Sir George was exploring the vast beauty of the Swiss Alps with a respected guide. On the second day of climbing the sheltered side of the stunning Weisshorn Mountain they reached the summit. Overwhelmed by the beauty in front of him and exhilarated with the success of reaching the top, Sir George leaped to his feet. Instantly the wind caught him and nearly hurled him over the precipice onto the glacier below. With a skilled hand, the guide grabbed him and said, "On your knees, Sir. You are safe here only on your knees." That is such a fitting picture of life with its storms - we are safe only on our knees in fellowship with God. James 5:13-18 teaches us how to pray in every season of life so that we can weather all of life's gusts. Study the passage to learn how you can pray effectively in every season of life.
Pray that the Lord will give you understanding and wisdom through His Word and ask Him to help you live what you learn.
Read Focus Verses
Read James 5:13-18 and notice what theme of this passage is - look for a word that comes up over and over again.
Keyword - Prayer
The words pray and prayer occur throughout today's passage.
Pray, Prayer, Supplication
Mark the words pray and prayer in James 5:13-18.
What should the suffering Christian do?
What should the cheerful Christian do?
What should the sick Christian do?
What should the church leaders do when a sick believer has called them?
In whose name should they do it?
What is the promise in verse 15?
What does the beginning of verse 16 tell Christians to do?
Why should Christians confess their faults to one another?
What kind of prayer does the second half of verse 16 speak of?
What kind of person is praying this prayer?
What does verse 16 say about this kind of prayer offered by this kind of person?
In verse 17-18 God tells us that a particular person from Bible history is an example to us of this kind of prayer. Who is this example?
What story from Elijah's life is an example to us of effective prayer?
The book of James has already talked about prayer. Read what God says in James 1:5-8.
To Not Receive
Next consider what James 4:3 says about prayer.
How do these verses prepare us to understand and apply today's passage on prayer?
What's in the Name
In Luke 18:10-14 the Lord Jesus tells us a story that teaches us that not everything called prayer is genuine prayer.
Not a Ritual
In Matthew 6:5-8 Christ teaches us more about prayer - what it is and what it isn't.
Who is it important to have notice and hear our prayers?
Who does it not matter to have notice our praying?
In John 14-16 the Lord teaches us much about prayer. He tells us something about how we should pray several times. Notice it in John 15:16.
1 Timothy 2:5 explains why Christians pray in Jesus' Name - He is their mediator, the one who makes them acceptable to God through His death and resurrection.
In His Name
In whose Name do Christians pray? Why?
1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us when to pray.
Proverbs 15:8 gives us the best reason to pray.
Psalm 145:18 further clarifies what kind of prayer God loves.
To whom should Christians pray and when and why according to these verses (and other verses you might know)?
Today's passage shows us that in different seasons of life a Christian's prayer will emphasize different things. We see this in the Psalms which are prayers. For instance, consider Psalm 69:1-6.
Contrast that with Psalm 40:1-5.
Now read Psalm 51:1-10.
Philippians 4:6-7 speaks of several different parts of prayer.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 also speaks of different types of prayer.
In Colossians 4:2 we see what should always be part of our prayers no matter what season of life we're in.
In Every Season
How do these passages help us understand what today's passage means when it speaks of different kinds of prayer for different seasons of life?
What must always be part of biblical prayer no matter what you're going through?
Job 34:28 gives a special promise to believers who pray in their affliction as today's passage commands.
What does God promise to His people when they cry to Him in their troubles?
Example of Prayer in Trouble
Read the amazing story of people crying out to God for help in their time of trouble and the wonderful way He answered their prayer in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30.
Example of Singing in Joy
2 Chronicles 5:13-14 tells the story of God's response when His people sang in their joy at the dedication of the Temple Solomon built in Jerusalem.
Example of Prayer in Sickness
We don't have a Bible example of church leaders praying for the sick the way today's passage describes, but we do have other accounts of people who are sick praying for healing. Hezekiah's request was granted in 2 Kings 20:1-7.
Paul's Prayer for Healing
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 tells another story - this time about Paul the apostle.
Healing or Grace
What did God give Paul instead of healing?
