Summary: "James with the Camel's Knees" gives us a crucial, practical lesson on prayer. He gives us technique and an example.
1. Salesman and Prayer
The story is told of a man who went and made a sales presentation to the leadership of a church.
When the presentation was over, one of the men in leadership when into the auditorium, knelt down and after a minute of silent prayer, returned and announced in a solemn tone, “The Lord says we should wait.”
Without flinching, the salesman went into the auditorium, knelt down, and after a moment of silent prayer, returned and said to the leader who had just prayed, “The Lord wants to talk with you again.”
I’m not really sure that either man was actually praying, but it is interesting that they both saw prayer as a way of getting what they wanted.
2. In some respects, there is nothing wrong with using prayer to get what you want.
a. “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” James 4.2
b. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1.5
3. James 5.13-18
a. In this passage, James says that if we are in trouble or sick, then we should pray to God about it.
b. If there is something that we need from God, we should ask for it in prayer and ask others to pray as well.
I. When to Pray
A. Pray in Times of Distress (Suffering) – v. 13
Roger Staubach who led the Dallas Cowboys to the World Championship in ‘71 admitted that his position as a quarterback who didn’t call his own signals was a source of trial for him. Coach Landry sent in every play. He told Roger when to pass, when to run and only in emergency situations could he change the play (and he had better be right!). Even though Roger considered coach Landry to have a “genius mind” when it came to football strategy, pride said that he should be able to run his own team. Roger later said, “I faced up to the issue of obedience. Once I learned to obey there was harmony, fulfillment, and victory.”
1. We May Have Distress by Following Yeshua (Jesus) – I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16.33
2. We May Have Distress in Performing Ministry – 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. //8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 2 Timothy 2.3, 8-9; // 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4.5
3. We May Have Distress of a Cursed World – 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. Matthew 13.20-21
B. Pray in Times of Disease (Sickness) – vv. 14, 15a