Summary: To note that prayer really does make a difference in order to encourage people to become Christians in order to take advantage of prayer.
Praying Like Elijah
Text: James 5.13-18
Thesis: To note that prayer really does make a difference in order to encourage people to
become Christians in order to take advantage of prayer.
(1) James believed in prayer. He prayed so often that his knees became callused like that of a camel; thus, he was known as “the man with camel’s knees” (Lockyer 171).
(2) Prayer works and we need to utilize more and more.
I. Reasons to Pray (vv. 13-16a.):
A. We should pray when we are suffering [literally, “in distress”] (v. 13a.).
1. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”
(Psa. 46.1; NIV).
2. God cares and is there to help (cf. 1 Pet. 5.7).
B. We should pray when we are happy (v. 13b.).
1. Too often we only go to God in pray to complain and/or ask for something.
2. Let us not forget to thank Him for blessings, answered prayers, good days, etc.
C. We should pray when we are sick (v. 14-15a.).
1. God still heals today.
2. The sick was to call upon the elders of the church in order to have them:
a. Pray for him/her
b. Anoint him/her with oil
(1) What was the purpose of this?
(a) This may have been miraculous healing (cf. 1 Cor. 12.9) with the oil being merely ceremonial or symbolic (cf. 1 Sam. 10.13).
(b) It was not administrating extreme unction/last rites because this oil was applied in order to help the person get better and not to prepare the person for death.
(c) The most likely possibility was that “the anointing with oil was simple the practical matter of doing what is within man’s power to be an instrument of God in the natural process of healing. It was the equivalent of administering medicine
(cf. Luke 10:34)” (Shelly 114).
(2) If this view is correct, then the procedure is prayer + medicine, which was administered today by a health care professional.
D. We should pray when we sin (v. 15b.-16a.; cf. 1 John 1.9).
II. Results of prayer (vv. 16b.-18):
A. Prayer “can accomplish much” (NASB); “avails much” (NKJV); “is powerful and effective” (NIV); “has great power and wonderful results” (NLT).
B. A case in point is Elijah who by prayer brought about (See 1 Kings 18):
1. A drought (v. 17)
2. Rain (v. 18)
C. Application –
1. Every prayer that Christians pray is heard and answered.
2. However, the answer is not always the answer that we desire.
a. We must pray according to God’s will (1 John 5.14).
b. We must ask in faith (James 1.6-7).
c. We must pray as a righteous person (1 Pet. 3.12).
3. Remember, when God says no, He said that to others before you including:
a. Paul (2 Cor. 12)
b. Jesus (Luke 22)
4. This being the case, then the first part of verse 15 must be understood in terms of either:
a. Limited to the miraculous age
b. General principle (cf. Prov. 22.6)
5. Overall, pray works and we should continually take advantage of it!
(1) Henry Ford once took out a $1 million dollar life insurance policy. Later, a close friend inquired Henry Ford as to why he did not come to him for the policy. Ford replied, “You didn’t ask!”
(2) “The Lord is near to all who call on him […]” (Psa. 145.18).
(3) Are you in a relationship with God that allows you to call upon Him at all times?