James 12: Praying powerful prayers

James 5:13-20

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 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. 16 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. 17 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. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. 19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

This is the last sermon in our series on the book of James. I don’t know about you, but the Holy Spirit constantly convicted me throughout our series on James. In God’s providence, almost every sermon we did on James speaks personally to my situation. I remember the first sermon we did on James on facing trials in life. That very same night after I preached the sermon, a trial came my way without invitation. Do you know what I did? I forgot everything I just preached. Instead of relying on God’s wisdom, I panicked and relied on my wisdom. I was the preacher and I failed to live out my own sermons. But that’s the point of the book of James. James’ main goal is for us to connect our faith with our daily lives. And what James tells us to do is not hard to understand, but they are extremely hard to do. For example, controlling our tongue. Does anyone succeed in controlling their tongue this week? What about growing in patience? Does anyone lose their patience this week? The book of James might be easy to understand, but no other book reveals our inability to live out God’s commands like this book. It has been a constant slap in the face for me personally.

But here is what we must understand about James. James is not after perfection; he is after progress. He knows that we will never get it fully right until we meet Jesus face to face. But the question James is asking us is, “Can you see progress in your walk with God? Are you growing in Christlikeness? Is your faith active or dead?” So, every time the Holy Spirit convicts us through the book of James, that’s an opportunity for us to repent and lean into God’s grace and mercy. And if there is one area in Christian life where most Christians lack the most, it would be prayer. Let’s be honest. No Christian needs to be told that they need to pray. We know we should pray. And yet when it comes to actually praying, most of us feel like failures. We struggle to pray. And that’s a problem. Listen. God has wired the world in such a way that he will not do many things in our lives apart from prayer. If we don’t pray, we will miss out on many things God wants to do in our lives. So, as James ends his letter, he wants us to know the power of prayer. Prayer truly changes things.

Three things that we can learn from this passage: the importance of prayer; the example of prayer; the purpose of prayer.



The importance of prayer

James 5:13 – Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

The heartbeat of this passage is very clear. James wants us to pray at all times. Life is always filled with ups and downs, suffering and happiness. But what we must always do is to bring everything to God, whether in prayer or praise. Do you know what that means? It means that prayer, before it’s a petition, is a stance of heart; it’s a stance of loving gratitude toward God. When we are in need, that stance of loving gratitude turns into a petition. “God, help me. I need you. I can’t do this without you.” When we are in success, that stance turns into praise. “God, thank you for your blessings. You are the reason I can do this.” This stance of heart is vital for a healthy relationship with God. Why? You know this. There are some people, if they came to you with a big problem and asked a lot of you, you would look at them and say, “I’m so honoured. I would love to help you.” Then there are other people who if they came to you and asked the very same thing, you would feel used and repulsed. Why? A person who uses you is somebody who only comes to you when they have a need, only comes to you when they are in trouble. When everything is well, they forget you. Then there are other kinds of people who when things are well, come to you and share their joy with you. In other words, one person loves you, the other person uses you. One person is seeking to be your friend, the other is seeking to be your leech.

So, how do we know whether we have the right stance on prayer? It’s simple. Do we pray as much when we are happy, or do we mainly pray when we are in trouble? If we only pray when we are in trouble, we are using God. And God knows. God is as repulsed as we are when somebody only calls us when they need money. If we have a stance of heart that loves God, we will pray as much when we are happy and when we are sad. So, James is telling us, “No matter what kind of seasons you are in, no matter what you are experiencing right now, bring them to God. If things are going well right now, praise God. If you are in pain right now, pray to God. Whether you are cheerful or suffering, it is all God. The God of the Bible is the God for all seasons.” Listen. To pray to God in all seasons of life is to acknowledge that God is sufficient for all seasons of life. To pray to God in trouble is to acknowledge his sovereign power to meet our needs. And to praise God in happiness is to acknowledge his sovereign power in appointing our circumstances. Whether in pain or gladness, God is our sufficiency.

James 5:14-16a – 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 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. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.

