Summary: Your attitudes toward prayer determine your devotion to prayer.
Title: What’s your Prayer Quotient (PQ)?
By Bong Baylon
Text: James 5:13-20
Big Idea: Your attitudes toward prayer determine your devotion to prayer.
Tagline: Your PQ measures your spiritual health. How’s your PQ lately?
Interest: Years ago, I heard about IQ (Intelligence Quotient). Then I heard about EQ (Emotional Quotient). Now, recently, I read about AQ (Adversity Quotient). Could there be such a thing as PQ (Prayer Quotient)?
Need: Most Christians know they have to pray, but often prayer is the most neglected discipline among many Christians. The Prayer Meeting is often the least attended gathering in any church. Illus. PWR Night
Text: We come now to the last part of the book of James. Here James comes back to where he started – facing various difficulties while remaining faithful. Faithfulness is often seen in our ability to persevere in the basics of the Christian life, particularly, as in here, in the discipline of prayer.
Revelation/Relevance: Our attitudes toward prayer determine our devotion to prayer. Your PQ measures your spiritual health. How’s your PQ lately?
Overview: What are your attitudes regarding prayer? James identifies four common attitudes and deals with them with wisdom. Let’s score ourselves as we examine each attitude to see our PQ. (25 pts)
1. First attitude: “I only pray when I’m in trouble.” (v.13)
a. Most people know that when they are in trouble, they should pray. Illus. money problems lately
b. But most people don’t know that God also expects us to pray when we are not in trouble. In fact, he expects us to pray when we are “happy!” Illus. somebody called to give me a blessing but I did not even pray
c. When people pray in times of trouble, it is to be expected. But when people pray when they are happy, that means their attitude about prayer is healthy. Illus. teaching my children to pray
d. We should pray not just when we are in trouble, but at all times, even when we are happy. Illus. results of evangelism last Saturday
2. Second attitude: “Prayer is something personal to me. I don’t need to share my prayer concerns with anyone.” (vv.14-16a)
a. Most people think of prayer as a personal thing. Illus. common responses when I ask for prayer requests
b. But prayer is not just our communication link to God; it is also our communication link to one another. Illus. sharing our prayer needs as a family makes our family feel closer to each other
c. Prayer brings us closer to each other, making us more of a community of faith. Illus. I visited a doctor who was so impersonal
d. There is power in corporate prayer. Illus. experience during one prayer meeting
e. A lot of us miss the blessing of being together in prayer. Illus. asked a young man about his vision for our prayer meeting every Wednesday
3. Third attitude: “Prayer is effective only for certain people.” (vv.16b-18)
a. Some people believe that only special people can really pray effectively. Illus. Koreans are known to be fervent prayer warriors
b. Some people think that God is like “The Big Man Upstairs.” You need intermediaries if you want to talk with him. Illus. Aslan in Narnia
c. Sometimes people are often more interested in getting what they want in prayer than in having a relationship with God. So they look for techniques and special places to say their prayers. Illus. selling of “holy” handkerchiefs
d. People don’t normally persevere in prayer because they expect the answers to be instantaneous or at least not that long. Illus. called up a company and waited so long at the phone
4. Fourth attitude: “Prayer is limited. More can be accomplished by doing something else.” (vv.19-20)
a. Some modern people are very skeptical about prayer. They think prayer is just a formal religious exercise but generally it’s just a waste of precious time. Illus. my son complaining about prayer
b. The power of prayer is often missed by people who doubt the efficacy of prayer. Illus. my wife praying for a friend regarding her “worms”
c. Life and death is often determined by the answer to our prayers. Illus. prayer of my mother for me
d. We must learn how to pray until we see or feel a “breakthrough.” Illus. short prayers of people
Emotional climax: Illus. Death of a famous actor (Rudy Fernandez)
Need for closure: Our attitudes toward prayer determine our devotion to prayer. Your PQ measures your spiritual health. How’s your PQ lately?
Decision to make: Examine your PQ and make a commitment to increase it starting today.