Summary: Praying to change the world

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James 5:16 The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

The Earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.

Prayers offered by those who have God’s approval are effective.

Our selfish desire says: “I want it.” Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Our instinct says: “Me First.” Jesus, “The last shall be first and the first last.” Intuition says, “I’ll feel better if I get revenge.” Jesus, “Do good to those who hate you.” Wanting something does not make it good. Achieving something does not make it valuable. Having strong feelings about something does not make it right.

The text this morning states to us a fact that something will happen that would not happen except that prayer be made. So it is simple, prayer works. There is a contrast between prayer and working. A man said, “I am not a praying Christian, I am a working Christian.” If we are praying it is work. It is the most effective work that we can do. It is by prayer we can cause more to happen than in any other effort we put forth. If we pray that kind of prayer that avails much it is something harder and takes more out of us than any other thing we put ourselves to do. If we give ourselves to real prayer we will find it is t he hardest work we can be in involved in. It is by prayer we accomplish more by our time and strength than any other work we are involved in. Our prayer needs to be definite and determined if we want God to hear and answer. This verse could be stated “definite and determined prayer exercises much power in its working. After this verse we are given the example of Elijah. He made prayer and it stopped raining and that affected the whole world that was in that day. It says there was no rain and there was no dew for 3 ½ years. When Elijah prayed and asked for rain it came in abundance. One said, “Elijah prayed and locked up heaven for 3 ½ years and put the key in his pocket.” We perhaps are not thinking of praying that there be no rain here but we do need to be praying that God will bring to pass some things that will not happen except by our fervent praying. So the question we bring, “What are some definite things we need to see happen that we know will only as we pray in a definite and determined way?” As we as determined as Elijah to pray? Last week we spoke of prayer as being the one thing that will help us to be holy and become more like Jesus. That prayer will bring the power of God into the work we are doing for His kingdom. We want to look at two more things that prayer will do.

I. Prayer is the means that brings salvation.

A. It is by prayer more than anything else that will bring salvation to those who are lost.

This does not mean that one only needs to pray but also make ourselves available as

God would use us to bring the truth to the minds of those who are lost. God will not let us

Be lazy Christians. Did you hear that? I need to be willing to do whatever Gods asks to

bring the one I am praying for to hear the truth. Peter was one that wanted so much to

help Jesus with his mission. He told Jesus he would never fail Him. Jesus told Peter that

in his own strength he would fail but He prayed for him that when Satan attacked him he

would overcome. It was the prayer of Jesus that brought Peter through a tough temptation

and he became a man who preached the truth with power and 3,000 people turned to God

in one day. It was prayer that reached Peter at his worst. I believe that it is our prayer that will reach down, down, down into the depths of sin and ruin of the lives of people

who seem beyond the possibility of help and hope to find real life in Jesus.

One story that shows this is when one man who came to a meeting that was going on for the salvation of souls and would offer a beer to each person that came in or out of the meeting. He would stay after the meeting and make fun of those who went forward to pray and those praying with them. He went home one night and was awakened by the Spirit of God and could not sleep. His mother was praying for him in a mighty way. He got out of bed and prayed for God to forgive him and set him free from his sin. That is what prayer will do.

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