Google+ 02/23/13 You Are Someone Worth Dying For!

James 5:16-17

 

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall,

None fell for three and a half years!  

 

I have often told my parents that the older I get, the wiser they have become!  I don't think it has anything to do with them.  I believe God has matured me, through the Holy Spirit, to realize the "errors of my ways!"  In this maturation process, God and Jesus have taught me a great deal about prayer.  I have always prayed.  Like many of you, I learned about praying at a very young age.  If you stop to think about your life, in a positive, Godly way, you will discover that God has placed important people in your path to help you hear Him when He speaks.  For most of us it was, and is, parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, children, teachers, coaches, ministers, and good friends.  I was fortunate to grow up in a home where I heard, at a very young age,  my dad pray, out loud.  We prayed at meals and together as a family.  I will always be grateful for that blessing that God gave me at an early age.   Having said all that, I never really understood the power of prayer until about six years ago.  There was no specific life event that triggered this epiphany.  I believe it was just God maturing me in this critical area of fellowship with Him, and His Son Jesus Christ.  Remember that the author of our Scripture this morning is the half-brother of Jesus, who really did not embrace Jesus' ministry in the early days.   As James grew in his faith, God helped James mature in his prayer life.  James shares with us that we should confess our sins to each other and pray for healing amongst ourselves.  What a faith statement and what a departure from many mainstream religious organizations today.  It may come as a surprise to many of you that confession does not need to be done to a minister or priest.   It can be, but whether you choose to go this route, has absolutely no effect on God's forgiveness of your sins.  God does the forgiving and there are no other requirements except that we confess and turn from our sin.  James goes on to explain the power of a righteous person who offers earnest prayers, and the wonderful results that occur.  Finally, James uses Elijah as an example and cites the miracle that God performed in his life, because of earnest prayer.  Who is a righteous person?  That's easy.  It is everyone of us that sets ourselves apart from the world and claims Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.  It is all of us that make God Holy.  It is all of us that offer earnest prayers.  Remember that being righteous does not mean perfect.  God only created one perfect person in His Son Jesus Christ!  Last night, I began a new worship experience as our ministry is growing.  For twenty minutes, I watched "righteous people" offer "earnest prayers" for, and to, each other.  James was right.  the power and wonder of these "prayer warriors" warmed my heart and brought my eyes to tears of joy.  Today, who is in need of your prayer?  What sin do you need to confess?  What help do you need from your "Family of God" in achieving your repentance?  Think about it and then PRAY!  God doesn't care if your words aren't perfect.  God only cares that you utter words!  Jesus is waiting to take your prayers to the very throne room of God.  Jesus is our intercessor.  Pray specifically and often.  Remember what James taught us today.  Pray with your friends and watch the healing begin!  Don't forget that the earnest prayers of a righteous person have great power and produce wonderful results.  You can find a righteous person in your mirror this morning.  After all, Jesus thought you were someone worth dying for and that is certainly powerful enough for me!