Do you earnestly pray or do you do it because as a Christian we’re supposed to? Do you feel disconnected when you pray?
God has a conditional will and an unconditional will. God’s will is what He determines to happen, but it can happen in one of two ways. It can happen conditionally or unconditionally. God’s unconditional will is when He determines what will happen irrespective of what anyone else does. It’s not conditioned on us because He’s going to decide that it happens and cause it to happen without any human involvement. He sovereignly decided to make it come to pass all by Himself.
However, God’s conditional will is much different. There are many things that He’s decided to “not” let happen until He gets cooperation on earth. There are many things He’s decided He will not bring from heaven into history unless there is human cooperation with His desire and design.
One of the primary mechanisms that God has established to determine much of what He does on earth, in your life and mine, is conditioned by the absence or presence of prayer.
James 4:1 – Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasures that war in your members? (Verse 2) You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. (Verse 3) You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
James spells it out for us: We either don’t have because we don’t ask or we ask with wrong motives. We have to cooperate with God in getting what we ask.
Prayer is relational communication with God. And the goal of prayer is to draw from heaven into history to get eternity to make a statement in time! It is to make heaven visible on earth, change something down here.
However, the problem is, we don’t always know what’s conditional and what’s unconditional. Some things can be very clear, but other things we’re just not sure. That’s why Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing. Bring everything to God so we don’t miss anything!
Without prayer, we become limited to the physical realm! So we pray to get the spiritual God to enter into the physical. Prayer does not get God to do something that He doesn’t want to do. We can’t make God do anything. But what prayer does is access what He already has determined.
Isaiah 65:24 – “It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer: And while they are still speaking, I will hear.”
Before we prayed, He has already answered the prayer! Do you remember the story when the disciples asked Jesus, “How are we going to feed all these people?” They found a little boy who had two fish and five loaves of bread. Before anything happened, Jesus looked up to heaven and He prayed and He invited God into the problem. All the disciples did was distribute what the supernatural had provided.
So if Jesus had to pray to get His heavenly Father to do something “up there” to change something down her, how much more do you and I need to pray? James 5:13 – Is anyone among you suffering? (This means to be going through a difficult period. You are hurting, physical, financial hurt, circumstantial hurt or relational hurt.) Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.
Praise is an expression of value to the Lord. It is honoring the Lord physically and verbally. There is no such thing as silent praise! Praise is always visual and vocal. If you are in pain, pray. If you’re not in pain or suffering, praise! People are either one or the other. This means we are always communicating with God because we’re either praying or praising.
God wants us to thread Him into every aspect of our day either in prayer or in praise! James 5:14 – Is anyone among you sick? (The Greek word for sick means to be weary.) 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.
In verse 13, you are praying for yourself, but in verse 14, we need help. When life beats us down long enough, we can get weary and tired of even praying. At that point, James tells us to go to the elders of the church to get a breakthrough that we have not been able to get on our own.
Have the church minister at the point of their need. (Verse 15) And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. The prayer offered in faith restores. To restore something is to bring it back to its original intent.
God is a restoring God! However, we know that everybody that gets physically sick doesn’t always get well. We know that perfect health is not always restored in every situation. Sometimes God walks with us through. He will restore us emotionally even though we might be waiting for Him to restore us circumstantially or physically. And then sometimes God does both.
But the “restore” in this passage is to restore the “weariness.” (Verse 15) And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. All sickness is not due to sin, but some sickness can be caused by sins.
Therefore James says: (Verse 16) Confess your trespasses to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
The effective, energized prayer is the focused prayer, God-centered! (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. (Verse 18) And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. Elijah prayed and closed heaven down when it came to rain. Then he prayed again and he opened heaven up concerning the rain.
God spoke to Elijah in Chapter 17 that it wasn’t going to rain and then in Chapter 18, God said it was going to rain. We need to know this so we know that Elijah didn’t just make this up on his own. He was praying based on what God had told him.
So we need to pray with our Bible open! We have to know what God has said in His word and what He has promised. That’s called “standing on His Word!” Start with the word of God concerning your situation.
Why do you think it feels like prayer is so hard to accomplish? Because Satan is always trying to block our prayers from getting through. This is warfare!
Sometimes when God is ready to move, He doesn’t let us see the whole thing, He’ll just let us see a “little something” to give us a taste of what’s to come. That’s why the Bible says, “Oh taste and see!” That will encourage us that the end result is on its way.
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”