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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Power of Prayer

This week, we complete our bible study of the book of James. I'm a little sad that its finished, but I'm eagerly awaiting what next exciting thing the Good Morning Girls will be studying.

This week we're studying the power of prayer. As usual, God in His wonderful way is applying this to my daily life. I have continued to be amazed at how the Holy Spirit is connecting all kinds of dots and creating a huge portrait of wisdom and knowledge of the Word and just causing me to actually LIVE the Word that I am studying.

James 5:14 tells us "Any one of you who is ill should send for the elders of the church and they must anoint the sick person with oil in the name of the Lord and pray over him."

On Sunday my husband and I had the privilege of praying with two of our relatives who are in need of healing. They are like a mother and sister to me and I felt it placed on my heart that we should pray with them. The opportunity presented itself at a family gathering and my husband agreed that we should pray and so we did.

We are, neither of us 'elders of the church' but we adhere to this tradition of anointing the sick. Its a practice that brings comfort to them, emotional healing, if not physical healing. We have both received the anointing of the spirit and, though my husband is more active in the church and uses his gifts, God has reminded me that His gifts are for sharing. I know in my heart that I received this precious gift of healing, more than 18 years ago and I pray that I can use it for His Glory.

James 5:15 says "The prayer of faith will save the sick person and the Lord will raise him up again; and if he has committed any sins he will be forgiven"

About 10 years ago, my mother-in-law was ill. She was diagnosed with cancer of the kidney. I offered up prayers on her behalf and felt it placed on my heart that the Lord wanted to heal her for His glory. I was hesitant to speak of it, but my husband was the mouthpiece and he told his mother. I was convicted in my heart that this was God's will. My husband's faith in my conviction was also strong and together we prayed with his mother in the presence of the entire family.

My mother-in-law went on to have surgery and one of her kidneys was removed. Is this the end of the story? Does this mean she was not healed as God had said to me that she would be?

NO, THIS IS BUT THE BEGINNING! You see, the night we prayed with her, she became convicted herself. She BELIEVED she would be healed. A whole new woman was born that night. She became hungry and thirsty for God in a way she had not been before. So convinced was she that she was healed, she asked for another scan. While it came back saying nothing had changed, she went into that surgery with a different attitude.

Though her kidney was removed, the doctors said that the situation was not as bad as they had believed. Today, she does regular tests and she has remained cancer free. The true healing though is what was accomplished in her soul. Prayer with faith can accomplish miracles.

We have the example of Elijah, James tells us that he was but a frail human being, just as we are. Yet his faith-filled prayer was heard by God, who stopped the rain from falling and made it fall again on his command in order to turn people back to God.

It was this same prayer of Elijah's that entreated God to save the life of the son of the widow in whose home he was staying. 1 Kings 17:22 "Yahweh heard Elijah's prayer and the child's soul came back into his body and he revived"

This same prayer of Elijah's that caused God to let his fire fall and consume wet wood to discredit the false god Baal and to turn back people's hearts to Him. 1 Kings 18:37 "Answer me, oh God, answer me, so that this people may know that you, oh Lord, are God and are winning back their hearts"

Prayer is our open line of communication with the Lord. Its our Blackberry, instant-messaging, text-messaging with Him. When we pray constantly, truly pray with our heart and not just our lips, we are open to hearing His Spirit speak His Will into our hearts. We are open to His instruction, His counsel. Elijah knew God's will because of his deep connection through prayer. He had faith and conviction because of this connection. He obeyed God..

Now that is an important one.. the last part of James 5:15 says that if we have committed sins they will be forgiven through the anointing. 5:16 says "So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another to be cured; the heartfelt prayer of someone upright works very powerfully"

If we are to be in communion with God, we must be in a state of grace.. our hands must be clean, we must be upright. This is not to say that we will not sin at all.. that is impossible for a human being to do. What James is saying here is that we must try to avoid sin and when we do sin we are to confess those sins.. thereby coming once more into His Grace. A Grace which allows us to pray with faith.

Matt 21:21-22 says "Jesus answered, 'In truth I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt at all, not only will you do what I have done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, "Be pulled up and thrown into the sea," it will be done. And if you have faith, everything you ask for in prayer you will receive"

What powerful Word this is... and such a fitting way to end my bible study. With God's promise that faith shall not go unrewarded.

James does end with a reminder that we have a responsibility to bring the truth to others, especially those who are walking the wrong paths. I pray that we will have the courage to do so... even if it is simply by being His lights.. shining brightly to guide others to Him.. by the way we live and the way we treat others. May they know we are Christians.. by our love.

Shine brightly for Jesus!


Amie said...

I loved this post! Thanks so much for sharing it with us! I especially liked when you reminded us to really PRAY WITH OUR HEARTS and not just our lips.

h. rae said...

Awesome testimonies, Lisa! God works in mysterious ways! I'm still waiting on my healing, but in the meantime I'm learning to be content in the role He has given me.

James is such an amazing book to study!