Listening to James – Part 4

By: Pastor Jarren Rogers

“True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is a spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” –Charles Spurgeon 

It’s easy to see the men and women of the Bible as being superhuman in some respects. When Noah built the ark, when Moses charges out of Egypt with the Israelites in tow, when Stephen stood before the Sanhedrin, when Gideon led the charge against the Midianites, they sometimes appear to us as superheroes of the faith.

But what James takes care to remind us is that they are humans just like we are. It wasn’t that they were superhuman, it was simply that they were super-faithful and super-obedient. And we can be too.

James directs our attention to Elijah. If anyone prayed big, risky, faith-filled prayers it was Elijah. 

The other day, for Mother’s Day, everyone was going to come over and we were going to cookout for lunch. So, on Saturday, the day before, we went to Kroger and bought hamburgers and hot dogs and everything we may need to grill out. 

Then Sunday came and dark clouds filled the sky. I was sure our cookout was going to be ruined by rain. The rain clouds hovered over my house and my phone said there was an 80% chance we’d have rain.  There was nothing I could do.

But Elijah’s story proves that I was wrong. 

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (James 5:17-18).

James is encouraging us today that if a regular ol’ human being like Elijah could pray for drought and have God answer that prayer, how much more will God answer your prayer.

James points to prayer as the first response in times of need.

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:13-14).

Is anyone in trouble? Don’t let your first response be to worry or ask for advice from your friends or family.  Instead, hurry and go to the Lord in prayer. Is anyone of you happy? First, don’t go party or celebrate or go out on the town. Instead, let your first reaction be praise and glory to the Father. Are you sick? While you should go to the doctor and seek help, let your first act be going to God in prayer and asking others to pray with you. 

Listen to James as he encourages his readers of the power of prayer. As he explains that prayer is an act that should be done individually but also in community. As he tells how the prayer of a righteous person is impenetrable and effective. 

Are you sick? Are you troubled? Are you burdened? Are you happy? Are you blessed? Go to the Lord in prayer. 

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