Share and Care In Prayer

At the end of his letter, James reminds his brothers and sisters in Christ to come together and pray for one another. We are a family and it’s important we watch each other’s back. There is no better way to do this than to be intentional in our prayer life. The world, which is ruled by Satan, is out to get us. Now, more then ever, we need to stick together and pray together!

Podcast 56 Transcript

(This is a computer generated transcript of this podcast. This is NOT a typed transcript and it has not been edited. Expect grammatical and syntactical errors.)

Hello, and good day. I am B. R. Maul, and you are listening to the podcast, Living God’s Way in an Ungodly World. Today we are finishing up the book of James. I’ll be reading from chapter 5, verses 13 through 20. As usual, I will read through all of God’s Word, and then I’ll back up and we’ll break it down, okay?

Let’s jump right on in. Verse 13. Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? 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. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another. Now you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain. And it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.

And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. Verse 19. Brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover him. A multitude of sins.

Here ends the reading. Pray with me. Heavenly Father, I pray for your guidance. As we finish up the book of James, I ask you to guide me, Lord, and that my teaching only comes from your Holy Bible, and that your Holy Spirit guides me. Stay my tongue. If there’s any selfishness behind it or any agenda that I’m not aware of, Lord, keep it from me. And I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

Well, let’s back up. Taking a look at verse 13, so James says, Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. There’s much to be said, then, about prayer and worship. That is what James is referencing in this verse, prayer. And I hope that you know and understand the power of prayer. If you are one who goes straight to praying, and you pray often, then I’m quite sure you do know the power of prayer. But maybe you’re not. Maybe you’re one who falls into that category where when it’s the last ditch effort, then you pray. I understand that was a saying that I heard growing up. Well, the only thing left to do is to pray, which ultimately meant there was nothing we could do. But being a man who has gone through God’s Word and continues to walk and go through God’s Word, I see that how wrong that really is. Because prayer is the first thing a Christian needs to turn to. Why? Because we’re going straight to our Heavenly Father. He has all the answers. He has all the power. So why wouldn’t we go to the very source that can solve anything and everything? Not that prayer is like a wish list, or praying is like rubbing a lamp, hoping the genie will come out of it. Because there is understandings that come with that. But we’ll leave this for another time. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. And that’s worshipping. So whether we are praying or worshipping, these are ways to approach God.

Whether you’re thankful and you’re just praying to give thanks, or you’re thankful and you’re worshipping him, or you’re suffering and you pray, sharing your supplications with our Heavenly Father. And even worshipping, singing songs of remorse, but you’re worshipping who He is, letting Him know how you feel.

Verse 14, Is anyone among you sick? 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. And I’m going to read part of the next one as well, verse 15, And the prayer of faith will save the sick. The Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

All right. I wanted to put those together. This can be a very misleading verse if we don’t understand what James is saying. So it sounds like that if someone’s sick, that the elders can come, pray over him, anoint him, and that he will be saved. And sadly, this is what the passage is often used for. Perhaps to even point out if someone doesn’t have enough faith in the Lord. And that breaks my heart, because that’s not what James is saying. Well, why do we know that? We know that because, remember, we checked the Bible with the Bible. And we’re not taught in God’s Word that whatever we want, we get. Not at all. Our hearts are tainted. We have sin that we’re still dealing with. So even once we are born again, we’re not washed of our sins in the sense that we’re absent of sin. No, we are forgiven. So we are justified. We’re in the process of being sanctified. So our ways are changing and we’re becoming more like Jesus, but it’s not until we are glorified. And that will happen on the other side of the grave. Now when that happens, then we’ll be absent of sin, and we won’t have to deal with that anymore and our will be in rhythm with God’s will. But right now, that’s not the case. So if our will isn’t in sync with God’s will, when it comes to this right here, if someone is sick and we’re praying for them, keep in mind, beloved, it is what God wills, and we That will happen. This isn’t the ingredients of saving everybody and making everyone who is sick healed.

I hear it often. People who are praising the Lord, worshiping him, and part of their story is that they had cancer or they had some other ailment. These days it seems to be cancer more and more. And they prayed on it. They had friends and family pray on it. Their church prayed on it, whatever it may be, and the person is cured of cancer. Dr. Vernon McGee has shared his story on that topic. And, you know, he too was cured of cancer. But that’s knowing that it’s God’s will. Remember, we don’t understand His ways. His ways are not our ways. We may want something that ultimately could hurt us. Now, you might be thinking, well, how can healing somebody from a disease be hurtful?

