Summary: James teaches on prayer and James refers directly to a prayer of Elijah the prophet in the Old Testament.
MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK SERIES
PRAY LIKE ELIJAH
[INVOLVE KIDS: Call up kids and have them hold a sign. Read the Scripture and as you read walk behind the line of them and touch them on the shoulder. When you touch them on the shoulder, have them raise their sign above their head. The signs should read ‘pray’ ‘prayer’ ‘prayed, ‘7,’ ‘blank page’ and webdings of ‘cloud’ and ‘rain’… depending on number of kids. I used 10 kids.]
READ James 5:13-18
“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is 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. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”
James refers directly to a prayer of Elijah the prophet in the Old Testament, so let’s read about the prayer that James is directly referencing.
READ 1 Kings 18:41-45
“And Elijah said to Ahab, "Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain." 42 So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. 43 "Go and look toward the sea," he told his servant. And he went up and looked. "There is nothing there," he said. Seven times Elijah said, "Go back." 44 The seventh time the servant reported, "A cloud as small as a man's hand is rising from the sea." So Elijah said, "Go and tell Ahab, 'Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'" 45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel.”
PRAY WITH THE KIDS AND FOR THE KIDS
- School - Worries - Decision to be baptized
- Friendships - Understand God loves them
- Family Concerns - Each one growing in faith
This morning we are talking all about prayer. Prayer is communicating with the Creator of the Universe, but there is so much to think about when it comes to prayer.
ILLUSTRATION… SD Gordon, “Quiet Talks On Prayer,” 1910 Revell Company
I was reviewing things I have read about prayer and came across this quote from SD Gordon in his book “Quiet Talks about Prayer”:
“The greatest agency put into man's hands is prayer. To understand that, one needs to define prayer. And to define prayer adequately one must use the language of war. Peace language is not equal to the situation. The earth is in a state of war. It is being hotly besieged and so one must use war talk to grasp the facts with which prayer is concerned. Prayer from God's side is communication between Himself and His allies in the enemy's country. Prayer is not persuading God. It does not influence God's purpose. It is not winning Him over to our side; never that.
He is far more eager for what we are rightly eager for than we ever are. What there is of wrong and sin and suffering that pains you, pains Him far more. He knows more about it. He is more keenly sensitive to it than the most sensitive one of us. Whatever of heart yearning there may be that moves you to prayer is from Him. God takes the initiative in all prayer. It starts with Him. True prayer moves in a circle. It begins in the heart of God, sweeps down into a human heart upon the earth, so intersecting the circle of the earth, which is the battle-field of prayer, and then it goes back again to its starting point, having accomplished its purpose on the downward swing.”
We are talking about the downward swing of prayer this morning based on what James has to say to us and the example James gives us based on the life of the Prophet Elijah. What does James 5:13-18 tell us about prayer?
I. WE CAN PRAY FOR OURSELVES (VERSE 13)
Prayer is personal. I don’t know if anyone has ever told you, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with crying out to God for yourself… in fact you may have heard the opposite… that you should never pray for yourself. You can pray about you. There is an issue if you only pray about yourself, but praying to our Father in Heaven about our needs and wants is normal. If we are in trouble, we should pray. If we are happy, we should praise God in prayer. If we are sick, we should pray. If we have sinned, we should pray. James echoes the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 where he says, “pray continually.” In every situation and on every mountain and in every valley of our lives, our hearts should be in prayer to our Heavenly Father. Prayer is personal.