Earlier I said that the book of James is not hard to understand. That’s not entirely true. This part of James is one of the hardest passages to understand in the New Testament. It raises so many questions that many scholars have been debating for 2000 years. “What does it mean to be anointed with oil in the name of the Lord? What is the prayer of faith? Are you guaranteed healing when you pray the prayer of faith? Why do you need to confess sins to one another to be healed?” I will not bore you with all the details, but I will try to explain to you in the simplest way I can. Remember the context of the book of James. One of the main issues that James is dealing with is the double-mindedness of God’s people. The word he uses is ‘dipsychos’ which means a person of two minds, divided loyalties. It is the problem of spiritual adultery, where people have one foot on God and the other foot on the world. And James calls them back to wholehearted devotion to God. It is in this context that James addresses sickness.

There is an interesting play on words in verses 15 and 16. In verse 15, James says, And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick” and in verse 16, James says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” Do you see anything strange with what James is saying? The sick person is saved, but the sinner is healed. It should be the other way around, isn’t it? We would expect the sick person to be healed and the sinner to be saved. What’s happening here? James is drawing a connection between a person’s sickness and their sin. Now, listen carefully. The Bible is clear that not all sicknesses have a direct relationship to a particular sin. In John chapter 9, Jesus and his disciples saw a man blind from birth. And the disciples asked, “Teacher, who was responsible for this man’s blindness? Is it this man’s sin or his parents?” Jesus replied, “Neither.” So, Jesus destroyed the assumption people had in those days that every sickness was a direct result of someone’s sin. We experience sickness because we live in a fallen world, and not necessarily because we have been particularly sinful. But there are some occasions where sickness is the direct result of sin. In John chapter 5, Jesus healed a crippled man by the pool of Siloam, and he said to him, “Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” In Jesus’ day people over spiritualized sickness. They assumed that all sicknesses were direct consequences of sin. However today, our modern culture tends to despiritualize sickness. They deny a link between sin and sickness. But the Bible has a balanced view of sickness. Some sicknesses happen as a result of living in the fallen world, and some sicknesses happen as a direct consequence of sin.

This helps us make sense of James’ instructions. In the context of double-mindedness among God’s people, James urges the sick to call for the elders of the church because this may be a matter of sin that needs to be repented of. That is why James instructed them to confess sin to one another and pray for one another that they may be healed. Unconfessed sin can bring sickness. King David said it best in Psalm 32:3 – For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. In this verse, David gave us his personal testimony after he committed adultery. His initial response after he committed adultery was that he kept silent. He hid it the best he could. David lived the whole year with a guilty conscience, and it affected him physically, emotionally, and mentally. And it grew worse and worse with time. David experienced a real illness in his body that was caused by spiritual issues. Tim Keller puts it nicely. “There is nothing better you can do than get right with God, get at peace with God when you’re sick. There is nothing better than to get your conscience clear, and to see the things that have been too important to you, and to get right with him, and to sense his love again. There is nothing you can do better for your physical healing than to do some spiritual healing.” Again, we need to be careful. Not all sickness is the result of sin. But it is good for us to practice self-examination when we are sick. The question is, how are we supposed to know if our sickness is because of a sin that we committed? I don’t have a silver bullet answer to that question. But here is what I know. The Holy Spirit will reveal it to us as we take the time to examine our hearts and ask him. If there is a sin issue that needs to be dealt with, the Holy Spirit won’t try to hide it from us. He will reveal it to us so we can deal with it. All we have to do is pray and ask him to reveal it to us.

