By Ryan White
James 5:13-18 - Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
Sometimes when we sit down or kneel to pray, we struggle with what to talk about. When we struggle with what to pray about, we lose faith in our prayer and have trouble seeing how powerful prayer can be and how it will ever produce results. This passage gives us 3 examplesof how to pray and what to pray for...
Pray in all Circumstances
Or rather, pray in every circumstance. Hardships? Pray about it. Is everything going good? Pray! Give God praise! How many times do we say, “Boy that was lucky!” or “Man I did a good job on that and here I am.” But everything good in our life ultimately comes from Him. He's the one that's been good to us. How about sickness? Pray! Call in people who know how to get ahold of God and pray about it! If God wills to heal you, and people pray about it, it will happen. What about sins? Pray! If we have an issue with a sin, it would make more sense to pray and be forgiven than to wallow in pity and guilt. So in every circumstance and situation, prayer is applicable.
Pray for all People
How often do we pray for ourselves and our situations and leave out others altogether?Probably a lot. I also think confession has a lot to do with it. I'm not talking about gossip. But if we are struggling we need to mature Christians we can tell ask for prayer. If others come to us, we need to return the favor. There is healing and forgiveness in confessing our sins.
Pray for God’s Will
This is the most important part of this passage. The other points don’t mean much without this. The passage references Elijah, and how he prayed it would not rain. Guess what? It didn’t rain. But when he prayed it would rain, it did. The point is not that we can pray on a whim for God to alter climate conditions but that it was God's will and purpose that Elijah pray these things. God used it to teach an evil ruler a lesson. You might be thinking, “Of course when Elijah prayed something happened...he was some sort of super human...” We think that way a lot. But the passage says he was as human as we are.
Ordinary people, when prompted by God are capable of whatever God calls them to do.
I don’t think God will necessarily prompt us to pray that the weather changes...but if we would seek His will for our circumstances and His will for others...seek His will for our life HE WILL ANSWER! We can believe that the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and do produce results.
Have faith! Pray! Trust God and seek His will!