Prayer that Makes a Difference
Text: James 5:11-20
Title: Prayer that Makes a Difference
Nelson's story - slingshot - looked everywhere - then prayed and he walked to it - prayer makes a difference.
James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
exp. God delivered Job - but you'll notice in the OT story that it was after Job prayed.
Job 42:10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
note: Prayer makes a difference - in God's timing He will deliver - HE IS "very pitiful, and of tender mercy."
ill. Hall of faith - Hebrews 11 -
exp. - it is impossible to think that the hall of faith happened apart from prayer.
Faith is the fodder of prayer - it is what prayer feeds upon and gives it energy
prayer is what communicates faith to God.
BELIEVING PRAYER MAKES A DIFFERENCE.
32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
We need to pray because prayer makes a difference. Do you really believe that prayer makes a difference? Do you pray in faith for God to make a difference in your life?
I. Prayer makes a difference in your emotions.
13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
exp. God is compassionate to those who are afflicted even though he allows it into their life.
Lam 3:33 For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.
ill. I had the privilige of sharing the Gospel with a young lady recently who was in her early 20's and had lost both her parents to death. My heart went out to her - that is a great trial - affliction brings sorrow of heart.
app. God may allow you to taste affliction which affects your emotions and brings sorrow of heart. You don't feel like singing because your heart is not merry - what should you do? Pray!
ill. Hannah had an adversary (Peninah - (husband) Elkanah) who afflicted her. She was grieved by it and so she prayed.
6 And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.
7 And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.
8 Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?
9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.
10 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.
11 And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.
question: Does prayer make a difference? Will it turn my sorrow into joy?
17 Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
18 And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.
2:1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
app. "Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning." Have you ever prayed your way to joy? Prayer makes a difference in your emotions.
II. Prayer makes a difference in your health.
14 Is any sick among you? 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 shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up;
note: James (who wrote this) is not a Pentecostal but an APOSTLE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
note: Notice as well - that it is a prayer of faith.
Mat 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
ill. Jesus himself was limited by man's faith.
Mat 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
Acts 14:9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.
exp. Paul wasn't a pentecostal either - he was also an apostle.
question: Do you really believe there is power in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ?
ill. Peter's commanding a 40 year old man lame from his mother's womb to rise up and walk was IN THE NAME OF THE LORD.
Act 3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Act 3:16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
exp. Jesus gave us the right to come to the Father in HIS ALL POWERFUL NAME.
Joh 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
exp. Just in case you struggle with that.....(next verse.)
Joh 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
question: Must God always heal us if we ask him in faith?
ill. 2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
ill. God was pleased to heal my dad of an impossibly broken back allowing him to walk out of the hospital 13 days after a horrible auto accident that claimed the life of his family.
app. Prayer makes a difference in your health! Do you believe it? Has prayer made a difference in your health?
III. Prayer makes a difference in your righteousness.
and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
exp. When God touches a person's life - he changes them completely. It seems in this case that the physical illness is a direct result of disobedience. (That is not always the case.)
ill. John 9:1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
ill. Francis Crosby is a great example of God allowing suffering that "the works of God shold be manifest in them.
exp. However at times, it would be the chastening hand of God.
1Co 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
exp. And so - when God would remove His chastening in answer to believing prayer - he would also cleanse the heart of the one being healed.
ill. Perhaps this is what we see in Matthew 9. If not - it is healing and conversion taking place simultaneously.
Matthew 9:1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
7 And he arose, and departed to his house.
app. Do you know that joy of cleansing in answer to prayer? Prayer makes a difference in righteousness! 1Jn 1:9 If we confess (prayer) our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
IV. Prayer makes a difference in your walk with God.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.
exp. We are not perfect people. We need accountability and encouragement. It isn't that we empty our sins before one another - but it is good to let a brother know that you are struggling and that you need prayer. BECAUSE PRAYER MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN FAITHFULNESS.
ill. Layton Kelly - came to live in the pastor's home before going himself into a men's home to get victory over addiction. Now he has a ministry of restoring broken men. (He was prayed for and I know the men in his ministry are prayed for.)
Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
ill. When Peter was in prison the Bible says.... Act 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. (God miraculously delivered him.)
exp. If we know of people in bondage to sin - we ought to be pray continually for God to set them free.
app. Do you pray about spiritual things? Prayer makes a difference in our walk with God. We need to pray for each other to live in victory over sin.
V. Prayer *rightly prayed - makes a big difference.
ill. I often have people tell me that they don't believe in God because they prayed about something and God didn't answer.
exp. God doesn't answer just any kind of prayer - although he does answer a certain kind of prayer.
A. That prayer is effectual.
exp. It accomplishes something - it is "prayer makes a difference" praying which we have been considering.
ill. Praying for God to make the events of this past month not a burden - but a blessing. God to keep the weather good. God to give us lasting fruit.
app. This is where we want to be in prayer - what are the conditions from this text?
B. That prayer is in earnest.
def. fervent: having or displaying a passionate intensity.
exp. You have to pray about it - and you need to pray fervently.
ill. "Do you really want revival? Do you really want God's power? Do you really want his spirit to control your life this hour? Oh repent and turn to Jesus, seek His face and humbly pray. Do you really want revival? Are you willing to obey?
another verse - are you praying for revival?
app: Don't bother praying if you aren't "fervent" about it? Fasting is probably a part of this fervency? Getting rid of sin and weights is a part of this fervency!
C. Tha prayer comes from righteous lips.
of a righteous man
exp. God isn't interested in hearing prayer from the lips of a man with a dirty heart.
Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me
exp. Sin will be the greatest hinderance to your prayer life.
ill. Robert Murray McCheyne said, "My people's greatest need is my personal purity."
app. The greatest need of your family and your community is you having a clean access to God - Psa 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
D. That prayer accomplishes much!
exp. This is tangible. If this is happening - I can see it. This is not mysterious. This is prayer that MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
ill. This is the grave of Lazarus opening and him walking out. 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
app. IS YOUR PRAYER LIFE VISIBLE? Our Lord's was and James just told us that our's can be as well! Do you feel like you can't pray as powerfully as our Lord? How about like Elijah?
VI. Prayer makes a difference in your community.
17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
exp. Elijah prayed this prayer in obedience to God and for the glory of God. He went up onto Mt. Carmel in obedience to the Lord.
1 Kings 18:1 And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.
1 Kings 18:41 And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.
42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees,
43 And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times.
44 And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.
note: James just said - PRAYER MAKES A DIFFERENCE - then he gave us a very common example of a common man "subject to like passions as we are" who prayed and it AVAILED MUCH!
question: How much? God sent a revival to Israel - and the physical blessing was restored to the land.
37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.
app. Prayer makes a difference in our community! Are you making a difference in your community through believing prayer?
VII. Prayer makes a difference in conversions.
19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
exp. In the context of our passage it is through prayer that this event takes place.
ill. Witnessing to Mrs. Coffee - she is neighbors with Dan and Sharon Pero. They pray for her.
note: So often in my evangelism I have witnessed to people who know others who are born again.
ill. Lady - waiting to see 1 o'clock gun - her son is a believer and she is not. We had a good talk about God and then she said, "My son and I can't talk about this."
app. Are you praying in faith for God to convert sinners from the error of their ways? We need to witness - but we also need to pray for men's salvation.
conclusion: Nelson found his slingshot - because God helped him. Prayer makes a difference.
If you don't believe that today - you are right - prayer doesn't make a difference in your life! But, it can and it should.
Prayer makes a difference in your emotions. (Get joy restored through prayer.)
Prayer makes a difference in your health. (Prayer of faith shall heal the sick)
Prayer makes a difference in your righteousness. (The Son hath power to forgive sin on earth.)
Prayer makes a difference in your walk with God. (confess your faults and pray for one another)
Prayer rightly prayed - make a big difference.
Prayer makes a difference in your community. (revival and blessing)
Prayer makes a difference in conversions. (save a soul from sin)