Well, there’s a thousand different pathways that that can spider out into a web because we don’t know what actions that person may or may not do that would cause other issues that the Lord doesn’t want to happen. It doesn’t even mean that they themselves were going to do something horrendous or evil. It just means we don’t know the full story, because we are stuck in this linear time, so we can’t look back and we can’t look forward, but our Heavenly Father can. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him. The power of prayer. James mentions praying quite a bit in these last passages, because prayer is essential in our relationship with God, for our direction, to understand His will for us.

How are we going to know if we don’t ask? If we don’t ask, we don’t receive. Anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. So the anointing in this context is not a sacred anointing, okay? This anointing refers more to preparing or rubbing in. So for example, we could read this and say, rubbing oil on him in the name of the Lord. Now why is that? Because in ancient times, they saw oil as something that was medicinal. Now, in today’s time, we could say if anyone among you is sick, let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, and then send him to a good doctor. This idea can sometimes really be a hindrance to some Christians. I struggled with it for a while myself, because I thought, well, if I pray for God to heal me, to help me out, well, that God needs to do this supernaturally, otherwise it’s not Him. Because it’s easy to go, well, the doctor did it, the doctor healed him, or the medicine that he took. Oh, hey, they picked the right medicine. Oh, the medicine saved him or made him or her better.

That is dangerous thinking, because now we’re going down a rabbit hole that takes us in different directions and takes us away from the very fact that our God is sovereign, He is omniscient, He is omnipotent, He knows everything, he’s all powerful, and nothing ever gets past Him. How he decides. To heal somebody, whether it’s through medicinal purposes, such as through the oil itself or the medicine itself, well, that’s his will after all, he’s the one who created everything. So he’s the one that created the chemicals or herbs or whatever it is that the pill, the medicine has. that ultimately heals the person.

He’s the one who gives the know-how, the intellect, the skill to the doctors, the nurses, to be able to appropriately help the person survive, to heal. These see where I’m coming from there. So as Christians, even at the hospital, it’s the right thing to do before someone goes into a surgery. If someone is brought in because they’re very sick, and perhaps the tests haven’t been done yet, but to pray to the Lord for the guidance.

We pray that if it is the Lord’s will, that this person is healed, that this person is helped. And sometimes it is supernatural. The world doesn’t understand that. The world will try to make excuses for supernatural happening when somebody is healed from cancer and they shouldn’t have been. I personally know people who they were told they have months to live and it’s been years later.

Well, we can write that off as, well, the doctor just didn’t know what he or she was talking about. Or, Is it God’s will? Interesting. Verse 15, And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. There’s that word, prayer again, prayer of faith. We turn to God in our time of need, and the Lord will do His will. That can be hard, that can be very difficult when a loved one, we feel, is justified to live longer. Perhaps the person is a child. Perhaps we haven’t known the person very long, and we think, well, I would like another 10, 15, 20 years. But remember, beloved, this is our will, and as Christians, we need to learn to look to our Holy Father.

We want Him to bend our will so it is in sync with His will. That’s where we can live content. Knowing that no matter what happens, it’s the right thing. Even if it’s something I don’t want to happen. And that’s where that hope comes in. The hope of Jesus Christ, the life of eternity, in his, through his blood. And it’s not the kind of hope that it may or may not happen, but it’s a sure thing.

Verse 16, confess your trespasses one to another, and pray for one another that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. This is one that I have memorized because it is a good reminder to me the importance of coming together with brothers and sisters in the faith.

When we come together as born again believers, the power of prayer, the power of the tongue that the Lord has given us, is so magnificent. Now confess your trespasses one to another. Be careful, because remember, we don’t ask from any human being to forgive us of our sin. We certainly ask for forgiveness when we sin against another person, but our sins are ultimately against God. And Jesus Christ, when he died, his blood paid for every single sin. There’s not one kind, there’s not one size that his blood didn’t cover. I believe it was last week’s teaching that I mentioned. That Jesus died for everyone, but it doesn’t mean everyone’s going to heaven.

It means that everyone who comes to Jesus, who repents, and turns to him, and he is their Lord and Savior, Then all their sins are covered. Because even though he paid a price that covers every single person in the world, of course, that’s a decision everyone must make. And you can go back and listen to the previous episode to hear more about that if you haven’t.

When we come together with fellow believers, and we confess our faults, we confess our trespasses, Yes, those may be our sins that we have committed. It’s not for forgiveness. It is for our own healing. You do not need to confess to any human being to be forgiven. But here, James is saying, you confess your trespasses or faults to one another and pray for one another.

