“WHY PRAYERS OF RIGHTEOUS MEN PREVAILED”
INTRODUCTION: Answered prayer is essential for the spiritual well-being of believers.
A. “Prayer is to the soul what breathing is to the body.”
1. Breathing is a matter of life and death. People with severe respiratory problems such as asthma, allergies and emphazyma are usually frail physically.
2. Prayer is necessary for a strong, healthy spiritual life. Those with problems of maintaining a strong prayer life can expect to be frail spiritually.
B. James tells us who, how, and what is essential in getting our prayers answered.
1. He also teaches us the importance of righteous living. Don’t lose sight of it and don’t minimize it. It is just as essential as heart-felt praying.
C. James’ statement in v.16b is based on biblical fact and history as indi-cated by his reference to Elijah in vs. 17-18
1. James’ message is this: Prayer is a mighty force. Proof of this is seen in the success of Elijah’s prayer. Speaking of prayer as a might force:
2. The late J. Edgar Hoover, past director of the F.B.I., said, “The spectacle of a nation praying is more awe inspiring than the explosion of an atomic bomb. The force of prayer is greater than any possible combination of man made or man-controlled powers, because prayer is man’s greatest means of tapping the infinite resources of God.”
3. In I Kings chaps. 17-18 we see how that Elijah’s prayers turned Israel back to God and delivered them. Ours prayers can turn our love ones and sinners to God and deliverance. Some will way, “But I’m not Elijah.”
a. Important to remember Elijah was “a man subject to like pass-ions such as we are.” Spiritual high and lows and difficulties, YET he tapped the infinite resources of God through prayer. So can you and I.
3. Prayer is not a waste of time, it is time gained. Prayer is what pro-vides the cutting edge for believers in their work for Christ in this life.
“ILLUSTRATION ON PRAYER” – Some years ago a young man approach-ed the foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job. “That depends,” replied the foreman. “Let’s see you fell this tree.” The young man stepped forward and skillfully felled a great tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed, ” You can Start Monday!” The young man reported to work.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolled by, and Thursday after-noon the foreman approached the young man and said, “You can pick up your paycheck on the way out today.”
Startled, the young man replied, “I thought you paid on Friday.” “Normally we do,” answered the foreman, “but we’re letting you go today because you’ve fallen behind. Our daily felling charts show that you’ve dropped from first place on Monday to last on Wednesday.”
“But I’m a hard worker,” the young man objected. “I arrive first, leave last, and even have worked through my coffee breaks!”
The foreman, sensing the boy’s integrity thought for a minute and then asked, “Have you been sharpening your ax?”
The young man replied, “I’ve been working too hard to take the time.”
How about you? Have you been too busy, too hard at work to sharpen your ax?
Prayer is the hone (WHET) that gives you that sharp edge. Without it, the more work you do, the duller you’ll get, AND LESS EFFECTIVE YOU ARE.
WE MUST PRAY LIKE IT’S UP TO GOD AND WORK LIKE IT IS UP TO US!!
PRAYER HINDERS SATAN – SATAN HINDERS PRAYER!!
4. James undoubtedly could have named other men of prayer from Bible history who had tapped the infinite recources of God through prayer.
E. There are certain elements or qualities in a righteous person’s life that moves God to do things in answer to prayer that He would not do without these elements or qualities.
1. This message deals with these elements in the lives of righteous men whose prayers prevailed.