Summary: This sermons searhes the Scriptural conditions of an effective prayer.
Topic: The Conditions of an Effective Prayer
Text: James 5: 16-18
1. Biblical Examples of an Effective Prayer.
a) The Prayer of the early believers for Peter’s release (Acts 12: 1-5)
-King Herod seized Peter and put him in prison. He planned to kill him the next day for the pleasure of the Jews. Knowing this threat of Peter’s life, the believers gathered together to pray for Peter’s release. At that very night, an angel appeared to Peter in prison and released him. It was an immediate answer of God to their prayer.
b) The Prayer of Elijah. (James 5:17-18)
-He prayed that it won’t rain for 3 years and six months, and drought did occur in the whole land of Israel within that period. What is the secret of Elijah? Why was his prayer so effective?
2. The Conditions of an Effective Prayer:
A. Relationship with God.
The formula of prayer taught by our Lord to His disciples in Matt. 6:9-13 starts with the phrase “Our Father”. It implies relationship with God. Well, anyone can pray to God, yet not everyone has relationship with Him. I’d like to remind us two things pertaining this relationship:
Ø On how it is obtained. By believing and accepting Jesus Christ. There is no other way that a person can have relationship with God except through Christ. Christ Himself declared: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.” (Jn.14:6)
Ø On its importance in Prayer
-Why is relationship with God through Christ important in prayer?
a) It gives us the full right of God’s inheritance. In Galatians 4: 6-7 Paul said: “Now that we are His sons, we are also heirs of God through Christ. God has given us divine privileges by virtue of our relationship with Him through His Son.
b) It gives us the access to God’s throne of grace (Rom.5: 1-2). The use of the word “access” here has a deeper significance. It is a picture of a monarch king who is graciously giving entry of an ordinary citizen to his magnificent throne. In the same way, the access to God’s glorious throne has been given to us through Christ.
c) It gives us the assurance that God would hear us. What if the President came and you would ask her something, ex. a hundred thousand pesos. We know she has the capacity to give that amount. But do you think she would be willing to give it? What if you were her son or daughter? Do you have the assurance that she would give it? Now, what makes the difference? Yes, relationship! In like manner, our relationship to God gives us the assurance that He will listen to us and give what we ask for in prayer. (Jn. 15: 16)
B. Righteous Life (or living).
Ø The Word of God says in James 5: 16: “The fervent prayer of the righteous man avails much (KJV).” We have two key words here:
a) Avails much –which means “very effective”.
b) Righteous –which refers to the spiritual condition of a person. Also referred here is the person’s character and behavior. Apostle James used Elijah to illustrate this truth. And who is Elijah?
-he was the greatest Old Testament Prophet. It means that he knew the true and living God;
-he never compromised himself to serving other gods even it may cost him his life;
-he kept himself from wickedness and opposed idolatry single-handedly;
-he trustfully obeyed God’s command even he did not understand everything about it, and kept following God’s direction even at times it seemed illogical and impractical for him to follow.
Ø In Matthew 6: 33, our Lord Jesus Himself gives us the assurance for God’s supply of our needs in answer to our prayers. But, take note of the condition given: “Seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness”. This phrase means “making God our top priority in life”. It means:
a) That you must submit yourself to His ruler-ship;
b) That you should live in accordance to His will.
Ø Our Lord said in John 15: 7: “If you abide in me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” The keyword here is “abide”. Christ used the vine and branch relationship to illustrate this important truth.
a) It implies a “Continuous, incessant and unwavering relationship”
Ø Therefore, righteous living is:
a) Having a continuous and incessant relationship with God through Christ;
b) Making God the top priority of our lives;
c) Living in accordance to His will;
d) Keeping ourselves from doing wrong and evil;
e) Obeying God’s command even if we don’t understand everything about it;
f) Following God’s direction with all our hearts.