Stewardship of Prayer

This year in our Sunday School lessons we are going through the books of James and Proverbs to look at the Practical Living from God’s Word.  What is located below are the high level points we discussed this week.  Please use this tool to follow up with your teens and see how they plan to apply this to their life.

James 5:13-20

 

Why do we pray?  Is it necessary for us to pray?  Doesn’t God already know what is going to happen?

 

I can think of countless times in my life when God has done some amazing things in my life and I later found out that people were specifically praying for me at that moment.  After I got married I found out of a sweet prayer warrior who had been praying for me to find peace in God’s plan regarding a wife, and if possible for me to have a wife.  When I had a freak attack on my breathing by my uvula (long story) I found out that at that moment God had put me on the mind of a sweet lady from my home church and she had been praying for me that morning.

We need to pray and we need to use prayer on a more regular basis.

How often do you pray?  Do you pray just for the food you are about to eat?  Do you only pray for a good night’s sleep?  Do you pray for all your needs?  Do you pray for God to show you what to do?

Today we want to talk about the Stewardship of Prayer.

What are the 4 principles of Stewardship?

  1. God owns everything, you own nothing.
  2. God entrusts you with everything you have.
  3. You can either increase or diminish what God has given you; God wants you to increase it.
  4. You can be called into account at any time, and it may be today.

One of the areas of stewardship we should be thinking about is how do we use our prayer life.  Did you know that right now as we meet for Sunday School there are 2 ladies who get together every Sunday morning to pray for you for an hour and a half as we meet?  This is the way we should be thinking about prayer, it is an opportunity to talk to God and to plead with Him.

Read James 5:13-20

Praying through Life’s Circumstances (13)

 

So we need to pray when life is rough as well as when life is good.  In this verse we are reminded of that very thing.

Is anyone suffering, he should pray.

So when a tough circumstance comes along we should pray about.  Why?

Do we pray for this awful thing to be taken away?  Sure we can pray that if it is God’s Will that this thing be taken from us.  Even Jesus asked God if the suffering could be removed from Him.

Mostly we need to pray for wisdom from God to be able to understand why God is putting us through this suffering.

James 1:5 (NASB95)

5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

“Prayer can remove affliction, if that is God’s will. But prayer can also give us the grace we need to endure troubles and use them to accomplish God’s perfect will. God can transform troubles into triumphs. “He giveth more grace” (James 4:6). Paul prayed that God might change his circumstances, but instead, God gave Paul the grace he needed to turn his weakness into strength (2 Cor. 12:7–10). Our Lord prayed in Gethsemane that the cup might be removed, and it was not; yet the Father gave Him the strength He needed to go to the cross and die for our sins.”[1]

Is anyone cheerful, he should pray.

Prayer is not just for the bad times.  We need to pray even during the good times.

Not all of life is suffering so learning how to rejoice even in the midst of suffering is a crucial part to handling trials well.  Think of Paul in a prison and yet he still found joy in Christ.  Acts 16:25 (NASB95)

25 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;

Pray through sickness

So if someone is sick we are to call the church and have the elders pray over that person.

 

There is a couple interesting notes about the specific ill person in this verse.

The person has sinned (15b – 16)

The Greek text says, “If he has been constantly sinning.” This parallels 1 Corinthians 11:30, “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep” (have died). James has described a church member who is sick because he is being disciplined by God. This explains why the elders of the assembly are called: the man cannot go to church to confess his sins, so he asks the spiritual leaders to come to him. The leaders would be in charge of the discipline of the congregation.[2]

Pray until the person confesses their sin (16)

When a person has fallen ill because of a sin in their life the elders should continue praying for them until they have sought forgiveness.

This is why we do things like church discipline.  Is church discipline necessary?  Why or why not?

In the early church, the believers practiced church discipline. First Corinthians 5 is a good example. Paul told the believers at Corinth to dismiss the sinning member from the assembly until he repented of his sins and made things right. The little word “therefore” belongs in James 5:16—“Confess your sins therefore to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (literal translation). The word faults in the Authorized Version gives the impression that the man’s deeds were not too evil; they were only faults. But it is the word hamartia that James used, and this word means “sin.” It is the same word used in James 1:15, where the subject is definitely sin.[3]

The Prayer of Faith Will Save Them (15)

It is not the anointing that heals, but the praying. The Greek word translated “anointing” is a medicinal term; it could be translated “massaging.” This may be an indication that James suggests using available means for healing along with asking the Lord for His divine touch. God can heal with or without means; in each case, it is God who does the healing.

But what is “the prayer of faith” that heals the sick? The answer is in 1 John 5:14–15—“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” The “prayer of faith” is a prayer offered when you know the will of God. The elders would seek the mind of God in the matter, and then pray according to His will.[4]

This is a bit different than going to a healer.  Notice this is a group of men praying and they are asking God to do the work.  The power to do it does not reside in one of them but rather in God.  The men are there pleading with God to do this.

Pray for our Nation

In 1 Kings 17 and 18 we are given the story that this verse is referencing.

Read 1 Kings 17-18

Elijah say a need in his nation and he prayed for it.

Without getting to political what are some of the things we can be praying for today in our nation?

Pray for Those Stuck in Sin (19-20)

Such a condition is, of course, very dangerous. It is dangerous to the offender because he may be disciplined by the Lord (Heb. 12). He also faces the danger of committing “sin unto death” (1 John 5:16–17). God disciplined the sinning members of the Corinthian church, even to the point of taking some of them to heaven (1 Cor. 11:30).

But this backsliding is also dangerous to the church. A wandering offender can influence others and lead them astray. “One sinner destroys much good” (Ecc. 9:18, nasb). This is why the spiritual members of the church must step in and help the man who has wandered away.[5]

hat are we to do when we see a fellow believer wandering from the truth? We should pray for him, to be sure; but we must also seek to help him. He needs to be “converted”—turned back into the right path again. Do believers need to be converted? Yes, they do! Jesus said to Peter, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32).

It is important that we seek to win the lost, but it is also important to win the saved. If a brother has sinned against us, we should talk to him privately and seek to settle the matter. If he listens, then we have gained our brother (Matt. 18:15). That word gained means “won.” It is the same word translated “get gain” in James 4:13. It is important to win the saved as well as the lost.

If we are going to help an erring brother, we must have an attitude of love, for “love shall cover the multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Both James and Peter learned this principle from Proverbs 10:12—“Hate stirreth up strife: but love covereth all sins.”

This does not mean that love “sweeps the dirt under the carpet.” Where there is love, there must also be truth (“speaking the truth in love” says Paul in Eph. 4:15); and where there is truth, there is honest confession of sin and cleansing from God. Love not only helps the offender to face his sins and deal with them, but love also assures the offender that those sins, once forgiven, are remembered no more.[6]

 


[1] Warren W. Wiersbe, vol. 2, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 382.

[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, vol. 2, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 382.

[3] Warren W. Wiersbe, vol. 2, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 382.

[4] Warren W. Wiersbe, vol. 2, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 382-83.

basb New American Standard Bible

[5] Warren W. Wiersbe, vol. 2, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 384.

[6] Warren W. Wiersbe, vol. 2, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 384-85.

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Johnny KjaerJohnny Kjaer
Johnny Kjaer oversees the Youth and Skatepark Ministries at Faith Church. He can often be found serving the community with the teenagers. His passion is to assist parents in training their teens to love the Lord. He and his wife, Tori, have three children; Leif, Tryggve, and Kjirsti.