There’s that powerful word again, pray that you may be healed. That’s why we do it. Not for forgiveness, but the healing that comes with it. Even people who are not born again. Everybody knows that if we have wronged somebody and we go and apologize to them and we talk things over, that even talking about what we did and apologizing for it, that in and of itself can take a weight off of our shoulders, because that’s the way God designed us to be, interacting with one another. I love that about our God! He wants a relationship with us, and He also wants us to have relationships with one another because we’re a family. We are brothers and sisters. He’s our father, and Jesus our brother. And that’s what families do. Families that love each other, they, they sit together.

When things are going well, and you’re sharing times that you had fun, maybe returning from a trip, or returning from just a fun day of doing this or that, talking about it, and it’s just really fun to talk about it, right? Or when something goes wrong, and the family sits around, and one or two people, we need to apologize. We need to be able to lay things out. Here’s what happened, and here’s, how I feel about that, and we get it reconciled. See, God knows that when we come together, we are stronger. The reason that we don’t even know our own spiritual gifts until you are interacting with the body of Christ. For those who don’t know what their gift or gifts are, and they have never been a part of the body of Christ, and going to church does not make you a part of the body of Christ. You’re present with the body, you are present with brothers and sisters, but it’s coming together and once you come together and you start interacting, the Holy Spirit starts to reveal your spiritual gift or gifts. It’s all about relationships, relationship with the Holy One, relationships with ourselves, with one another, I should say, not ourselves, but with one another.

It’s that interaction. So that’s why James reminds us, hey, confess what’s going on in your lives. You know, a lot of times what that confession looks like is day to day struggles, especially just being a Christian, trying to live God’s way in this ungodly world. It’s only natural to admit, here’s what I struggle with.

I can’t describe what it feels like when I can sit down with a brother in the faith and we just have coffee for a couple of hours and, well, what do we talk about? Well, a lot of times we talk about what’s going on in our community. What’s going on with our families? What’s going on with our country? As we continue to see the world continue to fall apart right beneath our feet.

And yes, you know, we certainly do take great comfort in our Heavenly Father. I take huge comfort in that He is sovereign, and I often tell Him that. But to verbalize, to be able to talk about things that are upsetting to hear. There’s so much in the news. I haven’t done a whole lot of episodes about that, what’s going on in our world today.

In part because in a year, two years, five years, ten years, that may not be relevant. Now, even just saying it now, I realize that’s probably not a good enough reason, because we do need to address the issues now, and even though a particular issue may be resolved in a year, or two, or five, or ten, there arises new issues that are equivalent, that mirror what has happened in the past. And we can learn from our past.

So coming together. I love these verses in chapter five, verses 16, talking about that, because praying for one another, Beloved, when you ask somebody, can I pray for you? Do it then and there, even if it’s a short prayer. And that’s great. You can continue to pray for that person. And if you do, I think it’s kind to let them know, and I’ll be praying for you, but don’t just. Pass it off. If someone shares something with you, and then you say, well, yeah, I’ll be praying for you. That’s nice. But the power of prayer, do it right there. Bless them with your prayer, that you may be healed.

That’s great knowing that we can come together, discussing the things that are on our mind, that is on our spirit, and then praying about it with one another. The power in that. And whether it’s two people, or a group of people, The power of the tongue, being able to express yourself, and the power of prayer.

It’s one of my favorite verses, James chapter 5, verse 16. Verse 17, Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. Now that comes on the heels of the second part of verse 16, when James says the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

I like how James says Elijah was a man. I personally feel he uses Elijah because we can look at someone like Elijah when we read about him. He’s one of my favorite prophets, especially when he was up against the priests, over 400 of the priests of Baal. And they were trying to call upon their God to burn the sacrifice, to consume it.

And then here comes Elijah, and he, in a nutshell, without going back to it, says, Okay, go ahead, put a whole bunch of water on that thing, and make, soak that wood so it’s all wet, pour a bunch of water around it. And then he prays, and right away, God sends consuming fire from the sky, so it actually drops down from heaven, and consumes not just the sacrifice, but the entire altar and the dust under it, and all the water was completely gone, dried up.

It’s one of my favorite stories. But here in verse 17, James says, Elijah was a man with a nature like ours. And he prayed earnestly. Think about that. Elijah was just a man. He himself did not have any power in him. God used him to speak to his people and to demonstrate to his people. It’s about God, not us.

So you and I don’t need to have some power. What we need is God’s earnest prayer. Effective, fervent prayer. That word effective, I believe the effective part of it is being in God’s will. Are we praying for what God wants? Are we praying for the understanding that God shows us and tells us what it is that He wants, and then ask for that. That, I believe, is the most effective prayer. The flip side of that, or the opposing side of that, maybe, is praying stuff that is not effective because it’s not in God’s will. There’s things that a Christian should know better to never pray for because it’s not in God’s will. To hurt somebody else, to cause somebody else pain, that’s not God’s will.

