Power of Prayer
Jas 5:13-18 "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
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:
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.
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.
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.
And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit."
While elders are mentioned in this King James Version quotation from the New Testament, elders are not the only "righteous men" or righteous people who have the priviledge and obligation to pray. God wants His people everywhere to pray (1 Timothy 2: 1-8).
As this is being written in October of 2014, the prayer lists have gotten long. L-o-o-o-n-g. There are many souls in distress. There are many that are sick. Governments need praying for, not the least of which is the one in this country. There are souls that are spiritually unsteady such as the ones named on the cards and slips of paper from our Prison Ministry. There are the people who are on the fringes of the congregation, those who attend only occasionally. There are fellow laborers such as Bible class teachers, deacons and their wives, elders and their wives, preachers and their families. There are people who are grieving over the loss of loved ones. There are people with mental illnesses, one out of every four or five in this country, at some point (however brief) in their lives. Unemployed people certainly need our prayers, and they are only part of the employment dilemma nowadays; there are many more who have jobs but are under-employed. There are hungry people--the USDA in our country says that about one out of four people in our country are "food insecure," and yesterday's news is that Arkansas is the most food-insecure state in the country. There are people without shelter. Some don't have adequate clothing. All need prayer.
Pray for missions. As we become steadily more mission-conscious, more targets appear on our prayer lists. The notion that the Church has hunkered down in their comfortable homes in the US of A and has no outreach does not match the facts. We have many missionaries living in foreign countries, especially in Central and South America. Here are just a few prayer targets for missions: Kent and Sharla Marcum and this son Joshua with wife Julie are in Quito, Equador. Larry and Connie Zink are located missionaries in Rio de Janero, Brazil. Remember Mision para Cristoa (Benny and Donna Baker) in Jinotega, Nicaragua. They have two grown daughters who with their husbands are doing mission work in Equador and Mexico. Particularly in theses Ebola-virulent times remember Dena Moore in Tanzania. Sarah Meadors is a mission widow in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Chris and Melinda Miller are doing a lifelong mission in New Zealand. Barry and Stacy Rosie are long-term missionaries in Madagascar, nick-named "the Far Isle" because it is the fartherest recognizable land mass from the United States. There is a huge amount of mission work being done outside the U. S. right now, but it needs praying for.
Pray for the leadership of the local congregation. Real elders, deacons, and preachers will not mind you praying for them...in fact, they will practically covet your prayers. Pray that we will continue to become stronger in our faith in the Lord and in our knowledge of His plans for us. Pray that we will have wisdom and power in our preaching, teaching, and example.
Pray for the lost. Have the passion for lost souls that our Lord had. He came to seek and to save the lost. If we are becoming more like Him, we need to deepen that passion.
Realize the priviledge and the power of prayer. The "Elias" that the King James was Elijah. Did Elijah ever doubt his efficacy in the Lord's kingdom? 1Ki 19:13-14 "And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." This happened after God had just worked through Elijah to destroy hundreds of prophets of Baal and to ignite a water-soaked sacrifice in front of Ahab. In the same way, sometimes we fail to see the priviledge we have in prayer and the power that God's has invested in our "holy hands" [ 1 Timothy 2:8]. John 14:14 "If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it."
The burden of prayer. If God has vested power in our holy hands, then omitting or neglecting prayer is not good. Let's keep it up.
[ To return to the Sermon index page, click
on the doorway above]