Intro: 1. There is an appropriate response for everything - Prayer
2. Text: James 5:13-18
3. How should a faithful Christian pray?
I. Individually (v. 13)
A. Individually, we need to pray in all circumstances
B. We are to pray in every circumstance:
1. Suffering (lit: "In trouble", wider mng than physical suffering)
a. Don't just pray for deliverance, but endurance
b. God uses "trouble" to strengthen us (Jas 1:2)
c. Illustration: Butterfly struggling to get out of cocoon.
- Person helped it by letting it out. It never flew away.
- Why? It didn't go through the struggle of getting out
- As a result, its wings were crippled
d. Remember, endurance will lead to deliverance
2. When cheerful
a. Sing praises, which is a prayer to music
b. The praise is to God, not self
- Don't sing "I'm in the money" when answered
- Instead, sing "I will bless the Lord at all times"
3. Is it possible to suffer and be cheerful?
a. I Thess 5:16-18 - "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing,"
b. It must be possible, because it is commanded
c. Paul & Silas sang to God when in Prison (Acts 16:25)
d. Joseph's Attitude about all the suffering (Gen 45:3-8)
C. There was a man on his knees praying very emotionally to God
1. They're going to foreclose on the house, wife may have cancer,
About to lose job…I know I haven't been much of a Christian,
but I promise I'll do better if you will help
2. He immediately receives news during his prayer from his son:
- Ed McMahon is at the door
- The tests were negative
- The boss called with a promotion offer
3. The man's response? "Never mind God, it's taken care of"
D. Pray at all times, not when just in trouble
1. Pray cheerfully
2. In EVERYTHING give thanks
II. Pastorally (v. 14-16)
A. Pastor is an interchangeable name used for elders, shepherds,
overseers, which are all the same name used for the official leaders
in the local congregations
1. Preachers are not the same people as the Elders and Pastors
2. Elders have responsibility of overseeing flock's welfare
3. There is more in I Tim 3; Tit 1; and I Pet 5:14; and Ezek 34
B. If a Christian is sick, then he is to call for the elders of the church
1. The elders are to do two things:
a. Pray for you (sick were not the ones commanded to pray)
1) The effectiveness contingent on the faith of the elder
2) This was not a short flippant prayer:
a) They were to pray "over" him
b) The "effective" prayer of a righteous man..,
-Grk: "energeo", our word for energy
-Phillips: "Tremendous power is made
available through a good man's prayer"
-Grk: "(has) great power the petition of a
righteous man, being effective"
b. Anoint you with oil (There is disagreement over the
interpretation of this passage. There are three possibilities)
1) The anointing was associated with miracles
a) The context doesn't imply a miraculous healing
b) This practice of anointing the sick was practiced well past
the Apostolic age for 100's of years before it evolved into
extreme unction in the 8th century
2) The anointing was purely medicinal
a) Olive oil generally was not a cure-all
b) Elders, not doctors, were to prescribe it
3) The anointing was spiritual or symbolic (I believe this)
a) Some miracles were associated with some sort of action:
-Naaman to wash in Jordan 7 times (2 Kng 5)
-Jesus touched many of the sick peopl (Mk 1:41)
-Jesus put clay into the eyes of a blind man
b) Remember, it was faith that heals
c) Purpose of these actions was to "stimulate" faith
d) COULD BE AN ACT OF CONSECRATION
-Anointing often to set something apart for God
-Set apart for God's special care?
2. Notice the result
a. Health will be restored by God
b. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven
1) This implies that not only was physical health
prayed for but spiritual health
a) Illnesses should be a reminder of sin (since sin
brought it into the world)
b) Accidents, Cancer, etc. all should bring focus back
C. Maybe we ought to look into this practice
1. Too often we let our practice determine our interpretation
instead of vice-versa
2. Chap 2 - Justified by faith, -- active faith.
a. Stimulated by the action of baptism
b. It's not the water, but the blood of Jesus and our Faith
c. Jesus could have just waved a magic wand, but instead
he commands baptism, just like he commanded a man to go
wash in the pool.
D. Faith is all about trust and obedience
1. Children of Israel were told to march around the walls of Jericho
2. Christians are told to be immersed in water
-There are those today who say it is a work, we just need
to pray a prayer of faith
3. Elders are told to pray and annoint
(not just say a prayer of faith)
4. Ever wonder why God isn't healing more people? Maybe we
need to "trust" and do what he tells us to in this passage
E. Notice that this "type" or prayer (pastoral) is not limited to just
elders (v. 16) (If it were, those without elders would be out of luck)
1. Confess to "one another"
2. Pray for "one another", so that you may be healed
3. The effective prayer of a "righteous man" can accomplish much
III. Faithfully (v.17-18)
A. We need to trust that God will be glorified in our prayers
B. How can we pray faithfully?
1. Elijah is used as an example
2. Jesus told us to trust God in our prayers
-Faith as a mustard seed, you can move mountains
3. Praying Faithfully also means being willing to take NO for
a. Even in the age of miracles, not everyone was healed:
1) Trophimus left sick by Paul at Miletus (2 Tim 4:20)
2) Paul himself is most classic example (2 Cor 12:7-10)
b. Faith means rejoicing when God does not take away
the thorn in the flesh
C. Daniels Friends had the right attitude: (Dan. 3:16-18)
1. If God says NO, I will serve him anyway
2. Faith is NOT just believing that God will give you whatever
you ask. Faith is staying with God even when he says NO
D. Remember, Praying Faithfully involves 2 things
2. Accepting God's answer
1. Christian prays in 3 ways: 1) Individually 2) Pastoraly 3) Faithfully
2. When was the last time your prayed to God
3. When was the last time your went over and prayed for a brother or sister?
4. If you're not doing it? Why? Could it be that you don't think it will do any good?, A waste of time?
5. It's time to pray!