Summary: Some believers think they are ’good’ Christians when they pray when times are bad... but we need to learn to pray when the times are good
Date Written: July 1, 2006
Date Preached: July 2, 2006
Where Preached: OZHBC (PM)
Sermon Series: You Might Be a Healthy Christian if…
Sermon Title: You Pray When Things Are Going Good
Sermon Text: James 5:13-16 (NKJV)
In a county that was formerly a dry county, they passed the law that made it ok to drink alcoholic beverages and a man decided to build a bar. During the construction of the bar, the church down the road decided to have an all night prayer vigil for God to intervene.
Well a great storm came up and lighting struck the not yet completed bar and it burnt to the ground. The bar owner decided to sue the church and was holding it responsible for his bar burning down.
The pastor and church members hired a lawyer to represent them and they made the claim that THEY were not responsible! When the case reached court the papers got hold of this story and in the paper the day of the trial it read, "No matter how this case comes out, one thing is clear. The tavern owner believes in prayer and the Christians do not."
Tonight I want us to talk about prayer. I want to look at the statement,
“You might be a healthy Christian if....You pray even when things are good….”
And over the next four (4) weeks I want us to take a look at what being a healthy Christians really looks like...
In this passage, we find James the ½ brother of Jesus, writing his letter to the church… in other words to the believers in his day! But these teachings are timeless and they apply to the church as a whole… these teachings apply to us today, just as they did to the audience James was originally writing to…
When we look at this letter we can come to the conclusion that prayer was a huge part of James’ life. In fact, biblical scholars have found out thru intense research that James had a nickname and it was "Old Camel Knees."
This was because James prayed SO much that he wore calluses on his knees. I would say that reveals to us that prayer was an important part of his life!
Let’s look at our passage James 5:13-16 (NKJV)
“…13 Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of our Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you many be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much…”
In looking at the essence of what God is saying thru James we can see that God desires His people to pray.
And what I want to say here tonight is that if you want to be a healthy Christian… you need to have a healthy prayer life...
I hope and pray that this message will cause you to begin to spend quality time in prayer everyday.
Let me ask you a question tonight, “On a scale from 1 to 10, how healthy is your prayer life?”
Tonight we are going to focus in on two (2) indicators that reveal a healthy prayer life… and therefore leads to a healthy Christian walk with God…
1. The first indicator of a healthy prayer life is....PERSISTENT PRAYER (v:13-14)
A. James told the church to pray with persistence...
• If your in trouble.....you are called to pray, and if you are in good times… you are called to pray thru songs of praise!
• Jesus taught this same principle of persistence in Luke 11:9-10.
Luke 11:9-10 (NKJV)
"9 So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
In these verses basically what Jesus is telling us is for us to *…keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking…”
This is because it really doesn’t take a lot of faith or commitment or even effort for us to pray just once about something and then stop! Jesus is telling His disciples to be persistent in their prayer life!
B. Being persistent with prayer makes it clear to God that this matter is important to us.
Now I want you to understand something here about prayer… just because God can see it is important to us… that DOES NOT mean we’ll get what we asked for. Let me give you an illustration…