So, God cares about sickness and wants to heal people of their physical illnesses. But much more than that, God cares about spiritual sickness and wants to heal people of their spiritual sickness. So, the sick is instructed to call for elders, and the elders are to pray for him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. This is the only place in the New Testament where we are told to anoint the sick with oil. What is this all about? There are two main views. Some have said the use of oil is medicinal. Oil was a common medicinal salve that would be used. So, James is saying, “Pray for the sick and also give medicine.” You can think of oil like ‘tolak angin.’ You bring it everywhere you go, and you use it for all kinds of sickness. “You have flu? Take tolak angin. You have a sore throat? Take tolak angin. You can’t sleep? Take tolak angin. You have cancer? Take tolak angin. You sprained your ankle? Take tolak angin.” The problem with this view is there were lots of other medicines besides oil in James’ day. And if James was only referring to medicine, he would have used a different word. And another problem is, why does he expect the elders of the church to administer it? Why not a doctor? I don’t know about you, but if I am sick, I don’t want Edrick rubbing me with his latest oil from Israel. I want a doctor. The other main view sees oil as symbolic. In the Old Testament, oil is used to anoint someone for a special purpose. When David was called to be king, he was anointed with oil. When new priests were commissioned, they were anointed with oil. The point is not that there is some special power in oil, the point is that oil is a representation of the Holy Spirit’s power coming on people for a particular purpose.

So, which is it? When James tells us to anoint someone with oil, is he referring to the medicinal sense or the Spirit-symbolic sense? The answer is both. Listen. Prayer and the supernatural should never be done at the neglect of natural means of healing. The miraculous doesn’t have to replace the natural. Prayer is to supplement medical arts. It doesn’t mean that when we pray, we are not praying for a miracle. Whenever we pray for somebody’s healing we are saying, “God, if you would like to heal without medical arts, if you would like to heal apart from any natural means, you can do it. We know you don’t need any means. You can act directly. But you can also use doctors, medicines, and therapies to bring healing. You can heal through both supernatural and natural means. Whatever way you want to do it, do it.” God can intervene miraculously, or he can use the hands of doctors to be the answer to prayer. The point is to pray for healing. God wants to heal the sick, and every healing comes from God. Whether it be through panadol or prayer, every good gift comes from God. Does it mean we will anoint people with oil whenever we pray for healing? Not one time in the Bible do we see Jesus or the apostles anoint someone with oil when they pray for healing. Spit, yes. Oil, no. Does anyone want me to anoint them with my spit when I pray for healing? The anointing of oil is a helpful symbol but it’s not a prescription. If anyone asks me to anoint them with oil as a reminder of the Holy Spirit’s power at work in their life, I would do it. But it doesn’t mean prayer for healing does not work without anointing with oil.

Another question is, does that mean if a sick person asks the elders to pray for him, and he confesses his sins, he is guaranteed to be healed? Let’s look at what James says in James 5:15 – And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. The phrase ‘prayer of faith’ is very unique in Greek. This is the only time that phrase is used in the Bible. What does it mean? Some people think a prayer of faith means a prayer of incredible certainty. You do not doubt that God is going to give you what you ask. So, a prayer of faith means no doubt. I’ve heard people who pray for healing say to a sick person, “We are going to pray for healing. But when you ask, you can’t have any doubts. If you have even the slightest of doubt, God will not heal you.” This is wrong and harmful. Because if the prayer is not answered, the only possible explanation would be, “One of us is doubting. Who is it? It can’t be me. I am the prayer healer. So, it must be you. Your faith is deficient.” And now in addition to being sick, that person also has a deficient faith. It is a traumatic experience. Do you remember what happened between Jesus and father with a demon-possessed boy? The father said, “Jesus, please heal my son.” Jesus said, “Do you have faith?” And the father replied, “I believe; help my unbelief,” which is another way of saying, “I have faith, but I don’t know if I have enough faith. I wish I had more faith. Please help me.” And Jesus healed his son. So, a prayer of faith cannot be a prayer with no doubt.

So, what is a prayer of faith? The prayer of faith is bringing a specific request to God and trusting God’s will be done. Our faith is not in the particular outcome but in the God of all outcomes. So, we say, “God, this is what I ask for. I am asking for this specifically. I have uncertainty but I know you can do it. That’s why I am coming to you with it. I believe, help my unbelief.” The prayer of faith is to come and ask God specifically, even with our doubts. We may not be certain of what God will do but we know that God is good, and he listens to us. That’s a prayer of faith. Does it mean God will always give us what we ask? No. God will only give what is good for us. The problem is that we often don’t know what is good for us. Let’s be honest. How many of you can look back on something you prayed sincerely in your life, but now you are like, “Fiuh. Thank you, God, for not answering that prayer”? Do you see? Prayer is extremely powerful but oftentimes we don’t know what’s good for us; God does. That’s why when we pray a prayer of faith, God will either give us what we ask or what we would have asked if we knew everything he knows.



