Blog from Thursday, September 22, 2011
James 5 today. There are two central truths that stand out to me in this chapter:
- The power of prayer. Elijah was a man just like you and me. He had a human, sinful nature just like you and me. Yet he prayed for three and one half years for no rain and no rain appeared. Then he prayed for three and one half years for rain and it rained. How did his prayers get results? He prayed as a righteous man (our righteousness is in Jesus Christ) plus he prayed fervently, with great zeal. James here gives us two ways our prayers our answered. We need to pray in Jesus' righteousness, the gift of eternal life by grace. But we also need to pray fervently. How many of us really pray fervently, with great zeal, knocking on God's door, relentlessly, persistently, with perseverance, refusing to give up? James says that's the kind of prayer God hears. Do you pray this way? If not, it could be a reason your prayers have no punch in God's eyes.
- The power of elders' prayer. If you are sick, James instructs you to call for the elders (the spiritual leaders of the church) and have them anoint you with oil. The oil itself was a medicinal substance in that day. It did serve as what we would call "medicine" in that day. However, it symbolizes in the Bible the power of the Holy Spirit. The elder then anoints the sick person, lays on hands (there is something powerful about human touch!) and prays a prayer of faith, believing that God is able to heal a person's sickness. Then the fervent, righteous prayer of a believing elder of the church of Jesus Christ avails much. It's a regular practice at Forest Hill. Just last week I heard of one story of a person who did this who was blind and sight was restored. A woman told me she was in a wheelchair and did this and she is now walking. Seldom do I try to explain these things. I just know I'm instructed in God's Word to do it. Forest Hill does it. We regularly see God's miracles.
May James 5 encourage all of you to pray more fervently in your individual lives. May James 5 also encourage you to have elders anoint you with oil and pray for you.
These kinds of fervent and righteous prayers have great power. They are direct commands from one of the apostles of Jesus, direct from God's Word.
Please walk in God's prayerful strength today.