When I think of the believers I know that are earnest and dedicated to prayer, I can tell you that nothing is “off the table”when it comes to talking to the Lord! Some people don’t understand prayer, though. This earnest prayer of faith is what I see in this passage in James and throughout all of Scripture. Sincerity, being earnest and humble and most of all, faith, is what honors God and allows our prayers to be answered.. In fact, verse 16 in James 5 even says that “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. (discipleship and accountability)
Effective Prayer Of Faith
So, is your prayer effective? By this, I mean, does the Lord hear your prayers and does He answer them? Do you completely in faith believe that He will do what you are praying for?
Earnest And Sincere Prayer Of Faith
Beginning with verse 13, James asks and answers 3 questions:
Q: Is anyone in trouble?
A: Let them pray
Q:Is anyone happy?
A:Let them sing songs of praise
Q:Is anyone among you sick?
A:Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.
Read About People Known For Their Faith
I believe that when James tells the church to call the the elders, these elders are earnest and sincere. They also pray in faith. These elders pray for the spiritually sick and physically sick. The spiritually sick need their sins forgiven! Read through Hebrews chapter 11 also. Look at all of the people who are recognized for their great faith. The author of Hebrews, many believe that it was the apostle Paul, defines faith and tells us how to live in faith.
Our Own Faith Defined
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.“
Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
Faith means that we are confident and assured about what we hope for even though we don’t see it right now! If we don’t have faith, we aren’t pleasing God. It is literally impossible to please Him, because anyone that comes to Him must believe that He exists and He rewards the ones who earnestly seek Him. The word earnest is seen here again.
Abraham’s Faith Is Counted As Righteousness
The Bible mentions Abraham(Abram) many times in the Old and New Testament and recognizes him for his great faith. But, he is not only recognized for his faith. The many places where we find him mentioned also state that his faith is counted as righteousness. So if Abraham’s faith is counted as righteous, can our faith too be counted as righteousness as well? I believe so! James 2:20-24 tells us that faith and actions work together, not alone.
Genesis 15:6 “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”
Romans 4:3 “What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
James 2:20-24 “You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.”
The Example Of Elijah
Elijah asked God for two things in this last chapter of James, verses 17-18. “Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.”
So Elijah was a human being as we are! We should follow his example too and pray earnestly when we ask for something of God. He asked, he believed and God did! The same thing happened again, but in reverse. The first time, he prayed earnestly that it would NOT rain so it did NOT rain for 3.5 years. Then he prayed FOR rain and it rained and they had crops!
To learn more about Elijah, I found a great post about his life and his relationship with God. Check it out here
Concern For Those Who Fall Away: Encourage Accountability And Discipleship
Then, we see in verses 19 and 20 of James 5, that if any wander from the truth, someone should bring him/her back. This is a great example of accountability and discipleship if they are believers in Christ. As believers, care enough about each other to help someone kindly and humbly, come back to what they know is right before God. This should not be in a proud, boastful way, but in genuine concern for their life. I see so many times, people that point out the wrong, but they don’t care enough to really see that person repent. You will likely save them from serious consequences, either eternal or temporary.
A Cycle Of Faith
Since this is my last post in the book of James, I am going to go back to the very beginning of the book which also teaches us about our faith.
- Consider it pure joy when we have testing of any kind.
- The testing of our faith produces perseverance.
- Let this perseverance go through its cycle so that we will mature and be complete, not lacking anything.
- If we do lack anything though, ask God in faith. He does not fault you for asking Him. He will give it to you.
- You must ask though in faith, believing Him not doubting at all!
- The one who doubts though, is like one who is blown all over and tossed like the wind in the ocean. Don’t expect God to give you anything if you do not ask in faith!
- This type of person is double-minded. In other words, the double-minded person asks God for something but don’t really believe that He will do what it is that they ask for!
- Next, in James 2, we read about Abraham and how his faith is counted for righteousness. When we don’t have faith, we don’t have righteousness either. Faith and deeds work together not separate.
- Now, in chapter 5, when we look at faith again, we see that in must be in earnest. Elijah prayed in earnest faith. He was serious and godly and God heard him and answered Elijah’s two prayers specifically mentioned.
- Pray in righteousness, this will make your prayers effective. Your faith is counted as righteousness as Abraham’s was. It is not faith or righteousness, but both, because you truly believe and act on your belief.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
The Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 The Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Please Give Me Your Feedback!
How did you like this study? I’m sorry that it took longer than I expected it to. Several circumstances in my life changed so I had to postpone some writing. I hope that this was a blessing and a help to you! Please let me know by commenting, what you think and how it helped if it did. Thank you!
Read More In My Heartshare Blog…