Summary: Bible believing churches in America continue to experience apparent weakness. For example, believers are struggling with discouragement and depression almost as much as those outside of the average church. I believe that our text today shows us that praye
Purpose: To show how prayer can empower believers.
Aim: I want believers look to prayer as the solution to discouragement.
INTRODUCTION: Bible believing churches in America continue to experience apparent weakness. For example, believers are struggling with discouragement and depression almost as much as those outside of the average church.
I believe that our text today shows us that prayer is the answer. I hesitate to try to explain this passage because there are so many opinions about what it means. Most people think that this is a passage about physical healing, but I am convinced that this is not true.
Before we explore what this text means, I want to spend a few minutes showing that physical healing is NOT what James is talking about here.
➽General reasons why this text is not about physical healing
➽#1 The context of this book is suffering not healing
James is writing a letter to Jewish Christians who have been scattered (1:1). They are under intense persecution. James begins by telling them to, James 1:2-3 2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (NAU) He continues in James 1:12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial... (NAU)
Then James comes back to the theme of suffering in chapter five. In verse 6 James reminds them that rich people are putting Christians to death. Also notice verses 7-8, 10-11. The Christian life has become a battleground and it needs to be endured with patience and confidence. James begins today’s text, which is the beginning of a paragraph, with "Is anyone among you suffering?"
➽#2 The subject of this text is prayer not healing
Notice that the words PRAY, PRAYER, or PRAYED are mentioned 7 times in 6 verses (Vs.13-18).
➽#3 If this text is about physical healing it contradicts other Scripture.
If verses 14-15 are talking about physical healing then we have a fool-proof formula for healing. If anyone is sick just pray and anoint with oil and they will be cured. When Timothy was struggling with stomach problems Paul, instead of applying this formula, told him to drink some wine.
When Paul was afflicted with a severe physical problem that he called a "thorn in the flesh" the Lord promised grace instead of healing. God did not rebuke him for ignoring this so-called formula.
Nowhere has God ever promised to heal us physically if we just have enough faith.
➽Vs.13 I. Prayer has Power for Sufferers "suffering? Then he must pray"
What are we supposed to do when life gets hard? Pray! 1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (NAU)
The original word for PRAY means a continual pleading. When you fear that life is about to crush you, call out to God. James is not talking about physical problems. He is talking about a suffering soul and a cheerful soul. Passionate prayer is followed by joy. The word translated SING PRAISES literally means psalm. So James is saying, "He is to psalm."
Paul said, Colossians 3:16-17 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (NAU) In other words, if you are cheerful let it show!
God has promised us: Psalm 50:15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me." (NAU)
J. Hudson Taylor said, "The prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders of divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God’s standing challenge, ’Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not!’" 
➽Vs.14-15 II. Prayer has Power for Broken Believers "prayer...will restore"
The word translated SICK here can refer to physical sickness, but the primary meaning of this word is "to be weak, to be feeble, to be impotent (or powerless)."
The meaning of this word must be determined by the context. For example, this word refers to weak faith in Romans 14:1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith... (NAU)
The same word is also in 2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (NAU) Paul was saying that there were difficulties in his life that led him to be weak.