Friday, December 18, 2009

The Power of Prayer

Jas 5:14 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:
Jas 5:15 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.
Jas 5:16 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.
Jas 5:17 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.
Jas 5:18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

We are good at giving lip service to prayer, perhaps it is time, in your walk, to put God and His promises to the test.

In these verses, we see the example of an Old Testament prophet, Elijah by name.

The thing about Elijah is that he strapped on his sandals the same as we lace up our tennis shoes. James is expressing that he was no different than we are. He could pout with the best of them. He had his good moments and his embarrassing foibles. He feared failure. He was scared to death of a real Jezebel, wait, THE real Jezebel. He was a man of passion, and that is not a total compliment.

James is pulling this great prophet, who performed miracles with some of the best characters of the Bible, off his pedestal and down to level ground with the rest of us.
*Yes, he showed up on the Mount of Transfiguration with Moses and Jesus.
*Yes, he left this earth, not feet first like everyone else, but in a chariot and a whirlwind of fire.
*Yes, he called down fire from heaven to consume a sacrifice.
*And yes, he took hundreds of false prophets down to the river, not for baptisms, but for beheadings.

Elijah's resume' was replete with fantastic exploits. But the fact remains, he was just like you and me. His gift and calling was that of a prophet, while ours may be that of a teacher, administrator, giver, mercy-shower, pastor, etc.

And now, Elijah is used as an example for us, an inspiration. Elijah earnestly prayed and received miraculous answers. God shut up the heavens and sent a drought for 3 1/2 years because his man earnestly prayed. And then, when he got busy in prayer again, God sent the rain and the earth produced the grain.

James is simply encouraging us to pray earnestly, just like Elijah of old, and watch God work. Elijah had no advantage over us.
*He was fallible, but he was faithful.
*He was passionate, but he was prayerful.
*He was human, but he was humble.

And because God delights in doing great things, spurred on by the prayers of His children, God answered Him and is waiting to be challenged by our faith and prayers.

Last week, a dear lady in our church was up against it. She needed $350 to license a car that was given to her. It was a true need. It might as well have been $35,000! The money just wasn't there. She called to tell me of this need and I assured her of our prayers and then hung up the phone. I was immediately reminded by the Holy Spirit that 2 are better than one when it comes to prayer, so I called her right back and we prayed that God would do the miraculous for her.

As the days passed, $50 came in here, another $20 there. A couple gave her $34 to buy Christmas gifts for her children (which, by the way, a charity multiplied into $150!!!). So that was $34 that didn't have to come out of her modest bank account. Another big-hearted sister in Christ gifted her some cash. In all, the Lord had allowed her to scrape together $190 of the $350 she desperately needed. Well, that was close enough for me, so my wife and I decided to somehow make up the rest.

I was a bit late in meeting her at the DMV and when I had arrived, she had her license plates in hand. I looked at her and her plates and I wondered what in the world had happened. While waiting for me, she had gone to the counter just to check once again, for the third time, what the damages would be. Are you ready for this? $187!!! $3 less than what God had supplied her. The Lord miraculously honored our prayers.

I am convinced that the effectual fervent prayers of God's righteous servants still accomplish a lot.

Are you facing an impossible situation? Perhaps you are feeling unworthy to even petition heaven for such a need. Know this, my friend, God is looking to show Himself mighty on your behalf. Just get your life in a place where God can bless you and then begin to pray earnestly. Believe, be faithful and watch God Work.

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