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Prayerful Till Christ Comes

James 5:12-18 • September 10, 2023 • s1361

Pastor John Miller teaches a topical message through James 5:12-18, “Prayerful Till Christ Comes.”

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Pastor John Miller

September 10, 2023

Sermon Scripture Reference

Let’s read the entire passage, verses 12-18. James says, “But above all…”—this is the idea of most important—“…my brethren…”—he’s speaking to believers—“…do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No,’ lest you fall into judgment. Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? 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. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses…”—or “sins”—“…to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 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. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

Now, if ever a man was qualified to speak on the subject of prayer, that man was James. You say, “Well, why is that? What makes James so qualified to speak on prayer?” Well, in church tradition, we are told that James had a nickname, which was “old camel knees.”

And you say, “Well, I’m old and my knees look like camels’.” But the reason his knees looked like camels’ was because he was kneeling so frequently in prayer. He was a man of prayer. So it was a proverbial concept that James had camel knees, because he was a man of prayer.

You may have difficulty identifying with James. You may say, “I identify better with Peter.” When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane and He was praying and said to Peter and James and John, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak,” Matthew 26:41. So Jesus was telling them to watch and pray, stay awake and pray. Then Jesus went a little deeper into the garden and prayed. And when He came back, they were sleeping again.

You say, “That’s what I identify with, praise God! I’ve got the gift of sleep.” I know that before you go to sleep when you fold your hands, you kneel next to your bed, you put your forehead on your folded hands, then you pray, “Lord Jesus, I just come…[yawn]…before You right now and I…. Yawn. Good night, Lord. I’m tired,” and you go to sleep. “See You tomorrow.”

How easy it is to fall asleep like the disciples when we ought to be praying, because “The spirit…is willing”—right, I want to pray—“…but the flesh is weak.” And I know that many times people ask, “Pastor John, how can we pray for you?” And I always say, “Pray for my prayer life. Pray that God will help me, strengthen me to be a man of prayer,” because everything we are flows from our life of prayer.

Now, this is not the first time that James talked about prayer in his epistle. In chapter one, verse five, he said, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given him.” Chapter four, verse two says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” He’s again referring to prayer that we lack so often in our lives. We simply do not pray. And then here at the end of the epistle, verses 13-18, six verses, he actually mentions prayer seven times: in verses 13, 14, 15, twice in verse 16, in verse 17 and again in verse 18.

I actually highlighted the word “prayer” or “praying” in an orange highlighter, and the whole passage just kind of lit up orange, because all through verses 13-18, he mentions the subject of prayer. So James ends his epistle by encouraging us, number one, to be patient until Christ comes when we’re facing opposition and persecution, and to be prayerful until Christ comes, when we’re going through difficult times and circumstances. Jesus said in Luke 18:1, “Men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” So he wants us to be patient, verses 7-11, and he wants us to be prayerful.

Someone said that prayer is like a car without fuel, that without prayer, our lives grind to a halt. So we need to be men and women of prayer. And when should we pray? That’s what James deals with. We should pray when we’re suffering. We should pray when we’re glad as well as when we’re sad. We should pray when we’re sick. We should pray when there’s spiritual darkness in our nation around us. So at times of suffering, joy, sickness and spiritual darkness.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul the Apostle said, “Pray without ceasing.” Do you know that’s the only thing in the Bible that God tells us to do without stopping? Now, he’s not talking about the act of prayer; he’s talking about the attitude of prayer. Obviously we can’t always get on our knees and close our eyes and fold our hands, but we can be in constant communion and fellowship with God. In everything we do all day long, every day, we should be talking to God and communing with God. “Pray without ceasing.”

But we’re going to look at those four areas or times in our lives, from our text, when we should pray. The first one is in times of suffering or sorrow. It’s when I’m suffering, when I’m going through sorrow or affliction or difficulty in this world—that’s pretty much most of the time—I need to pray. In verses 12-13, he says, “But above all, my brethren…”—or “most importantly”—“…do not swear.” So the first thing he does is he tells us what not to use our speech for: “Don’t swear.” “Do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgement. Is any among you suffering?” There’s our point. If you’re afflicted, “Let him pray.”

So he first tells us what not to use our speech for. Sometimes when we’re suffering, we start swearing. You ever notice that? Sometimes things come out of our mouth when we’re going through sorrow or suffering or adversity that shouldn’t. If it’s in the well, it’ll come up in the bucket. Jesus said it like this: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” Matthew 12:34. So whatever is in your heart will be manifest by what comes out of your mouth. Words describe or explain what is in our heart. So if words are coming out of your mouth that are unpleasing or dishonoring to God, then we need a transplant of a new heart. We need a heart transformation.
So what does James mean when he says, “Do not swear” verse 12? It covers, first of all—but not primarily—profanity. The Bible says that we should not use the name of the Lord in vain. That’s one of the 10 Commandments: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain,” Exodus 20:7. It is a very, very bad, sinful thing to do, to use profanity with the name of God, and yet it is so common place. Isn’t it sad? We curse, we swear, we call on God, we use the name “Jesus.” When somebody’s using a hammer to hit a nail and they hit their thumb, they don’t say, “Oh, Buddha! Oh, Buddha! Oh, Confucius! Ouch!” Why do we use the name of God in such a frivolous, flippant way? So what this verse is calling us to is purity in our speech. Someone said “reverence in our speech and truthfulness in our speech.”

