Nobleton Community Church
March 3, 2024
Text: James 5:13-20
Pastor Paul v Lehmann

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James reminds us to pray for everything, just like Paul tells us to pray in all circumstances. I heard about a pastor who told his congregation that God doesn’t want our “frivolous” prayers. Like praying for a parking place, or helping you to find lost or misplaced keys, or anything that you have lost. You know how I feel about that. I believe that the Bible teaches us to pray about everything. It doesn’t bother one bit to have you call out to him for help even in the most mundane situations. He doesn’t want us to cry out to him in a crisis but rather to be in the habit of praying all the time. Our problem is the latter. We only think he will maybe help us when things are really bad. Ruth Graham’s advice. “Pray when you feel like it, for it is a sin to neglect such an opportunity. Pray when you don’t feel like it, for it is dangerous to remain in such a condition.”
Too often we have a tendency to use prayer only in panic situations. Like the man who was working on his roof and lost his balance and began to slide down. He grabbed at an air vent sticking up, but he missed it, and continued to slide. He grabbed at a shingle, but it broke off in his hand and he continued to slide. When he was almost to the edge of the roof, he cried out in desperation: “Lord help me!” Suddenly, he felt something grab the cuff of his pants. As he dangled over the edge, 30 feet above ground. He looked to see what had happened and he said; “ Never mind, Lord. My pants got caught on a nail. I’m Ok, I don’t need your help after all.”
That’s the problem with a crisis-driven prayer life. When the crisis goes away, so does the motivation to pray.
James says that prayer should be a part of every aspect of life—when we’re happy, sad, troubled, and sick, we need to take our concerns and our joys to God. Peter and Paul made this same suggestion.
In Philippians 4:6 “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.”
Ephesians 6:18 “Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.”
You can’t trivialize prayer: As far as God is concerned, there are no unimportant parts of your life.
Now what we saw in Ephesians —is we are to pray IN THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT—THAT IS THE KEY.
In the beginning of our text; verses 13-14, James tells us that if we are in trouble. We should pray. If we are happy, we should praise the Lord, and singing praises is a form of prayer. If we are sick, (bedfast. Can’t get out to church or prayer meeting or anywhere there might be someone to pray for us—–we are to call for the elders (the leaders of the church). He doesn’t say if you have enough faith call for someone to come to your side to pray, he says that others should come, and the PRAYER OF FAITH WILL SAVE THE SICK PERSON. This isn’t a cold or flu or something of that nature but a sickness or infirmity which is keeping them down. This prayer offered in faith will raise them up. An added benefit is that if they have sinned they will be forgiven. (that’s why it is added in verse 16; “pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
Now hear is an interesting statement: “ The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Verse 17 is the example given. It is about Elijah—James says; “he was a human being, just like us.”
Look at I Kings 17: 1. Elijah is confronting King Ahab telling him that; “as the Lord God of Israel lives, (before I stand RSV) whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain (for these years RSV) the next few years (NIV) except by my word”. Then in chapter 18 we read:…The word of the Lord came to Elijah “In the third year saying; “Go show yourself to Ahab and I will send rain.”
Back to James “ He prayed earnestly (fervently (RSV) that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t rain for 3 years. He prayed again that it would rain and the heavens gave rain and the earth produced its crops.
It is important to realize why James indicates that Elijah was a man “just like us”—–he was human. James says he prayed but in the account in I Kings nothing is mentioned about prayer. I believe the answer is the fact that the Holy Spirit came upon the prophets and they stood before God inquiring God’s will for all kinds of things. You recall that Elijah later prayed in chapter 18, for God to reveal his power against Bael.
First of all we must have faith. Faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior.
We must also, as I have told you many times, that Jesus who dwells within us when we receive him and ask him to come into our lives by his Holy Spirit must then have control of what we do.
There has to be contact with God. On the older cars there was a carburetor and sometimes the “points” had to be replaced. In French they are called “contacts.” Most cars today have a fuel injection system, but there still has to be contact with the fuel to propel the motor. It’s like the electricity wiring in your house. You have to turn the switch on in order to make contact so that the lights will come on. Our “contact” must be with God —- To access his power—we must PRAY, and THE HOLY SPIRIT in us is released and gives us access to this power to accomplish God’s will. PRAYER is what releases his power.
God wants us to communicate with him about what is on our heart, He also wants to make his will and his heart known to us. If we let him, and if we are in constant communication with him he will do this. When we pray we must know what his word says if we are to know his will. We know when we pray for unsaved people to be saved, that that is his will. The Bible tells us that he is not willing for any to perish. This doesn’t mean that everyone is automatically saved, but it is God’s desire that they be saved. They still must individually put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, in order to be reconciled to God That is why it was necessary for him to die on a Cross, so that he—the perfect sacrifice for our sins, could make it possible for us to be forgiven. We can experience new life in Christ because of his resurrection from the dead. Now we can have victory over sin, death (the grave).
So, just as much as we know that he wants all to be saved, he also wants to answer our prayers about sickness and healing when we ask in faith believing. We can know this by the witness of his Spirit within us. In verse 15 of chapter 5 of James when we pray for people: —“prayer offered in faith will heal the sick and the Lord will make them well.”
That’s a bold statement, and one that begs the question; then why don’t people get healed every time? To this question there are three BAD answers;

  1. It must not be God’s will
  2. The person doesn’t have enough faith to be healed.
  3. God no longer heals people today.
    The Bible disputes each of these arguments, but that doesn’t prevent people from using them in a pinch. We have a need to compartmentalize all aspects of life. We tend especially to do that in the area of healing. We like formulas, guarantees, and instant results. We want to be able to explain the mysteries of God in a few pithy phrases. Also, when it comes to prayer, many of us would love to be able to tell God what to do at any given moment—and be assured that he will fulfill our bidding.
    Verse 16 says, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. We are only righteous because of Jesus.
    Tony Evens ( and African American pastor in Dallas, TX ) tells about an evangelistic crusade he held at Brice Stadium on the campus of South Carolina University some years ago. There were about 15-20,000 people there, but rain was predicted. The black storm clouds began to form and there was thunder. There were other pastors there and they all prayed that God would keep the rain back, and Tony says he prayed a typical “safe” prayer. That God would hold off the rain, and that they would be able to have at least some of the service. Then a little 5’ 1” lady came to the platform and asked if she could pray. They said sure we need all the prayer we can get. She began confronting God with the facts. Explaining how they knew it was his will to hold this meeting. Reminding God of all the hours and hard work that has gone into the preparations. Also that the gospel needed to be preached to all these people who were in attendance. You have command over the weather when you choose. So therefore Lord, I “command” you to not allow this rain to interrupt this meeting. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
    The clouds got darker the thunder got louder, andt the rain came up to one end of Brice Stadium,—-split literally, and half went to want side and the other half to the other outside of where the people were, It joined again at the other end of the Stadium, but not one drop fell where the people were, and many accepted Christ that night.
    James 4:2 tells us; “You do not have because you do not ask God.”
    Our relationship with God is the same as a father’s relationship with his child. When we pray, God wants to give us whatever it is we ask for. Some of the things we ask for aren’t good for us, but some are, that’s why we must know the Word and what God’s will is.
    Now many people think because of God’s Sovereignty, we can’t “command” him to do anything. This may be true in some cases, but when we know God’s will we can pray his word, and pray the things we know to be fact.