Summary: Like a light dimmer, the power is our prayers is connected to the depth of our walk with God. The closer we walk with God, the more potent our prayers.
The Prayer Power Continuum
(James 1:5-8; 4:2b-3, 7-10; 5:16-18 )
1. What tool can you use to cut water? A Sea-saw.
2. What tool did God give you to help you stay in conversation with Him? Prayer.
Prayer is an important tool that God has given us, and one in which the devil will go to great pains to keep us from mastering.
3. Studying the Word and praying are the believer’s lifeblood. I compare them to white blood cells and red blood cells.
4. If you have just red blood cells, you have compromised immunity; if you have all white cells, you become anemic and lifeless. We need both.
5. But there is a difference: the Scriptures are the objective standard by which everything we do is to be subjected. Our subjective prayers need to line up and submit themselves to the authority of Scripture.
6. The Word has much to say about prayer, and today we are going to look at the subject of the power of prayer.
Main Idea: Like a light dimmer, the power is our prayers is connected to the depth of our walk with God. The closer we walk with God, the more potent our prayers.
I. The Power In Our Prayers is Logically INDEXED To Our Walk With God
A. There are few OBSTACLES between a righteous person and God.
1. Not treating ones SPOUSE properly hinders a prayer life.
I Peter 3:7, “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
Earlier verses talk about wives obeying their husbands. I believe the section “so that your prayers may not be hindered” applies to both husbands and wives. Two general ways that you relate in marriage that will therefore hinder your prayers
i. Neglect (attention, time together, sexual relations, etc.)
ii. Abuse (verbal or physical)
2. Unconfessed SINS in general hinders our prayers.
Isaiah 59:2, “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”
Nothing between my soul and the Savior…
B. He/she prays in FAITH (James 1:5-8)
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
1. Our faith is in God’s ability, character, and disposition toward us.
2. Being aware of our own ignorance tempers our faith; we don’t know what God wants to do in a certain situation.
C. He/she is in tune with the will of GOD based first upon the Word, then the leading of the Spirit and observation as to what God is doing.
1. I John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”
2. The best leaders see what God is doing and then line up behind Him!
3. Prayer does not exist primarily for our comfort (though it includes that), but mostly to help us further God’s purposes and bring Him glory.
D. A righteous person takes the TIME to pray, not as a token or last resort.
James 4:2b-3, “ …You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
II. No Matter How CLOSELY You Walk With God, Many of Your Prayers Will Not Be Answered Exactly As You Prayed.
James 5:16-18 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
A. Take the case of Elijah, in SOME instances God gave Him what He asked for.
B. Elijah asked God that he would die, but God did not DO it (I Kings 19:4).
1. The silence in Scripture should be louder to us than it is.
2. The remarkably answered prayers get the attention, not the unanswered.
3. Elijah likely prayed that Ahab and Jezebel would turn to the Lord, that the persecution of the Lord’s prophets would stop, that Israel would repent of its idolatry.