James 5 has five themes, riches, patience, prayer, faith, and restoration. This week we will explore each of these and make pertinent application.
Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. (James 5:8)
When we are patient, we are persevering. We will have confidence and hope in life whatever we face because who we are in Christ.
Today we will look at prayer.
Prayer for the Sick (5:14-16)
“14 Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
It is the privilege and responsibility for every Believer to pray for the sick. We should have the faith to believe that God can heal anyone, of any sickness or disease, at anytime. BUT, we must also understand that God is not bound to bend to our desires. There are reasons unbeknownst to us, God may choose to allow a person to suffer or die. Our part is to pray and accept God’s perfect will in each situation.
Prayer for the Nation (5:17-18) (Israel)
“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.”
James takes us back to 1 Kings 17 and 18. King Ahab was a wicked Baal worshipper. He set up pagan shrines called groves to his god. God was not pleased. He sent Elijah to proclaim that no rain would fall for a period of time. (1 Kings 17:1) Then 3 ½ years later the word of the Lord came to Elijah and God caused it to rain. (1 Kings 18:1) The nation of Israel was being punished for failure to follow God. Their wicked leaders drew the nation to idol worship. God sent Elijah with judgment. Only God could withhold rain and then produce it. It was a sign to Israel that the God of creation, the Almighty God, was more powerful than Baal and the other false gods. Prayer changes things.
Effective prayer comes from knowing God. So we must be Believers in God. We must be saved. Then we must understand the way God thinks. To understand how God thinks we must understand His word. We must be willing to read it, study it, and apply God’s word to our lives.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001