There are two things that today's passage says must accompany the anointing with oil and prayer for the sick by the elders. The first is faith. Read James 1:6-8 again to see the importance of faith in prayer.
Praying in Faith
In Mark 11:22-24 the Lord speaks of faith's role in prayer.
John 15:7 tells us what will be true of the person who has this kind of power in prayer.
In 1 John 5:14-15 we see what kind of prayers this person who has God's Word abiding in them and is walking in obedience will pray.
Prayer of Faith
What do these verses teach us about praying in faith?
The second thing that must accompany this praying if we desire God to grant what we desire is confession. The word confess in today's passage is from the root word which literally means to say the same thing. What does that tell us about confession?
In My Heart
Psalm 66:18 highlights the importance of confession in prayer.
If We Confess
1 John 1:5-10 explains confession and gives a promise to those who humbly confess their sin.
Proverbs 28:13 tells us what follows true confession.
Acts 19:18 shows us what confession looks like.
If My People
2 Chronicles 7:14 encourages humble confession and repentance by telling us God's response.
What do these verses teach us about biblical confession of sin?
Today's passage tells us it is a righteous person whose prayer has power. Notice what Proverbs 15:29 says about this.
Isaiah 64:6 shows us that our best attempts at righteousness on our own cannot make us acceptable to God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 teaches us that Christians are righteous before God in Christ.
What is the first step to be able to pray and have God answer?
God Be Merciful to Me
We already saw an example in Luke 18:10-14 of the first prayer God wants a person to pray - asking for His mercy and salvation. What did the publican pray and what was God's response?
1 Peter 1:13-16 adds that once a person is in Christ they can and must live holy, righteous lives that match this righteousness they have in Christ so they can please God.
Considering who God is and the various passages you've studied, what are some of the reasons it is the righteous person who has power in prayer?
Shook the Building
Today's passage tells us that this kind of prayer accomplishes much. In Acts 4:31 we see that God loves to move on behalf of those who truly pray for His glory.
Call on Me
These prayers don't need to be small according to Jeremiah 33:3.
To a King
This beautiful verse by John Newton reminds us who we're praying to: Thou art coming to a King, Large petitions with thee bring, For His grace and pow'r are such, None can ever ask too much.
Too Big or Small
If it is true that nothing is too big to ask God, it is equally true that nothing is too small to ask our heavenly Father. John 16:26-27 tells us why.
Praying According to God's Nature
How will praying in light of who God is help us to pray better?
If you have time, this video will give you a summary of some of Elijah's story from the Bible.
The Story - Part 1
Today's passage highlights one story from the life of the Old Testament prophet Elijah as an example of this kind of mighty prayer. Listen to (or read) the first part of the story in 1 Kings 17.
The Story - Part 2
Listen to (or read) the second part of the story telling us about Elijah's prayer for rain after God's great victory in 1 Kings 18.
When considered in light of everything you've seen in today's passage, what does this story from Elijah's life teach us about prayer?
How does what verse 17 says about Elijah being a person like us encourage us as we read his story and God tells us to follow his example in prayer?
Elijah prayed until God answered. The Lord Jesus taught us to do the same in Luke 18:1-8. Notice how it connects faith with this kind of prayer too.
Praying by Faith
What do these stories teach us about praying by faith?
Read James 5:13-18 once more, understanding it better in light of all that you've studied from the rest of Scripture.
In Your Words
Summarize today's passage in your own words and explain how it should impact a Christian's life.
Prepared to Pray
Are you prepared to pray effectively or is there a part of what this passage talks about as preparation for mighty prayer that you see you need to work on - faith in the Lord, obedience to His Word, desire to see His will accomplished, living righteously, praying with persistence? How are you going to work on that this week?
In Every Season
You've seen a few examples of prayers for different seasons of life in the Psalms today. How can you use the Psalms and the other prayers of the Bible to encourage you and teach you how to pray in every season of life?
What season of life are you in right now? How does God instruct you to pray? Will you obey Him even now?
We hope this study has helped you understand how a Christian prays in every season of life and has challenged you to prepare yourself so that you can pray effectively for God's glory.
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