How to Pray Effectively

James 5:15-18 (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. 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.

 

We learn from these verses that our Prayers are to be:

 

  • Simple Prayers: James 5:15 ~ 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.
    • Note facts given in this verse: “The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up…” The Lord will heal the sick person and forgive his sins because of the prayer of faith.
    • Questions: Does this work? What is there in this passage that says this is not a clear instruction of Scripture? Why not do this?
  • Specific Prayers: James 5:16a ~ Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
    • Is this telling us to run around and tell all the wrong we have ever done? NO!
    • Why confess? So that we can pray for one another. Prayer is of critical importance.
  • Sincere Prayers: James 5:16b ~ The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
    • James 5:16 ~ The effectual, fervent prayer – the earnest, working power of prayer … avails much.
    • Matthew 7:7 ~ Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
  • Scriptural Prayers: James 5:17-18 ~ 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.
    • Elijah is an excellent example of the power of prayer. He was a man just like us, a human being who had passions and feelings just like we have and who faced the same temptations and trials that we do.
    • Yet Elijah earnestly prayed for it not to rain, and it did not rain for three years and six months. Then he prayed again for it to rain, and it rained and the earth bore its fruit (cp. 1 Kings 17:1f; 1 Kings 18:1f; Luke 4:25).
    • The point is this: prayer—earnest and fervent prayer—is effective; it works. God hears and answers prayer.

 

Some things that will make our prayers effective:

  • The Precaution of Prayer
    • We need Scriptural Teaching
      • Matthew 6:5-7 (ESV) ~ “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.”
      • Praying – even loving to pray – is not a sign that a person really knows God.
      • The fact that a person really knows God means that he does pray. No matter what a man may think in his mind, if he really knows God and really believes in God, he talks to God. There is nothing that could keep him from praying. He knows God personally – knows Him as his Father who loves and cares for him ever so deeply. Therefore, just as any child who truly loves his father, the believer talks, converses, and shares with his Father.
    • We Must Have Simple Trust
      • Matthew 22:17-22 (ESV) ~ “Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.”
      • A great lesson is taught in this passage. We are taught the difference between the Physical and the Spiritual. Since we are God’s people, we are to serve God.
    • Have Sins Terminated
      • Psalm 66:18-19 (ESV) ~ “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.”
      • We must be sure that our sins are confessed and forsaken, in order for God to hear and answer our prayers.
    • The Place of Prayer
      • Matthew 6:6 (ESV) ~ But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
      • Luke 18:1-8 (ESV) ~ And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
      • Keep on Asking; Keep on Seeking; Keep on Knocking
    • The Promise of Prayer
      • A Promise that’s Simple ~ John 14:14 (ESV) ~ If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
      • The Promise For Sharing ~ Matthew 18:14 (ESV) ~ So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
      • The Promise of Supply ~ Philippians 4:19 (ESV) ~ And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
    • The Power of Prayer
      • Power for our Work ~ Acts 4:31 (ESV) ~ And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
      • Power for our Weakness ~ James 4:2-3 (ESV) ~ You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
      • Power for our Worship
        • Prayer Roots out Heresy
        • Prayer Clears up Misunderstandings
        • Prayer Stops Jealousies
        • Prayer Unites Divisions
        • We Just Need to Pray

 

 

What about your prayer life? Come Now and Set Things Right!
 
Pastor Andy Lambert
{pastorandy@cvcog.church}

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