The example of prayer

James 5:16b-18 – The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 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. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

After showing us the importance of prayer, James is telling us the power of prayer and the example of a person who prays. He says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James wants us to know that prayer makes all the difference. When we pray, a great power is released, and it is working. Prayer is not simply talking to God. Prayer changes things. Do you believe that? Some of you might say, “Yes, I believe it. But James says the prayer of a righteous person has great power. But I am not one of those righteous people. I am still struggling in my daily life. I believe in Jesus, but I don’t think I am righteous enough for God to answer my prayers.” And James would say, “That’s where you are wrong. Look at Elijah. He was a man just like us. But he prayed, and God answered his prayer.”

Let me tell you Elijah’s story. In Elijah’s time, the people of God were living in massive spiritual adultery. They were ‘dipsychos’. They still held to the Law of Moses and performed all the sacrifices, but they also worshipped Baal. So, they held on to their status as God’s people, but they lived their daily lives depending on Baal. Then Elijah showed up, declared there would be no rain or dew at all in Israel, and then he disappeared. And it came true. For 3.5 years, not a single drop of rain fell, and a terrible famine came over the land. What a prayer. But it was not a random prayer. The book of Deuteronomy tells us that when God’s people walked away from God, he would withhold rain, and when they repented, he would send rain again. So, Elijah was praying according to the will of God.

Then 3.5 years later, Elijah came to King Ahab and challenged the prophets of Baal to call down fire from heaven at Mt Carmel. Whichever God answered the prayer is the one true God. So, the prophets of Baal called upon the name of Baal from morning to noon. After waiting for a few hours, Elijah was bored and started mocking them. “Cry louder. Maybe Baal is checking his Instagram and did not hear you. Or maybe he is taking a piss. Or maybe he is on holiday in Japan. Or maybe he is just tired and is taking a nap. Cry louder.” We called this the spiritual gift of holy sarcasm. Some of you are incredibly gifted at it. Then when it was Elijah’s turn, Elijah simply prayed, “God, show them who is the real God,” and fire came down from heaven and burned the sacrifice. The prophets of Baal prayed for 6 hours, and nothing happened. Elijah only needed 30 seconds and fire fell from heaven. The power of prayer has nothing to do with the length of prayer but the God to whom we pray. When the people of Israel saw what happened, they said, “The Lord is God” and they killed the prophets of Baal.

Then Elijah went up to the top of the mountain, put his face to the ground and asked God to send rain to Israel. The people of Israel had repented, and God promised to bring back rain when they did. After praying for a while, Elijah sent his servant out to look over the horizon to see if he saw any rain clouds heading their way. Nothing. So, he kept praying. And after a few minutes, he asked him to look again. Still nothing. He repeated this process seven times until on that seventh time his servant saw a cloud coming up from the sea, about the size of a man’s fist. But this cloud grew larger and darker as it approached them. And by the time it got over the land, it poured a great rain on the land. God answered Elijah’s prayer powerfully.

When we hear that story, we immediately think, “Yes, but that’s Elijah. I am not Elijah.” But James is saying to us, “What makes Elijah different from you? Elijah was not from Krypton. He was an ordinary man just like you.” We tend to see people like Elijah as a superhero of faith with a special power from God. But he wasn’t. Elijah was just an ordinary man who prayed God’s will into existence. In fact, if you read what happened next to Elijah, you would not think of him as a superhero. When Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, heard what happened, she wanted to kill Elijah. And do you know what Elijah did? He ran. He was afraid of Jezebel and hid in the cave. He even told God, “Will you just kill me? It’s better if I die.” Do you see? Elijah did not wear a cape. He was a man with a nature just like ours. Just right after unbelievable miracles, Elijah questioned God. He doubted. Elijah was righteous not because he was blameless; Elijah was righteous because he put his faith in God. He prayed to God and trusted God to answer his prayer. That’s why he was righteous.

