December 15, 2021

December 15, 2021

Author: Pastor Mark Bauer
December 15, 2021

“…The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

James 5:16

I was thinking back to this past Lord’s Day when Pastor Cook took us back to the life of David. In 2 Samuel 8 we have the account of many of David’s victories. In Pastor’s message he said that we see David acting on God’s promises, promises that were found in chapter 7; promises that God would make a great name for David; promises that God would give David rest from his enemies; promises that God would raise up his offspring and establish his kingdom, a kingdom that would be forever. Then Pastor Cook went on and told us that in response to these promises of God David took action. That really struck me, David acted on the promises; David went out onto the battlefield; he battled against the enemies of God; he trusted that God would be true to His promises and that God would give him the victory. Then God blessed David’s acts of faith by giving David many victories. As we heard on Sunday night, it was the Lord that was the one that gave David the victory wherever he went.

As we come to pray this evening, it’s right for us to remember that God has given us as well many promises. Those promises even include promises regarding prayer. One of those promises is found here in James 5:16. I see this as a promise; a promise that “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” A promise that our prayers have great power and the power isn’t coming from the words that we use when we pray. No, the power is coming from our God, our God who hears and answers our prayers; God who is sovereign; God who is all powerful; God who can and who will accomplish all that He intends, all that He has ordained. Nothing can stay the hand of God. Even when we are faced with circumstances that may seem hopeless from a human perspective, we know we have a God who is greater than anything that we face. God is more powerful than any enemy that we might have. Because of God, we can have confidence that our prayers have great power while they are working.

James helps us to understand and get a sense of that great power by giving us the example of Elijah who prayed fervently that it would not rain. For three years and six months, think of it, it did not rain. Then he prayed again and then the heavens opened and God gave rain.

We all know this, that nobody has power over the weather, no one can control the rain even with our modern technology and everything we know we have no control over the weather. We can hardly predict what the weather will be the next day.

But Elijah had faith. He trusted in God, he trusted that God was able to control the rain, that God would be able to hear his prayer and withhold the rain. Then when he prayed for it again to come, that God would give the rain just at the time when God was pleased to do so. Knowing God’s power, Elijah prayed and God answered Elijah’s prayers. God withheld the rain. It was a judgment on the earth demonstrating that God had great power, power over all of creation, power that no man has. But even more so he is demonstrating that God is the one true God. He has power greater than any of the manmade gods, the Baals of Elijah’s day. None of those false gods had any power over rain. But Elijah’s God, our God, is the only God. He is the sovereign God, He is the king of kings and lord of lords. So therefore we can have confidence that our prayers would be used by God to accomplish great things.

Again, thinking back to Sunday night’s message, Pastor Cook quoted William Cary saying, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” So we should take hold of God’s promises regarding prayer. A promise that prayer has great power and in faith we should pray expecting that God would do great things. That He will hear our prayers and He will accomplish great things.

As you are listening to me this evening, there might be someone here that is saying, “Wait, look at this verse again. It says a righteous person, it’s the prayers of a righteous person. You might lock onto that term it’s only for a righteous person that this promise is for.” It’s true. And granted that is correct. And I agree that none of us are righteous, no, not one. But when we pray, we are not to pray in our own righteousness, not relying on ourselves in our own righteousness. No, we are to come praying relying on the righteousness of Christ. Christ who died for us, Christ who redeemed us, Christ is the one who clothes us in His righteousness and therefore we can now come boldly to the throne of grace. Christ is our advocate, He is our mediator, and therefore we can come with confidence that God will hear us and that He will do great things as He works great power in our prayers as they are working. So may this brief meditation even encourage us to pray.