Summary: Message series in book of James: “Extreme Makeover: What Really Looks Good to God”Encouragement to seek God in prayer especially when circumstances weigh you down
13Are any among you suffering? They should keep on praying about it. And those who have reason to be thankful should continually sing praises to the Lord.
14Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.
16Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. 17Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for the next three and a half years! 18Then he prayed for rain, and down it poured. The grass turned green, and the crops began to grow again.
19My dear brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back again, 20you can be sure that the one who brings that person back will save that sinner from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins. Jas 5:13-20 (NLT)
Henry just got a new job. But this means he’s got to go out of town a lot. Out of concern for his wife’s safety, Henry visited a pet shop to get a watchdog.
“I have just the dog for you”, said the salesman, showing him a miniature Pekingese.
“Come on” Henry protested, “That little thing couldn’t hurt a flea.”
“Ah, but he knows karate,” the salesman replied. ”Here let me show you” He pointed to a cardboard box and ordered “Karate the box” Immediately, the dog shredded it. The salesman then pointed to an old wooden chair and instructed, “Karate the chair!” The dog reduced the chair to matchsticks. Astounded, Henry bought the dog.
When he got home, Henry announced that he had purchased a watchdog, but his wife took one look at the Pekingese and was unimpressed. “That scrawny thing couldn’t fight his out of a paper bag,” she said.
“But this Pekingese is special” Henry insisted, “He’s a karate expert.”
“Now I’ve heard everything,” the wife replied. “Karate my foot!”
Isn’t that how we treat prayer, with a “Now I’ve heard everything, prayer my foot?” I am glad God does not slap us silly because of all the not so nice remarks that we have made about Him.
Our text this morning from the Bible talks a lot about praying, having going down on our knees, getting rough knees. God seems to like that posture of faith. He thinks it really looks good on us, but some of us here may say “don’t sell me this,… Prayer,my foot”
Well… A couple of weeks AGO, a woman from our congregation, came up for prayer after the conclusion of our worship service, right here in this auditorium. She was deeply troubled. She poured out her heart to me. It was a big problem. She had a family to feed in another country. Apparently the family depended on her to send money home to feed the family. But financially, she was strapped, she could not give any more, she had nowhere and no one to turn to. So she came to pray, responding to the message she heard in church, she sought God in prayer, and I prayed for her as best as I know how. A week later, she came and reported this to me - That God had miraculously answered the prayers uttered from our hearts. God provided an unexpected check of $1000. God moved! She was just thrilled and excited and praising God for what He had provided for her and her family!
Is any one in trouble? The Bible says “If you are having trouble, you should pray.” If we are to have makeover in spiritual life – the thing that needs to happen and deepen is our prayer life.
Reality is we all struggle with it, don’t we? I do! We all get disheartened, discouraged, easily sidetracked. Jesus himself knew. Turn with me into Luke 18:1 ff In this passage, Jesus tells us the antidote to a weak prayer life according to Jesus is “don’t give up”
Why? Because, as Jesus explained in Luke 18, we have a good Father, not a corrupt evil Judge who does not want to be bothered! God is like a loving Papa who hears the cries of his baby and immediately comes and embrace the baby who is sobbing and crying his lungs out! Question is this - when God comes will He find faith here on earth?
Jas 1:16-17 (NIV) says clearly God desires to gives the best. “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”