James’ point is not for us to mimic what Elijah did. I tried it. It was raining and I wanted to play soccer. So, I went outside and said, “Rain, I commanded you to stop.” And immediately the rain stopped, and I played soccer. Okay, that’s not true. Nothing happened. It was still pouring. The lesson here is not for us to mimic Elijah’s miracle, but we can and should replicate his prayer of faith. Drought and rain both came because Elijah prayed God’s will into existence. Elijah’s prayers made a difference. Just like Elijah, we are to pray God’s will into existence. Listen. Powerful prayer is not about us being a superhero of faith; it’s about discovering God’s will and asking him for it. Prayers are powerful when we pray according to God’s will and promises.

The question is, do we believe that? Do we believe our prayers make a difference? Or do we think it won’t change anything? In 2013, WestJet Airlines in America ran a TV campaign in which they set up a “virtual Santa” in the departure lounge of a domestic flight. Passengers would scan their boarding pass, activating a screen featuring Santa, who would then say, “Ho ho ho Merry Christmas” and ask them what they wanted for Christmas before sending them on their way. What they did not know was that employees from the airline then went out to local malls to purchase and wrap the very things they had asked for—everything from new socks to a new laptop. When the passengers arrived at their destination, their gifts arrived along with their luggage. Many stood in disbelief when they realised what had happened. Of course, the video recording of their reactions went viral. It was a great advertisement. But if I was the guy who only asked for socks, I must be kicking myself surrounded by others with expensive gifts. “What did you get?” “Latest iPad pro with M4 chip. What did you get?” “Bonds.” I must have felt extremely dumb. If only I had known. If only I had asked.

James does not want us to make the same mistake. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. It is real. Things happen when we pray. God answers prayers. In the light of all we could have had, how foolish we are to be left with a pair of socks. How foolish we are not to pray far more than we do. Not every Christian can be a great theologian or preacher, but every Christian can be a powerful prayer person. Do not underestimate the power of prayer. But listen. James not only wants us to pray, but James also wants us to pray fervently. It means we are to pray persistently. It took Elijah seven times before his servant saw a cloud. Why didn’t God answer it the first time Elijah asked? I don’t know. But here is what I know. God rewards persistent prayer. Some answers only come through persistence. It’s not enough to pray once and then drop it. One of Jesus’ most famous parables on prayer is about a man who knocks persistently at his neighbour’s door at midnight to give him the food he needs. This man won’t stop knocking until he gets what he asks. Jesus says, “That’s how you should pray.” It means there are some answers about which we must pray and pray and pray and refuse to quit until God responds. Do not stop praying on the 6th when God intended to answer us on the 7th. If we know we are praying for God’s will and God’s promises over our lives, do not ever give up. Keep praying. God hears them. Our prayers make a difference.



The purpose of prayer

James 5:19-20 – 19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

James ends his letter by giving us the kind of prayer God loves to answer. Think back on the story of Elijah. Elijah didn’t ask for drought just because he felt like it. Drought was God’s judgment on the sin of God’s people. And the purpose of judgment was to wake them up from their doublemindedness so they may turn back to God. This is the same issue James had identified in his readers. There were many Christians who were double-minded, trying to have one foot in God and the other foot in the world. And Elijah showed the power of prayer to bring God’s people back to God. The same applies to us. Praise God that he answers our prayers for our personal struggles. But God also wants us to use prayer to watch over one another, specifically those who wander from the truth.

And this is no small matter. Anyone who wanders from God’s truth is in a very dangerous place. Wandering from the truth means that a person is moving away from God, moving away from the Christian community. It doesn’t necessarily mean moving away from our local church to another local church. That’s not wandering. Wandering means denying Christian faith and practices. And when we see our brothers and sisters wander, do you know who is responsible for bringing them back? It is not the pastors. James says, “someone.” It means it is the job of every Christian. Listen. Every Christian in this local church must watch over every Christian in this local church. And we must be very intentional about this because wandering from the truth does not happen overnight. Wandering does not look risky at first. Double-mindedness does not feel dangerous. It feels like getting the best of both worlds. It looks like enjoying everything life has to offer. But that path leads to death. That’s why we desperately need one another to keep us from wandering from the truth.

