Summary: Sometimes we feel like were not good enough for God to answer our prayers...are there certain standards we are suppose to live by in order to have our prayers answered? God’s Word gives us guidelines on how to live a righteous life and have our prayers h

Opening Joke:

There was a pastor who had a parrot. All the parrot would say was, “Let’s pray, let’s pray.” He learned that one of his deacons had a parrot that would only say, “Let’s kiss. Let’s kiss.” So the pastor invited the deacon and his parrot over to his house. When the deacon arrived they put the parrots into the same cage to see what would happen. The deacon’s parrot said, “Let’s kiss, let’s kiss.” The pastor’s parrot said, “Thank you, Lord. My prayers have been answered.” There’s great power in prayer.

Today we are going to continue talking about prayer…this is our third week dedicated to the subject…and that’s because there are very few things we can discuss that are as important to our spiritual growth, and our relationship with Christ as prayer. The truth is we serve an invisible God, who we can see actively in our daily lives, who answers our prayers when we call on Him, and who we can get to know better through an authentic prayer life.

The text today is going to come from the book of James…It can be found in the New Testament near the end…after the book of Hebrews and before 1st and 2nd Peter…if you get to any of the John’s or Revelations you have gone to far…and if you get to the maps you’ve gone really too far, so flip back a bit…

While James is a relatively small book, perhaps it is just a couple of pages in your Bible…the small number of pages that make up the book is not a reliable reflection on the massive amount of wisdom that can be found in James. In fact a large part of the book of James is written on the subject of prayer…and how, and when, and why we are suppose to pray.

The King James version says it like this…

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much…

(James 5:16)

Now let me read you the verse in context with it’s surrounding…

13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is 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. 15And 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. 16Therefore 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.

I think we would all agree here today…that we want our prayers to be powerful, and effective…so how do we accomplish that? We spent the past two weeks looking at how we prayer…and why we do the little things in prayer like say, in Jesus name…we decided that there isn’t a formula to our prayers, but that there are defiant guidelines from the Bible for us to follow, while we communicate with God.

So at first glance this verse looks amazing and it is…because basically what it said was you have a problem, your sick, well pray in faith and it will be taken care of for you…

And that is great news isn’t it? I love the idea that we serve a God that will first of all listen to us…and not only does He listen but He answers our prayers. But upon closer examination there is a condition here isn’t there? That one little word…righteous!

That word kind of scares us though right? I mean what exactly is righteous…I know I don’t want to be self-righteous…but sometimes we confuse righteousness with being judgmental right? Let’s talk about a few things that being righteous is…and isn’t!

And who exactly is, and how do we become this person of rightousness…

I. The Man Who Prays

The first thing that is important to point out here is that a righteous man does not mean a perfect person…it doesn’t even mean an innocent person…after all there is no one alive, either past or present other than Jesus would fit this category right? No one is perfect or innocent, but righteous here means just a person.

It means:

A. An Imperfect Person…

i. Now I have good news today and there is some bad news…and some of you may disagree with me on this point…but your not perfect…and your prayers will never be powerful, they will never be effective until you realize that your imperfect…we have all messed up, and we continue to mess up, but the righteous person is a person who has been justified, or made right by the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on the cross. Righteous here means an imperfect person, living in a state of grace, and forgiveness.

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