Summary: this is the final sermon in a series dealing with things that will hinder your prayer life. In this message we are given the key to having our prayers answered
HINDRANCES TO PRAYER
THE PRAYERS OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN
TEXT: JAMES 5:16
What was last weeks lesson?
Who ordained marriage?
Marriage is the foundation of everything else in society.
What makes a good home?
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
In the past several weeks we have been looking at things that can hinder our prayers
This week, in wrapping up this study, I want to look at what kind of prayer will be heard by God.
In our text it says that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
What is righteousness?
Webster’s dictionary defines it this way.
Acting or being in accordance with what is just, honorable, and free from guilt or wrong.
My dad states it much plainer.
Righteousness is simply doing what is right.
Now this sounds simple enough.
It sounds like this is something every body would be doing.
But the truth is very few are
We live in a day and age where the boundaries are constantly being moved and shifted.
Words continually change their meaning to suit a certain group.
- Gay used to mean happy
- Bad used to mean bad
- Rap used to mean knock
Now all these words have changed
- Gay means homosexual
- Bad means someone that is cool or macho
- Rap is now a popular music
We live in a time of situational ethics.
We live in a time that society says you only have to be righteous if the situation allows it.
They say it is alright to lie
- If it means getting a raise on the job
- If it means getting ahead in life
- If it is not going to hurt someone’s feelings
It’s alright to gossip
- If it is true
- If it doesn’t hurt anyone
- If I tell it in confidence
It’s all right to betray a trust or stab a friend in the back
- If it means I get ahead
- If it advances me in some way
- If I get what I want
This is the day and age we live in
How is your righteousness?
There is another thought that is prevalent today.
That is ‘your good will out weigh your bad’.
- Well I don’t lie most of the time
- I do what is right most of the time
- I have never killed anyone
- I have never raped anyone
God will not weigh your good against your bad. In His eyes you are ether right or wrong, saved or lost.
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
If we attempt to come to God in our own righteousness we will not be heard.
It says in this scripture “he will hide his face from us”
The problem is our definition of righteousness and God’s definition of righteousness are not the same.
- I am righteous most of the time
And God says
2 Tim 4:2
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Being righteous is not seasonal
Just because you have been righteous for the past week doesn’t mean that you can take next week off and live like the devil.
I have seen men and women over the years
They have been saved for a long time.
- They have served God faithfully
- They have been faithful to church
- They have been faithful to outreach for 3,4 5,10 years
But now as a “reward” for their faithfulness they think they can slack off
- They think they can miss church
- They think they can miss outreach
- They begin to neglect their daily prayer and bible study
They think that their past faithfulness will excuse them
The reward for faithfulness and righteousness will never be a season of unfaithfulness.
48 … For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
The truth is the longer you are saved the more will be expected of you.
Some may think “well that is not fair”.