Let me say it as clearly as I can. Christianity is a community project. There is no such thing as a lone ranger Christian. That means some of you need to stop being ninja Christians. Do you know what I mean by ninja Christians? You are at church, but no one really knows you. You show up at church right when the service starts, and you disappear the second the service ends. You are here but you are not here. Don’t do that. Your participation matters. The people around you need you as much as you need them. What is at stake is your soul. And I know what some of you are thinking right now. “Does that mean that a Christian can lose salvation?” Let me answer it in two different ways. It is possible for someone to be in the church, very involved and active in the church, and never truly give their heart to God. The New Testament has many examples of it. And when these people wander from the truth and never return, that’s because they were never Christians in the first place. They have the appearance of Christians, but they don’t have the heart of Christians. But it is also possible for someone who genuinely loves God to wander from the truth. But ultimately, they will come back. I have heard it put this way. A real Christian is like a person who is on a boat on the way to heaven. He cannot fall off the boat, but he can fall on the boat, break all his bones, and spend the whole trip in the infirmary. And it is our responsibility to help one another avoid the infirmary.

So, yes, God will preserve those who are his. God will not lose a single sheep. God will bring every salvation to completion. But do you know how God does it? Community. God keeps us from wandering from the truth by giving us brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s why we remind you almost every week to join MC. He used us as the means to keep each other in the boat. We are to do everything we can to bring our wandering brothers and sisters back. And when we do, we save their souls and cover a multitude of sins. Only Jesus can cover sins, but he uses us to do so. And that’s the kind of prayer God loves to answer. We are to pray fervently to God for our wandering brothers and sisters and do everything we can to bring them back. I love what Alec Motyer writes. “Though we cannot convert them, we must labour to do so. Though we cannot save them from death, we must strive for their spiritual welfare as if their eternal destiny rested with us. Though we cannot cover their sins, we must follow the example of the Son of God who can do so, and hold nothing dear to ourselves and no sacrifice too great if only they are saved.”

And listen to the guarantee we have. James 5:16b – The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. This is an important principle in prayer. The more righteous we are, the more God hears us, the more effective our prayers will be. This is both bad news and good news. This is bad news because none of us is righteous. Not a single person in this church can say to God, “God, you have to hear my prayer because I am righteous.” Not a single person alive today can say that. All of us are unrighteous to some degree. None of us is free from sins. Therefore, our prayers have no great power. That’s the bad news. But here is the good news. There is one perfect righteous person, and that perfect righteous person’s prayer is extremely powerful. That perfect righteous person’s prayer will not fail. His name is Jesus. And do you know what Jesus is doing right now in heaven? He is praying for us. And his prayer will never ever be turned down. One time, Jesus said to Peter, “Peter, you’re going to deny me,” and Peter said, “Not me. I will never do that.” Jesus replied, “Simon, Simon, Satan wanted to have you. He was going to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, and when you turn, strengthen your brothers.” Jesus did not say, “If you turn.” He said, “When you turn.” Why? Because the prayer of a righteous man, a perfectly righteous man, has great power as it is working. There’s only one person, and he’s praying for us. Right now, Jesus is at the right hand of God praying for you and me. Our prayers have no power on their own because we are not righteous. But because of our faith in Jesus, right now when God looks at us, he sees us perfectly righteous. God sees us covered in Jesus’ perfect righteousness. That’s the guarantee we have today that God hears our prayers. God will always hear Jesus’ prayers. And because we are covered in Jesus’ righteousness, God also hears our prayers. So, don’t give up. Keep praying. God will not fail to give us what is good for us when we pray to him. Let’s pray.



Discussion questions:

  1. What struck you the most from the sermon?
  2. What does James mean by the prayer of faith? Why is it encouraging instead of terrifying?
  3. Why do you think it is very hard to believe that God hears your prayer like he did Elijah’s?
  4.  List some things you can do to keep each other from wandering from the truth.
  5. How does the gospel give you confidence to bring your petition to God?
  6. Spend time praying the prayer of faith with each other.
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