Summary: There is a power in prayer but we need to know how to make it effectibe and powerful.
TOPIC: POWERFUL AND EFFECTIVE PRAYER
Text: James 5:13-20
(ILL. Answer to Prayer Require Preparation! – A rather lazy student noticed that a fellow student always recited her lessons well, so he said to her, "How is it that you always say your lesson so perfectly?" She replied, "I always pray that I may say my lessons well." "Do you?" said the boy somewhat surprised. "Well, then, I will pray, too." However, the next morning he could not even repeat a word of his assigned lesson. Perplexed, he ran to his friend and reproached her as deceitful. "I prayed," said he, "but I could not say a single word of my lesson." "Perhaps," rejoined the other, "you didn’t study hard enough!" "I didn’t study at all," answered the boy. "I thought I didn’t have to study after praying about it.")
Making a difference in our prayers to be powerful and effective is not depend on how eloquent we are, or how loud and dynamics our voice are, or how long and short our prayers is, or what our positions, it is not even our role, our status, our condition, etc. As we conclude our series on book of James in our series, “A Life That Makes A Difference”, we will study James 5:13-20 to see the key behind powerful and effective prayer. From our text we will see three things:
I. THE PREMISE OF PRAYER
(Premise – principles, basis, foundation)
When you are experiencing trouble, poverty or distress, Scripture invites you to speak strength from God through prayer. It is prayer that James emphasizes as most important. Effective prayer must be offered in FAITH. The foundation of powerful and effective prayer is FAITH in God, v. 15, “And the prayer offered in FAITH…” And the Lord will give FAITH according to His will, Matthew 17:20, “Because you have so little faith. It tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible to you.” Since true faith is a gift imparted to us by Christ, it is important to draw near to Christ and His Word and to deepen our commitment to, and confidence in him. We are dependent on Him for everything otherwise we will not able to please Him. Hebrews 11:6, “And without FAITH it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him (in prayer) must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” James reminds that if we asked God but doesn’t believe Him, 1:6-8, “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” When we called upon God, we recognize and place our trust upon Him that he will help and answer our prayers. 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (ILL. Power of Prayer – A man dreamed, while traveling, that he came to a little church. On the roof was a devil fast asleep. He went along farther and came to a log cabin, which was surrounded by devils all wide-awake. He asked one of them what it meant. Said the devil, "I will tell you. The fact is that the whole church is asleep, and one devil can take care of all the people; but here are a man and a woman who commune with God in prayer, and they have more power than the whole church."). True faith is not a belief in “faith” as a force or power, but it is a “faith in God” Mark 11:22, “Have faith in God.” True faith is under God’s control. Faith is given on the basis of His love, wisdom, grace and kingdom purpose. It is given to accomplish his will and to express his love for us. It is not to be used for our own selfish interest (James 4:3).
II. THE POSTURE OF PRAYER
(Posture – manner, attitude, position)
It id not how we say our prayer, it is not how dynamic our prayer is, it is not how long or short it is but it is depend on the attitude of our heart. James clearly said it here in v. 16b, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” It is the attitude of heart that makes a difference in the effectively and power of prayers. “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” Matthew 6:7. From verse 13-15, 19-20 we can see that James mentioned different attitudes of our heart: Humble heart, Joyful heart, Grateful heart, Open heart, Clean heart, Peaceful heart, Faithful heart – “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:13, Earnest heart – “Pray without ceasing…” I Thes. 5:17 (I Ti 2:8); Obedient heart – “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases Him.” 1 John 3:21-22. (ILL. Selfish Prayer – "I have prayed long for the conversion of my husband," said a woman, "but he’s as far off from conversion as ever." "Why do you want your husband converted?" she was asked. "Oh," she replied, "it would be so nice. How different the house would be." "You are forgetting," was the rebuke, "the good of your husband and the glory of God. You appear to be thinking mainly of yourself. Pray for his conversion simply for the glory of God and your husband’s need of a Savior."). The prayer of a righteous may – bring them near to God, open way to a spirit filled life (Luke 11:13; Ac. 1:14); bring them power for ministry (Ac 1:8) ; build them up spiritually (Jude 20); help them overcome Satan (Daniel 10:12-13); clarify God’s will for them (Ps. 32:6-8, Mk. 1:35-39); enable them to receive spiritual gifts (1 Cor 14:1); bring the lost to Christ (v. 20, Gal. 4:19); bring them wisdom, revelation and knowledge of Christ (Eph 1:17); bring them healing and deliverance from trouble (v. 15, Ps. 34:4-7); bring glory to God with praise and thanksgiving (Ps. 100:4).