Some incredible things start happening when God's people begin understanding that prayer is a RELATIONSHIP not just a RESOURCE! Big changes happen when you understand that GOD IS your resource and not just the provider of them. You enter into a relationship with Him not to get something FROM Him but to get everything IN Him!
There is more good news! Can you handle that?
Look at what you get when you enter into a healthy relationship with God through prayer:
Personal Prayer - "Is anyone of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise." V. 13
James, in his final words, urges believers to live in an intimate relationship with God that is characterized by continual prayer. When you are hurting, pray! When you are happy, pray! No matter what is going on in your life share it with God. Center your life, your loves, and your longings on Him.
That is the foundation of a healthy relationship with God which is the foundation of all other healthy relationships.
Powerful Prayer - "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. 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. 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." Vv. 14-16
People who are in healthy personal relationship with God have a great opportunity to live in heal thy relationship with each other. That is God's great ambition for us within His Church. And when healthy people come together to call upon their God and agree according to His Word in behalf of one another - powerful things happen! Healthy things happen! In fact, health happens!
For my entire life I have heard this portion of Scripture referred to as a prescription for physical healing. Now I understand it is, indeed, that. BUT it is significantly more than that! It is the path to health!
A healthy church fellowship arises from healthy believers living in intimate relationship with God. When they come together to call up Him for a commonly agreed upon need, powerful things happen! Healthy things! Not only healing but health happens!
What do I mean by health? I refer to James' counsel to "confess your sins to each other and pray for each other that you may be healed".That sounds good doesn't it? That is a great promise on its face, but it is so much more than a one-time healing it is a prescription for ongoing health for individuals and for the church body! This is talking about two powerful spiritual disciplines - transparency and accountability. When practiced within a church prayer becomes power and the church becomes healthy!
James is advocating that we not settle just for physical healing but that we press for spiritual health. He expresses his belief that unhealthy spiritual and emotional issues contribute to many of our health problems. We do this by being transparent enough to confess to those in spiritual authority the sins that hold us in bondage. He tells us that when we do this and when we pray for each other for these sins healing and deliverence happens. Not only are we healed but we become healthy!
Prevailing Prayer - "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. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins." James 5:17-20
One of the most revered men among the Jews was Elijah. Rightly so! He was a powerful prophet who was mightily used of God and who was rewarded with one of the awesome exits any human being has experienced - remember the firey chariot thing?
Who can forget his great victory on Mt. Carmel? James reminds us of how he caused a 3 1/2 year drought that led up to the victory on Mt. Carmel. He was one of the supernatural visitiors who appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. This guy was special!
But James is saying we can be special too if we do the hard work of having a healthy relationship with God - a personal relationship and powerful relationship together. The reason that is true is because we serve the same God Elijah did. The same power is available to us if we will seek God and godliness has he did.
Elijah's passion was to call sinners back to God. In particular, he wanted to call the people of God back to their God. Everything he did was for that purpose. The dramatic events on Mt. Carmel we for that end. And that is the point of what James is saying here, "We need the spirit of Elijah in prevailing prayer for lost or straying people!" That prevailing prayer can only happen when God's people in God's Church will enter into healthy personal relationship and into powerful healthy fellowship and then God will encourage them in prevailing intercession for the lost!
That my friends is a healthy church! That is what I envision. That is my passion. That is better than healings and it will become a healing place!
You, my friend can be as powerful as Elijah! If you want to......