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Summary: In this sermon we take a close look at James 5:13-18.

Taking Your Prayer Life Seriously

Intro: Statistics on # of people who pray in America. An overwhelming majority of Americans believe in prayer and believe that God answers prayer.

54% said they pray every day

29% said they pray several times a day.

Newsweek March 31, 1997, pp. 57-65

Contributed by: SermonCentral PRO

I want to show you a video clip illustrating what I think is probably the attitude of many Americans who pray.. [Show dinner scene from National Lampoons Christmas Vacation where aunt Bethany "prays". She actually recites the pledge of allegiance. ]

Summary of the purpose of the book of James. Ends this letter talking about the importance of prayer.

Let’s read our text today. James 5:13-19

There are some very important truths about prayer that James mentions that I want to point out. The first one is this,

1). It’s always a good time to pray

Look at what he says in verses 13-14. Are you in trouble? You should pray. Are things going great in your life? Sing songs of praise to the Lord.

He tells how a fly was looking up at a praying mantis, “What are you doing” said the fly. “I’m praying,” said the mantis. “Don’t be stupid, insects don’t pray.” The fly told it. And at that, the Mantis swooped down and grabbed the fly in it’s claws, and straight away the fly began “Our Father, who art in heaven”. (Steve Gladwell, SermonCentral.com)

Sometimes we think the only time we are supposed to pray is when we are in trouble or we need some major help. It is always a good time to pray. We can pray about anything and everything. As a matter of fact Paul says in Ephesians 6:18, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” So, if it’s always a good time to pray, what do you say we give it a try right now. If you are in some kind of predicament, trouble or sorrow I want you to ask God to help you right now. If everything is going well for you and you have had a blessed day I want to invite you just to say or sing a quick song of praise to him on the count of three. You just did what God wants you to do! It’s important to understand that this is supposed to be a consistent part of our every day lives!

W. Graham Scroggie once said, "Pray when you feel like it, pray when you don’t feel like it, pray until you do feel like it."

Contributed by: Donn Heinrich (Sermon Central.com

But let’s be honest. There are times in life when we get sick. Getting sick is just not fun at all. I know that when I have had the flue the only thing I am concerned about is my fever breaking and trying not to get sick. It’s hard for me to concentrate on something else. That’s why we should NEVER be ashamed to ask other people to pray for us. In verse 14 the sick person called the elders of the church to come and pray for him/her. At New Community Church we take prayer very seriously. We love praying for people. We don’t mind at all that you call us or put on the guest card that you need some prayer. We invite you to do that.

We take prayer seriously around here and I hope and pray you take prayer seriously in your own personal life because of the very same reason that is mentioned in James 5:14-15. “And 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.” God not only hears but he answers our prayers! It’s with that kind of confidence that we are able to approach our Lord in prayer. Even though we do not see him physically with our eyes we know he is there and listens to us when we come to come in faith. He will answer according to His best. It’s important for me to mention right here that James is not saying that God will heal in every single case. The prayer of faith will accept that. We know that God will do the best that he can do in every situation. The important truth that James wants us to know here is that we are to pray. Pray for healing. Pray for God’s will to be done. Don’t “not” pray. The emphasis is not on the elders, not on the anointing of oil, but the emphasis is on prayer. I want to take just a few moments to emphasize some of the things that we have been praying for at New Community that God has answered so we can rejoice together:

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