Weekly Word from Bro. David
April 28, 2016
From The Pastor's Heart:
So, how is your prayer life? If you could measure it, put it on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best it's ever been, how would you score it? 2? 4? 8? What does your prayer life look like today?
What would you say if I told you that it's possible for you to pray like the prophets? Well that's what we find Pastor James talking about as we come near the end of our study under the heading: CHRISITIANITY IN SHOELEATHER.
Take your Bible and join me in James 5. Beginning in verse 13 the topic is PRAYER. We read in verse 13, “Let him pray.” Verse 14, “let them pray.” Verse 15, mentions “the prayer of faith.” Verse 16, “pray for one another” and, “fervent prayer of a righteous man.” Verse 17, “he prayed earnestly.” Verse 18, “And he prayed again.” Seven times in six verses we find the word “pray or prayer or prayed.”
So how's your prayer life? Somebody said that “the man who studies the Bible without praying will develop a good mind and a cold heart. The man who prays without knowing scripture will consistently pray outside the will of God, for that is where His will is revealed.”
What we need is a balance of scripture and prayer. And if anybody understood that balance it was the Old Testament prophet Elijah. In fact, James is about to use him as an example as we think together about praying like the prophets in James 5.16-18.
Vv. 16-18, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”
What is the prerequisite for praying like the prophets? Notice beginning in verse 16 what's involved. To begin with, there is a confession we must make. Verse 16, “Confess your trespasses to one another...” Prayer power is directly linked to our confession. And something he says here is something most of us are not very good at: “confess your trespasses to one another...” We would rather conceal our faults rather than confess our faults.
Can you imagine what would happen around here if CONFESSION replaced CRITICISM? People who have faults, and the last time I checked that would be all of us, don't need condemnation; they need prayer!
You talk about revival! Do the research! The great revivals recorded down through the years were marked with confession of sins not only to God, but to one another! Where God's people are confessing, God's power is unleashed! And James tells us here that where there is confession of sin there is restoration!
Look at verse 16, “...that you may be HEALED.” This word that's translated “healed” speaks of emotional healing, a soul healing, a physical healing. Physical health and spiritual health are closely linked. There is a connection between sin and sickness and confession and healing.
When we begin to confess our sins God moves in and start healing our broken emotions and our broken spirit and yes even our broken bodies. Where there is confession of sin to one another there is restoration.
But not only restoration, there is also reconciliation. Look in your Bibles and read with me Matthew 5.23-24. Jesus was talking about worship and said, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
In other words until there has been reconciliation, all of those religious acts are not acceptable before God. When we go to somebody and say, “I've sinned against you and God and I want to confess my faults to you” reconciliation takes place.
And when reconciliation takes place the power of God is unleashed in our lives. Healing power! Restoring power! The power of God! RESTORATION -- RECONCILIATION! Now somebody says, “Well does that mean I should stand before the church and confess my sins and faults?” Perhaps! I believe that Jesus meant here that PRIVATE SIN calls for private confession between a child of God and their savior or perhaps with a trusted friend.
Most of our sins are between us and God. Be careful not to scatter your sins among the gossips and busybodies. Satan can even use your confessing to damage the cause of Christ. PRIVATE SIN calls for private confession. PERSONAL SIN calls for personal confession.
If I've sinned against you or you've sinned against me then we need to get together and confess to one another. Not talk to other people about it, but together on our knees.
PRIVATE SIN calls for private confession. PERSONAL SIN calls for personal confession. PUBLIC SIN calls for public confession.
If you have publicly dishonored the Lord you ought to publicly get right with God. Because even though you've changed in your heart, those in the fellowship don't know it.
Public sin... public confession. Personal sin... personal confession.
Private sin... private confession.
Evangelist Freddie Gage says that the Christian army is the only army that shoots its wounded. God forgive us. God help us. We're not to criticize and condemn, we're to help and lift and boost!
“Confess your trespasses to one another ...” that's the first prerequisite for praying like the prophets: the confession we must make.