James 5 v. 16 – 18
‘16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. 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.’
James has encouraged us to pray – when we’re in trouble, when we’re sick, when we’ve sinned.
Here, in v. 16, he claims that prayer is ‘powerful and effective’. We may know that there have been times when our prayers have seemed to have been that powerful and effective, and other times when not.
If we’re tempted to lay the blame on ourselves entirely for this – we weren’t ‘righteous’ enough – we need to remember that our ‘righteousness’ is a gift, freely given through Jesus, not something we can earn or manufacture ourselves.
The example given is of Elijah – who James claims was merely human like the rest of us. Notably, he prayed ‘earnestly’, which suggests repeatedly, consistently, with passion.
It’s an interesting example too (read 1 Kings 17 and 18), for Elijah was so deeply concerned about the spiritual landscape he was living in, he wanted God to act to turn people back to Him, for the nation to ‘repent’, and once they did, to become fruitful again. His prayers were not self-serving, but for God’s influence on the nation, for ‘the honour of God’s name, for the whole-heartedness of God’s people (the purpose of James’ letter, also), and for the salvation of more people.’
as James concludes his letter,
he draws us back to a life of prayer,
of seeking Your purposes,
Your reign and rule.
Lord, for our land, in this our generation
Spirits oppressed by pleasure, wealth and care
For young and old, for commonwealth and nation
Lord of our land, be pleased to hear our prayer.
Lord, for ourselves, in living power remake us
Self on the cross and Christ upon the throne
Past put behind us, for the future take us,
Lord of our lives, to live for Christ alone.
All posts in The Letter Of James
- Finally, a reminder of our mission…seeking the lost, bringing them home
- Prayer works…but how?
- A call to prayer and to praise
- Watch out, the Lord’s coming is near!
- Time to stop exploiting…
- What is your life? No longer our own, but Yours, Lord.
- He will draw near to you…and will lift you up
- Even more grace, freely given
- Understanding our quarrels
- Wisdom from heaven to tame the tongue (and heart)
- Our words, powerful for good or ill
- An inactive faith is a dead faith
- The root of our salvation is by faith, the fruit of our salvation is by works
- Mercy triumphs over judgement (but without judgement, we don’t fully grasp mercy)
- All are equal, all are one…let’s live it out
- Hearing the Word, and acting upon it…
- Father God gives good and perfect gifts
- Heavenly riches (crowns of life) and earthly poverty
- In need of wisdom? You only have to ask…
- Introducing Bible Month – the letter of James (i)