A young girl asked God to make Carlisle the capitol of Pennsylvania. Her mother asked why. The girl said, “That’s what I wrote on my exam this afternoon!” That story isn’t true, but it’s true that prayer opens the door for God’s response.
How do you pray when the going gets tough? Do you ask God to remove the difficulties? That’s my tendency. What if He always did? We’d be like trees with shallow roots protected from every potentially damaging wind. I like the sound of that, but that’s not how God develops mature Christians.
Instead, we’re to be like trees with roots reaching ever deeper into Him to withstand every hurricane of adversity. God usually doesn’t deliver us from the storms of life but through them. Pray for strength and courage to walk the roughest roads and scale the highest peaks on the path God ordained for you.
Life contains great joys and great challenges. Do you pray more when you’re facing difficulties than during prosperity? Why? Prayer includes praise. Your praise for mercy already received should be just as earnest as your prayers for mercy still needed.
Believing prayer brings healing (verses 14–16). If you’re sick, call for the elders of the church. They’re responsible to pray and anoint you with oil. Of the two, prayer is more important. Their prayer of faith makes the sick person well (verse 15).
Some believe elders applied oil for medicinal purposes. I think James prescribes prayer and medicine for the sick. God ordains both for healing. Medicine, medical technology, and medical personnel are gifts of God’s grace. God can heal without modern medicine. But it’s presumptuous to insist He must. The opposite danger is to trust in medical science alone.
Believing prayer makes the weak powerful (verses 17–18). Elijah was a righteous man. His earnest prayers opened the door for God’s response. He wasn’t superhuman. He had strengths and weaknesses. At times, he was even depressed (1 Kings 19:14). Yet, when he prayed, it didn’t rain for three and a half years in Israel. Such answers to prayer are within your reach. What difference would really believing that make?
Believing prayer returns the wanderer home (verses 19–20). We’re responsible to bring back those who wander and stray from the truths James teaches. We’re to pray for and reach out to those who’ve never professed Christ as Lord and Savior and those who’ve drifted away from Him.
Do your prayers reflect the raging spiritual battle around you? Prayers are the bullets and bombs of spiritual warfare. They keep the enemy at bay while God uses us to turn Satan’s soldiers into soldiers of the cross. #freechristiandiscipleshipresources #freeevangelismresources #freechristianleadershipresources
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