Summary: This is a sermon on prayer. I. Who Should Pray II. How Should I Pray III. When Should I Pray
Praying For Your Problems
A very wise man once said:
“Prayers offered by those who have God’s approval are effective.” James 5:16 (GW)
Actually this is a quote for the Book of James chapter five and the second half of verse sixteen. We have been making our way through the book of James and now we come to our last sermon in the series. This sermon is titled: “Praying For Your Problems”. Our sermon series is entitled: “Living Life Wisely”. James is a very practical book and he has outlined how we can successful live a life that is pleasing to God. James has told us, “How to Have Power Over Our Problems”, “How to Deal With Indecision”, “How to Become Triumph Over Temptation”, “How to Manage Our Mouths”, “How to Treat People Right”, “How to Avoid Arguments” and several other topics that help the believer make it through life successfully. James is a very practical book – perhaps the most practical book in the Bible. There are 15 sermons in this series and if you missed any of these sermons – you can find them at Sermon Central dot com under my name.
With this last sermon from James – we now find that he offers advice on “How to Pray For Your Problems”. Follow along with me as I read from James chapter five:
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” James 5:13-20 (NKJV)
Today we are going to ask three questions:
I. WHO Should Pray
II. HOW Should I Pray
III. WHEN Should I Pray
Let’s look at the first question:
I. Who Should Pray
Some people think you have to be a Spiritual Giant to get prayers answered. That is not what the Bible teaches. In verse seventeen in the International Standard Version of the Bible it says:
“Elijah was a man just like us.” James 5:17 (ISV)
God’s Word Translation says:
“Elijah was human like us.” James 5:17 (GW)
If you read the story of Elijah, from of the book of First Kings, you will find some interesting facts about Elijah. You will find that there were times when he was bold and brave. You will also find that there were other times when he demonstrated fear, anger, loneliness and worry. That is why James can say: “Elijah was a man just like us.” But James gives us an illustration of the prayer life of Elijah when he says:
“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” James 5:17-18 (NKJV)
You see God used Elijah in a mighty way. There was corruption in the land. The people were worshiping false gods. King Ahab – the leader in the land – was very corrupt. The Bible says: “Ahab… did evil in the sight of the LORD more than all who were before him.” (1 Kings 16:30) So Elijah confronted Ahab and told him that the God of Israel was alive and powerful – and to prove it Elijah told Ahab that it would not rain on the land until he prayed to God and asked Him to send the rain again. For three and a half years it did not rain until Elijah prayed for the rain to come – and God sent the rain.
At another time – Elijah stood up against four hundred fifty false prophets. He told them to build an altar – place a sacrifice on it – and to pray to their god and see if their god would send fire to consume the offering. He challenged them to prove that their god was more powerful than the God of Israel. They built an altar – placed wood on it – then place an ox on it and started to pray. From early morning to noon they prayed – nothing happened. Then Elijah built an altar – placed wood on it – placed a sacrifice on it. Poured water all over it – till it was drenched with water. Then Elijah prayed. Elijah was bold. Elijah was brave. Elijah was faithful and God proved to be more powerful than the other gods – for He sent fire and it consumed not just the sacrifice – but the Bible says the fire consumed the wood – the water and the stones of the altar. (1 Kings 18) Elijah prayed and things happened. He was bold in his belief in God.