Faithlife Sermons

"Prayer is a Team Sport"

James  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  45:10
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James 5:16-18

What do practicing and praying have in common?

Practice is good for the athlete and for the team.
Practice is good for the musician and for the band or orchestra.
Prayer is good for the Christian and for the Church.

FOR not FROM

This text at the end is all about prayer. Former suggested outline for this text...
Prayer for ourselves (v. 13)
Prayer from our elders (vv. 14-15)
Prayer FROM others (vv. 16-18)
NOTE: Notice that this last part changes perspective - prayer FOR others, not FROM others.
So we should seek God for ourselves, and we should seek God for one another.
So there is a subtle yet significant transition here (from verses 13-15 to verses 16-18).
The word “therefore” shows that James is drawing a conclusion based upon what he just said.
Basically, we should want God’s healing, physically and spiritually for ourselves (vv. 13-15).
So, we should also want God’s healing, physically and spiritually for each other (vv. 16-18)
The “one another” (twice in verse 16) is primarily the church.
It is the Christian community, the context of Christian relationships, the family of God locally.
So, I want to consider 2 questions for the church answered in this text...

What does James want the church to do?

Confess…(v. 16a)
To agree and to profess, to acknowledge; what? sin; to who? one another - church
This includes primarily, though not limited to, sins committed against one another (Matthew 5:23–24).
Matthew 5:23–24 ESV
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
James has addressed their mistreatment of others (2:1; 3:9; 4:1,11; 5:9).
This will hinder what he calls them to next...
Pray…(v. 16b)
If you have sinned against another, how can you pray for them?
Confession then is a precursor to prayer, which is what this text is primarily about.
Genuine prayer for each other should be the norm.
Why pray? Healing - used of physical or spiritual healing (1 Peter 2:24), in context it includes both.
Paul gives us several examples of praying for other’s spiritual needs (Colossians 1:9–14).
Healing for who? “You” - in context “one another.”
The same healing that an individual will experience through prayer is the same healing that the congregation can experience through prayer.

What does James want the church to believe?

In the power of prayer (v. 16c)
Prayer can and will make a drastic difference because God tells us this is how He works.
Who is the “righteous person”? The believer (2 Corinthians 5:21).
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
James wants them all to believe this and do this (Ephesians 6:18).
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,
In the example of Elijah (vv. 17-18).
James gives us further insight into 1 Kings 17:1-7 and 1 Kings 18:41-46 - that Elijah prayed for this.
This fits with James’ point because of what happens immediately following in 1 Kings 19:1-18.
James is telling his readers that they can identify with Elijah - in weakness and in prayer.

We should relate to one another through prayer, and we will receive from God through prayer.

That’s what James wants us to do, and that’s what James wants us to believe.
Benediction: Ephesians 3:20–21
Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 19:1-18
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