Earnest Prayer

Text: James 5:16-18
Title: Earnest Prayer
Introduction: Little Johnnie was saying his bedtime prayers a week before his birthday. In a loud voice he listed all the things he wanted. “Do not pray so loudly,” his mother instructed. “The Lord is not hard of hearing!” “Maybe He isn’t,” admitted Johnnie, “but Grandma is.” A lot of our prayers may be like Johnnie’s.
Note – Today, we will learn what it means to pray earnestly!

  1. Our Engagement in Prayer – v16
    1. Confession
      Note – vs 14-15

      Note –
      Confess your faults one to another,…. Which must be understood of sins committed against one anothe
      Note – It is not the anointing that heals, but the praying. The Greek word translated “anointing” is a medicinal term. This may be an indication that James suggests using available means for healing along with asking the Lord for His divine touch. God can heal with or without means; in each case, it is God who does the healing.)Psalms 66:18
      If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

      Proverbs 28:13
      He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

    2. Righteousness
      Philippians 3:9
      And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:Psalms 34:15
      The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.

      Proverbs 15:29
      The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

    3. Fervency
      Note – intense and fervent, not “wavering”
      Note – signifying energetic supplication, or such a prayer as is suggested to the soul and wrought in it by a Divine energy.Romans 8:26
      Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

      Turn – Jer. 29:12-13

      Romans 12:11
      Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

      Note – is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire? – Corrie Ten Boom

      Quote –
      It is not the arithmetic of our prayers, how many they are; nor the rhetoric of our prayers, how eloquent they may be; nor the geometry of our prayers, how long they be; nor the logic of our prayers, how argumentative they may be; nor the method of our prayers, how orderly they may be: it is fervency of spirit which availeth much!

    Ill – It is well to let prayer be the first employment in the early morning and the last in the evening. Avoid diligently those false and deceptive thoughts which say, “I will pray an hour hence; I must first perform this or that.” For with such thoughts a man quits prayer for business, which lays hold of and entangles him so that he comes not to pray the whole day long.
    — Martin Luther

    I. Engagement in Prayer

  2. An Example in Prayer – Elijah – v17
    Note –
    The background of this incident is found in 1 Kings 17-18 (1 Kings 18:41-45). Wicked King Ahab and Jezebel, his queen, had led Israel away from the Lord and into the worship of Baal. God punished the nation by holding back the rain that they needed. For three and one half years, the heavens were as brass and the earth unable to produce the crops so necessary for life. Then Elijah challenged the priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel—He had proven that Jehovah was the true God. But the nation still needed rain. Elijah went to the top of Carmel and fell down before the Lord in prayer. He prayed and sent his servant seven times to see if there was evidence of rain; and the seventh time his servant saw a little cloud. Before long, there was a great rain, and the nation was saved.
    1. He just like we are
      Note – with weaknesses; He was not perfect; in fact, right after his victory on Mt. Carmel, Elijah became afraid and discouraged and ran away.Note – It was not a matter of being a great man but having a great God!
      Note – God is no respecter of persons but He honors faith!

      Turn – 1 Kings 17:1

      Quote – “Wise indeed was the person who said, “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.”

      Hebrews 11:6
      But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

    2. He Prayed
      Turn – Romans 11:2
      God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,
      1. Earnestly – “he prayed earnestly”
        ̄ — only 1 time translated as “earnestly”
        21x as prayer, 15x as prayersNote – He prayed in prayer.

        Ephesians 6:18
        Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

      2. Specifically – “that it might not rain”
        Note – Be specific when you pray.
        Note – “…the land of Judea”…for this drought did not extend elsewhere.
        for three years and six months.1 John 5:15
        And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

      3. Believingly – 1 Kings 17:1
        Note – AhabMatthew 21:22
        And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

      4. With Yieldedness– v18a
        “and he prayed again…”Turn – 1 King 18:1
        Note – God told him He would send the rain (1 Kings 18:1).

        “Prayer,” said Robert Law, “is not getting man’s will done in heaven. It’s getting God’s will done on earth.” You cannot separate the Word of God and prayer, for in His Word He gives us the promises that we claim when we pray.

      5. Persistently
        Note – Elijah was not only believing in his praying, but he was persistent.
        “He prayed . . . and he prayed again” (James 5:17-18).
        On Mt. Carmel, Elijah continued to pray for rain until his servant reported “a cloud the size of a man’s hand.” Too many times we fail to get what God promises because we stop praying.Turn – 1 Kings 18:42

        Luke 18:1
        And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

I. Engagement in Prayer
II. Example in Prayer

  1. An Encouragement in Prayer – v18
    1. God Hears and Answers – “and the heaven gave rain”
      Turn – Matt. 7:7-11
      Turn – 1 Kings 18:41-45Note – it may take some time, but He hears!

    2. God has the power to change impossible circumstances.
      Note – Prayer can accomplish the impossible—”Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.Quote – Prayer power is the greatest power in the world today. “Tremendous power is made available through a good man’s earnest prayer”
      History shows how mankind has progressed from manpower to horsepower, and then to dynamite and TNT, and now to atomic power. But greater than atomic power is prayer power. – Warren Wiersbe

      Quote – Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers. – J. Sidlow Baxter

      Jeremiah 14:22
      Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.

      Ephesians 3:20
      Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Conclusion: Review the Points
I. Engagement in Prayer – We must pray!

II. Example in Prayer – A Person just like us whom God used greatly!

III. Our Encouragement in Prayer – We have a God who can do the impossible!


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