Some Guidelines for Prayer

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A chapel message at Oro Bible College

Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

 

Based on James 5:13-20

1. Pray what you feel (13).

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.”

So many of our prayers are just reciting formulas and words that we have learned. The LORD is more interested in our being honest with him. He wants to hear our complaints when we are suffering, and our praises when we are happy. He’s our Father and he wants to hear our voice.

2. Get help when you need it (14-15a) (16a).

“Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him” “pray for one another”

Sometimes our pride keeps us from getting the benefits of prayer, because the LORD wants others to minister to us, but we want to do everything ourselves. The LORD loves us all, and he is pleased when we pray for others, and others pray for us.

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3. Unconfessed sin can ruin your prayer life (15b-16a).

“if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” “Therefore, confess your sins to one another”

Sin puts a barrier between us and the One we are praying to. It cuts off the connection. Nothing destroys relationships like guilt. We need to keep short accounts with God, so that our prayers are not hindered.

4. Pray for both spiritual and physical healing (16b) (19-20).

“pray for one another, that you may be healed” “whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death.”

Sin and sickness are both evidence that there is something wrong with this world we live in. God created the universe in a state of perfection, but when our ancestors rebelled, sin and sickness and death entered in. Our prayers are not always going to stop people from sinning, being sick, or dying. But we do know that reconciliation and restoration can happen, and the LORD encourages us to keep praying until it does.

5. You do not have to be a spiritual giant to pray powerfully; you just have to pray in tune with God’s desire (17-18).

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“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently”

Elijah was an ordinary man whom God used. The LORD is looking for ordinary men and women who are willing to pray. That way, he gets the glory for his work, not the instrument he uses. When we find out what God wants, we pray accordingly, and let God be God. But, even then, there are no guarantees. That is why it is called the prayer of faith.

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