Summary: "How tos" of prayer, for ordinary humans like us!
“Searching for Elijahs”
Where is the God of Elijah? Mired in problems, onslaughts of disappointments, difficulties, we long for miraculous breakthroughs of God, don’t we? And we ask where is God, especially in the time we need Him the most. To that question, the Bible rings out the answer, “on the throne!” And proceeds to bring this instead “Where are the Elijahs of God?”
1. A Call for Prayerful Church Community
“Confess your sins to each other & pray for each other so that you may be healed” verse 16(NLT)
Ø Remember James is about faith’s action – i.e. ministry to one another. “… Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all – it is dead and useless”. 3:17(NLT)
Ø Hence, prayer for one another is essential part of the Christian experience. Active – caring, not passive. V.16 teaches us that prayer is not merely an isolated experience, confess and pray with each other so that God could do something.
2. Pray like Elijah!
“Elijah was as human as we are … “ . v.17
To the question of can we pray and see God work powerfully, can we pray like what James say, the Word tells us “Yes.” Why?
Ø Cf. story of Elijah (1 Kings 18 ff.) to see how human he was.
Ø Prayer does not guarantee escape from a broken world experience! Elijah experienced God powerfully, yet He was not immune to depression. He felt alone and burnt out. He also needed the comfort and ministry of God!
Ø Feel discouraged, depressed, alone, burnt out, see this story in 1 Kings 18 ff. Was Elijah just a monumental heroic faith figure with nonhuman weakness?
Ø Conclusion: God loves to answer the prayer of righteous people. v. 17, 18
But who is righteous? None!! (Romans 3:10)
Prayer is conditioned by righteousness! So the central figure in prayer is JESUS! Not your infirmity, weaknesses, but the grace of a loving God!
It is important for the church to gather to PRAY!
It is vitally important not to give up on prayer (Lk.18) “always pray and not give up” – parable of the presitemt widow.
Ø to experience God’s care. verse 14
Ø to experience God’s power. verse 15
Ø to experience God’s healing. verse 16
Ø to experience great results. verse 16
Powerful effective prayer is
A. OBEDIENCE: Obeying God’s call to active prayer for one another, which means confession of sin
B. OPENNESS: Openness to prayer of faith, bathed in the grace and righteousness of Jesus Christ
C. ON-CALL: God is on-call, on the throne, all the time, He never stops working! Believe that God is on the throne, looking for the Elijahs to pray to Him. Call on Him, draw near to Him and He will draw near to you, submitting to Him (4:8). God of Elijah is still the God of our time, here right now!
So call the elders, call the people, call the old the young, the needy, the hurt, and allow God to do what He does best. Pour your heartfelt needs to each other, to God and be ready to receive His answers.