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The Prayer of Faith

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“The Prayer of Faith”

James 5:13-18

June 28, 1998

James 5:13-18

13        Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.

14        Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him 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 him up. If he has sinned, he 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 man is powerful and effective.

17        Elijah was a man just like us. 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.

Introduction

The subject of healing is one of the more controversial issues in Christianity today

            Theologians: argue over whether or not healing is for today

            Christians: some seem to talk about it all the time; others want to avoid it

My own journey:

            Mama Mary

            Individuals whose faith has been destroyed because someone abused the doctrine

            Scientific bias

Yet, when I look at scripture: central to the ministry of Jesus

            Luke 4:18-19

            Luke 7:20-22

            Matthew 10:1

Convinced, biblically and experientially, it is still for today

Though not a complete foundation for a theology on healing, James is a helpful guide

            Not just physical (see trouble in v. 13)

Connection With Sin

Is sickness/trouble result of sin

In one sense, all sickness is a consequence of sin (the fall)

Jesus came to reverse the consequences of sin - that’s why forgiveness and reconciliation are so central

But James is not talking here in the general sense; he is talking about personal sin

Note: James doesn’t say that sickness is always due to sin (John 9:2-3 agrees)

Important: we must be careful not to jump to the conclusion that sickness is punishment

Nevertheless: we should ignore the possibility that sin is the cause of the sickness

Importance of confession

Confess to God (Why?)

But notice also the corporate element

My stomach problems

Recent discoveries of medicine

            They may call it psychosomatic, but maybe it is a spiritual problem

Part of the power of sin is its secrecy

Simplicity of James’ Command: Pray with faith, anoint with oil

James doesn’t say: shout, scream, yell at demons, fall on the ground, make a scene

God is not hard of hearing; and he doesn’t need our commotion to get His attention

Some contemporary healing services bear a greater resemblance to pagan healing rites

PRAYER w/ FAITH is what impacts God

God’s Response: YES

But, why aren’t all healed?

            No faith

            Selfish motives

            Answers in alternative way

1.     Instantaneously (Parks Jordan)

2.     Gradually (Bruce Larson)

3.     Medicine

4.     Grace (Paul, Joni)

5.     Death (Ultimately, all of us)

Dobson, Nate

Faith is the Key

Faith in God not “faith in faith”  

Bold faith is not the same as a demanding spirit

            We can’t assume we know how or when God will act

            Denial not necessary

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