people are broken, God seems to move. Where James says confess your faults one to another, think of the things that take place when we confess our faults.
First of all, there is restoration. James says confess your faults one to another that you may be healed. And this word healing here does not merely refer to the healing of the body. It’s a larger word. And it may refer to the healing of the soul or the healing of the spirit. And whether there be physical brokenness, whether there be emotional brokenness, whether there be spiritual brokenness and restoration is needed. When we begin to confess our sins, God begins to move in and work. For the Bible says a broken and a contrite spirit, thou wilt not despise, oh, God.