To pray for a divorce because a person is tired of their spouse, and I just want out of it, that’s not his will. He doesn’t want any marriage to be broken. So the effective part is being in God’s will and fervent. Fervent is praying with your heart. It’s not intellectually. It’s not even trying to figure it out, but handing it over to God and giving it to Him, and in your heart wanting His will.

Verse 19, Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, verse 20, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. Wandering from the truth. This is praying for someone who knows the truth and by helping that person turn back to see the truth. We go back to how this connects to the body of Christ. Because when one of us suffers in the body, the entire body suffers. We’re not doing a brother or sister any good if we see that they are losing their focus and they start to go back to old habits, old sinful ways, and then just try to ignore it because we don’t want to hurt their feelings. Well, that’s the selfish part because at that point now I’m just worried about myself. I don’t want the person to not like me. I don’t want to feel uncomfortable. So the right thing to do then is to put ourself to the side. And like James is saying, turn them back because you’re saving them.

I give caution because this isn’t saying the person is going to lose their salvation. That is not what we have learned in God’s Word. So, by saving a soul from death, that doesn’t mean that the person who was born again, that we were going to save them from hell. Because we already know we can’t do that. We can’t save somebody. The Holy Spirit saves. But we can save each other a lot of heartache on this side of the grave. Because we cannot lose our salvation. But we can lose all blessings. that the Lord has in store for us by going down old habits, old pathways that were sinful, by turning our back on the Lord, by getting right back into our worldly habits, our worldly ways, putting the Bible on the shelf, coming back to it maybe a month or two later.

Ouch, ouch, and ouch. We certainly don’t want to do that. And I would hope that a brother or sister would help me if they see me doing that. Because a lot of misery comes when we decide to start doing things our own way. Because perhaps we lose sight of what had happened to us, what our lives were like when we are going down that path of sinfulness.

I’ve said it many times, the most unhappy people on this planet are not the unbelievers. They are unhappy. There’s an emptiness that they cannot fill, but they’re okay with their sin. It’s not causing them trouble, as it does a born again believer who has the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, and they know better. They know the destruction of it, and they’re trying to fit in. They’re trying to go back to an old way that they can’t. We can’t live our lives with one foot on the earth and one foot heading to eternity. It doesn’t work that way.

I hope you enjoyed the book of James, because here ends the teaching for the book of James. Until we meet again, remember, be in God’s Word each and every day. The world is so loud and annoying, and is doing everything possible to pull God’s children away from him. So, I say, let’s start turning off some of those programs that are causing us harm, and instead Pick up God’s Word, sit around with some brothers and sisters, get yourself some coffee or whatever drink that you like anyway, and just talk about God.

Bible studies don’t have to be complex. If there’s someone who has the spiritual gift of teaching, that’s great. But if not, just coming together and talking about what the Lord has done. Reading. Certain passages that you may like or maybe even don’t even understand and you can just talk and together try to figure it out That’s okay. But yeah, do it daily. Read God’s Word every day beloved because things that we do every single day is a huge part of who we are Pray to him each and every day and then coming together with other believers I encourage at least once a week Stay in touch weekly. That doesn’t mean necessarily a church. In today’s time, as we certainly continue to get closer to The Day, the capital D, the returning of our Lord, many churches have fallen from God’s church, and they are man’s churches.

I no longer tell people just to find a church and get active. That’s bad advice, and I won’t do that. If you can find a Bible teaching church that teaches directly from God’s Word, and they come together, the Holy Spirit is present, oh, well then, do it. But if not, you can still worship. You can worship in small groups. Doesn’t have to be at an official church, because that’s just something we made up. Remember, the church is in us. Why is that? Because we are the temple. Wherever you go, when you open God’s word and just start to worship, you’re in church. You have the Holy Spirit with you. God isn’t waiting in a pew, or hanging on some cross in a steeple somewhere. No. So get together weekly with Christians. Do that. And I encourage you to keep coming back. I’ll keep on teaching as long as the Lord has given me the ability to, or until He returns or calls me home. You’re welcome to email me at my website, brmaul com. You can sign up for my newsletter, and that way, each week, you will receive the latest podcast.

And may the Lord bless you greatly, beloved. Until next time,

God bless.

Songs on Storyblocks

“Heroes Inspire Hope” and “Mountainscape” by Humans Win

“Uplifting Inspirational Light Acoustic Guitar and Strings” by Media Music Group