Summary: James begins this passage by asking us a very simple question, are there any of you who are in trouble? And he then tells us, if you are then pray. And if you pray in faith, He then tells us what the result will be.
“The Prayer of Faith”
This morning I want to talk with you about the word trouble and what you can do about it. Trouble seems to lurk everywhere we turn. There is a board game called Trouble and if in moving your game piece around the board and you land on another player then you are in trouble and you have to start over. Travis Tritt wrote a country song called T-R-O-U-B-L-E. He is out one night and in walks a woman who looks like trouble. I have heard people say that trouble is their middle name. Most of us can remember when our parents said those words to us…you’re in trouble young man or young lady. If my parents ever called me by my first and middle name I knew there was trouble on the horizon.
One little boy prayed, Lord take care of my daddy and my mommy and my sister and my brother and my doggy and me. And Oh, please take care of yourself, God. Cause if anything happens to you we’re all gonna be in a big mess.
James begins this passage by asking us a very simple question, are there any of you who are in trouble? And he then tells us, if you are then pray. And if you pray in faith, He then tells us what the result will be.
I see 3 different kinds of prayer in this passage.
1. We are to pray for ourselves. V. 13.
2. We are to call for the leaders/elders of the church to pray. vvs. 14-15
3. We are to pray for each other. V. 16
Now this passage not only tells us who should pray it also tells us when to pray. So I want to give you 4 times we are to pray and then if you are taking notes you can do so as we walk through each one.
1. We must pray when we are suffering. V. 13. He asks a question. “Is any one of you in trouble? If so he should pray.” Now what James is asking here is not just are you in trouble…..but are you in great trouble and are you suffering as a result?
1st Peter 4:12 says “dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange is happening to you.” You and I know that life is never easy and James is reminding us that instead of allowing life to make us resentful, bitter or discouraged that we should accept these things as a part of life and pray and God will get us through them. When we sense that the pressures of life are more than you can handle, James says pray.
2. We should pray/offer praise when we have success. Look at the 2nd part of v. 13. “Is anyone happy?” Let him sing songs of praise. James is reminding us that all of us, at one time or another have something to give praise for.
Now listen, I know that when we are singing praise songs on Sunday mornings, I know something that you may not think I know. I know that some of you don’t sing. For some reason you either:
• Don’t think you know how
• You think everyone else is a better singer
• You are daydreaming
• Or you just don’t know the song
• Or maybe you only like country music
But here’s the thing. None of those are acceptable reasons in God’s eyes. And you are missing what worship is truly all about.
When we are happy we aren’t thinking about our troubles. It doesn’t mean we don’t have any troubles. It just means that we have some things to be thankful for. One of the reasons James tells us to sing when we have success is that he knew that when God’s people are having success it is our tendency to become spiritually lazy. Then it takes a trial to come along for God to once again get our attention. He tells us that in the good times when we are experiencing success that we should praise our heavenly Father.
3. We should pray when we have sickness. Vv. 14-15. Now this is a bit difficult for us to understand. Let me tell you up front what he is not asking.
• He is not asking if God answers prayer. We know that He does.
• He is not asking whether God answers prayer for the sick? We also know that He does.
• He is not asking whether God still performs miracles. We know that He does. All of these things are true.
The focus here is not on what God is able to do. We know that God is able to anything. The scripture tells us that He can do more than we can ask and even more than we can imagine. (Eph. 3:20) The focus here is on what the church can do. That’s us. The Bible tells us here what a Bible believing church should do when someone is sick. We should pray that God will raise them up.