Stand Up Right
Verse 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.
We have been discussing how sin interrupts our relationship with God and interferes with our prayer lives. Today let’s look at how being in right standing with God can build our faith and our prayer lives.
The word righteousness is best understood as being in right standing with God. We can’t be in right standing with God without the blood of Christ. The only way God can look at us is because of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. And since He has removed our sins we have the open door to pray to the God of the universe.
We have learned that He doesn’t listen to us when we are living in sin, but what does He listen to us about? He wants us to talk to Him about anything but that doesn’t mean that He is just someone to give a list of all our wants. Once again we need to remember two very important things – it isn’t all about us and our wants and it isn’t all about this life. But He does want us to ask! So what kind of things does He want us asking for?
The examples in the passage we have been focusing on are prayers for healing and this incredible story about Elijah and rain (found in 1 Kings 17:1 and 1 Kings 18:41-46). Elijah was a well-known prophet and all of James listeners would have known the story. The idea of praying for no rain or dew and there being none for 3 years until he prayed for it to begin again seems so unbelievable to us. Most of us have not seen such miraculous examples of prayer but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.
The key to our talk today isn’t so much about asking for the unthinkable but knowing that God listens to the prayers of those who are living as He desires us to live. If Elijah had been living in close relationship with his sin, he wouldn’t have been in close relationship with God. He wouldn’t have known that God was wanting to use this time of drought to teach some of His followers and show His enemies His power. Elijah’s prayers didn’t matter because of what he did but because of what God did. Elijah’s right standing with God was an example of God’s power and his prayers were in full access to God. God is calling us into the same kind of relationship with Him. He wants us to live close to Him and He longs to hear our prayers that are aligned with His will.
Making It Personal
How close does God think your relationship is with Him? Do you know Him well enough to know how He wants you to pray? What would He want you to pray about today?
Making It Personal Kids
Why did God answer Elijah’s prayers? Does God listen to everyone’s prayers? What kind of prayers does God answer?
Father, thank You for listening to our prayers. Thank You for guiding us in Your will when we draw near to You. Help us know what to pray. In Jesus’ name, amen.