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Prescription: Prayer

A Living Faith  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Slide #1-6
James 5:13–18 ESV
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? 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. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

This is God’s Word for God’s People, hear it and believe

Pray
Slide #7
Amy Carmichael was a missionary in India. she had a very close friend name Ponnammal who was dying of cancer. Amy was aware of James’ prescription to call the Elders and pray and anoint her dear friend, but they were unsure what to do. So they prayed that if it was God’s will, someone would come who was very passionate about using James’ prayer prescription.
Amy Carmichael was a missionary in India. she had a very close friend name Ponnammal who was dying of cancer. Amy was aware of James’ prescription to call the Elders and pray and anoint her dear friend, but they were unsure what to do. So they prayed that if it was God’s will, someone would come who was very passionate about using James’ prayer prescription.
Amy’s old friend Madras, who was familiar with praying for the sick, showed up and they all gathered around Ponnammal. They earnestly prayed that whether it was physical healing or not, God would give victory and peace. From that very day, Ponnammal grew worse. The pain increased and she lingered for days in misery until she reached her limit and she passed.
We have to admit that many times this is the result after we attempt to follow Scripture.
How is it that two believers who are ill can each call the elders of the church to come and pray for them and anoint them and yet one dies and the other is healed?
Are we to still follow James’ prescription? How does this apply to the church today?

The Centerpiece…Prayer

Slide #8
What is interesting is that this is in the middle of a complete thought unit that begins and ends with prayer, and at every turn mentions prayer.
We have a tendency as humans to get angry, indulge in self-pity, complain, and grumble when we suffer. And if we think our suffering is not just, look out.
And then on the other hand, when things are going great and we are full of joy and happiness, our human tendency is to forget God completely.
But we are to pray through every spectrum of our emotions. We are also to have joy during every spectrum of our emotions.
Slide #9
Ephesians 6:18 ESV
praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Slide #10
1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV
pray without ceasing,
Luke 18:1 ESV
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
If we are at a low or a high, at the bottom or the top, in the pits or on the pinnacle, we are either to be praying or praising. Both are appropriate.
Slide#11
James personally lived this out. Eusebius, the ancient historian, writing about James testified that...
“his knees grew hard like a camel’s because his constant worship of God, kneeling and asking forgiveness for people.”
Slide #12

Doctor’s Orders

So what is the prescription? Simple, if you are sick, call the elders of the church to pray for you and anoint you with oil in the name of the Lord.

Instructions to the sick

Explicit

Slide #13
Clearly the responsibility for initiating the procedure is on the sick person, not the church leadership.
Now this doesn’t mean that the leaders can’t suggest it, but the request must come from the ill.

Implicit

Slide #14
There must be a personal confession of all known sins.
This is substantiated by the promise at the end of verse 15.
And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Now, James is not saying that all illness is the result of sin. But we have proof from scripture that there sometimes is an association and even death related to one’s sin.
We see it in Paul’s chastisement of the church in Corinth. We also see it in Jesus’ healing the paralytic in where he tells him, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Slide #15
The second implicit instruction is that the sick person must be certain that this is what the Holy Spirit is telling them to do.
God does not always will for a sick person to call the elders to pray for healing. There comes a time when we all will die. Many times our illness is there to teach us and help us grow. God does not always will us to be healed quickly.
We must not call the elders of the church on a whim, but there must be a definite sense that it is God’s will.

Instructions to the Elders

Explicit

Slide #16
To pray and anoint with oil.
Now, the oil is not sacramental. It hasn’t been blessed by a rabbi or squeezed from olives grown on the Mount of Olives.
It is not medicinal, even though oil was used for medicine in the ancient world.
It is not a “vehicle of divine power.”
But, it is symbolic. Anointing is Scripture is associated with consecrating or setting apart for special service or attention.
So applying oil to the sick is setting them apart to be ministered to by the Holy Spirit is some special way. Whatever the way is up to the Holy Spirit.

Implicit

Implicit

Slide #17
Just like the sick person, the Elders need to have confessed any known sin.
What is clear is that the most important action here is the prayer. This “prayer offered in faith” is the heart of it all.

Results

Look at verse 15
Slide #18
And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.
It would have been easier if this verse read that the prayer offered in faith may save the one who is sick, and the Lord may raise him up.
Slide #19

Prayer of Faith

Prayer of faith comes from a faith in Almighty God who carries out His will as he sees fit. He can heal anyone at anytime, and He does heal today! But He can also choose not to heal, and He doesn’t sometimes today. When we pray in faith we are trusting in God’s will.
The prayer of faith a Spirit-given conviction that God does indeed heel the person that is being prayed for. Meaning that we can only pray the prayer of faith when we are sure that it is God’s will.
The prayer of faith cannot be manufactured. It is a gift of God.
Slide #20

Power of Prayer

James goes on to say we are to confess our sins and pray for each other.
Why? Because the prayer of a righteous man has great power and is working.
Notice he does not say the prayer of the Pastor, or the Elders, or the leaders. He say the prayer of the righteous.
But who is righteous? James is saying it is the person who has the imputed righteousness of Christ and lives an ethically righteous life.
We all have the imputed righteousness of Christ, but I would argue that we do not always live an ethically righteous life.
This is why James instructs us to confess our sins and pray for each other.
Mutual confession of sin has become an enigma in the church today and very seldom practiced.
But mutual confession of sin and resulting prayer elevates the health of God’s people.
Now, we must all continually confess to God the Father through Jesu Christ.
Slide #21-22
1 Timothy 2:5–6 ESV
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
1 Timothy 2
No human can forgive someone else’s sin, but there is a place for Spirit-directed mutual confession between believers.
Slide #23
Mainly because sin brings isolation. Our sin attempts to isolate us from other believers in order to maintain its hold on us.
Slide #24
But confession with a fellow believer breaks down the stronghold of isolation and allows the free flow of grace in the community.
Confession also brings humiliation and promotes a poverty of spirit with is acceptable to God.
Slide #25
Matthew 5:3 ESV
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mutual confession enhances mutual prayer and promotes spiritual accountability. It helps us to carry each others burdens.
Are there dangers in mutual confession? Of course, and they are substantial.
Psychologically needy people may use confession to get attention for themselves.
Confession can foster spiritual exhibitionism and in airing one’s dirty laundry lead to gossip and dissension.
Confession could also become religious routine, which can be deadly.
But just because there are dangers does not mean that we avoid something that can greatly strengthen the church.
Confession should never occur without the most important prescription for the spiritual and physical health of the body of Christ....Prayer.
If we sin against a certain individual it is to that individual we should confess.
Slide #26
Finally, confession must only be practiced as God directs.
When the righteous people pray for each other, there is power! As I said earlier, all believers are righteous positionally when we accept Christ. But there is more.
Slide #27
Romans 1:17 ESV
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Slide #28
Elijah lived by faith. He prayed passionately and lived prayerfully.
God delights in answering the passionate, faith-filled prayers of His children.
We as a church must be a confessing church who listens to the Holy Spirit and does the will of God engaging in powerful prayer that comes through purity and passion.
The prayer of a righteous man or woman is a great force when energized by God.
Let’s pray.
\
James 5:15 ESV
And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
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