But the primary concept behind these verses is not just profanity, but the idea of taking an oath or oath swearing; so it’s the idea of swearing by taking an oath. And sometimes people say, “I swear to God.” You should not ever do that. As a matter of fact, Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 5:33-37. I’ve been pointing out all the way through the book of James that it parallels the Sermon on the Mount. James was the Lord’s half-brother. And it’s interesting that he uses his big brother Jesus and uses the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus said, “Do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool,” Matthew 5:34-35. Rather, “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’” Portions of what we read here in James are a direct quote from Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

So you should always just say “Yes” or “No.” Don’t be such a liar that you have to swear to God or on your mother’s grave, “Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye”—whatever you say. You should just say “Yes” or “No.” We have politicians, political leaders, who swear to God. This is really true! It just makes me shiver when I hear that. That’s insane! Just be a man or a woman of your word.

Have you ever had a conversation with somebody and they say, “Now, I’m going to be honest with you.” And you say, “Well, what have you been to this point? You’ve been lying to me this whole time?”

Then they say, “Okay, okay. I’m going to be really honest with you.”

They say it three different times. Why don’t you just be honest, period. Say “Yes” or “No.” If you have a problem with lying, you need to get on your knees and pray and ask God to change your heart. If there’s anything that should be true about a Christian, it should be honesty, integrity, no duplicity and no hypocrisy. Satan “is a liar and the father of [lies],” John 8:44. We should never violate anyone’s trust by being dishonest or embellishing the truth. The Bible also says in the ninth Commandment, “You shall not bear false witness…”—or “lie”—“…against your neighbor.” So don’t use the name of God in vain and lie.

Now notice verse 13. James says, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” So that’s the thrust of these first two verses: if you’re afflicted. The word “afflicted,” in verse 13, refers to any kind of trouble, misfortune or hard experience. It’s a general term for affliction, hardships and difficulty. The Bible says, “Man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward,” Job 5:7. You know that all you have to do to have trouble is to live long enough. And then you start singing, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.” It’s your favorite song. The longer you live, the more trouble and hardships you’ll see. But when you’re in affliction, what should you do? You should pray. “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.”

1 Peter 5:7 says that we should be “casting all [our] care…”—our anxiety, our troubles, our problems—“…upon Him…”—why?—“…because He cares for you.” I like that verse. God surely cares about you. All of your sorrow, all of your trouble—He cares about it. Not one sparrow falls to the ground, but what your Father in heaven knows about it. He attends the funeral of every sparrow. “You are of more value [to Him] than many sparrows,” Matthew 10:31. He has all the hairs of your head numbered. He cares for you. The word “cast” in the Greek means “once and for all.” It was used of fishermen throwing their nets on the lake, just throwing out their nets and letting them go. So roll your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you. Our problem is we carry our burdens, and we don’t cast our burdens.

In The Living Bible, which is a paraphrase, Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything. Instead, pray about everything.” I like that. Tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him. For what? His answers. Before the answer comes, you should be thankful to God that He’ll answer according to His perfect plan. He loves you and His ways are perfect. So whatever you ask God to do, and however God answers your petition, you should be thankful. Don’t worry; pray. So when you suffer, don’t use profanity. Instead pray and give praise to the Lord in times of affliction.

The second set of circumstances when we should be praying is in times of joy, at the very end of verse 13 of our text. “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.” You say, “Well, it doesn’t say to pray.” But that’s what singing is; it’s praying to the Lord in song from the heart. So James says, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms” or petitioning the Lord.

The Christian life is not all sorrow. The believer in Jesus has great joy. And joy is not dependent on circumstances. Rather, joy is the fruit of the Spirit. Happiness is based on happenings or circumstances, but joy is the evidence of being filled with the Spirit. It’s the work of the Spirit in our lives.

So you can be in a dark dungeon or a prison cell, like Paul and Silas were in Acts 16. They were whipped, beaten and thrown in the stocks. But at midnight, they sang praises to God, and the prisoners heard them. Then God sent an earthquake, and the jailer’s life was saved, because the prisoners didn’t escape. And Paul and Silas didn’t sulk or complain.

Now if it was John Miller who was whipped, beaten and thrown in jail, at midnight he would have sulked, complained and griped. Not Paul and Silas. They begin to sing praises and to worship the Lord, even in that time of darkness. The Bible says that God “gives songs in the night,” Job 35:10.

Now there is a danger that we forget God in times of joy or in times of prosperity. That’s a very dangerous time. Someone said, “It takes a steady hand to hold a full cup.” So when God has blessed you, such as when He’s blessing your marriage, your job, your health, your children, your family, it’s a very dangerous time, because we can forget about God. But trials drive us to God in prayer. Naturally they should. But when things are going great, we also better get on our knees and pray and live in a place of dependence on God.

One of my constant prayers is, “God, don’t bless me more than I can handle.” And I believe that many times in my own life God allows affliction and sorrow to keep me humble, broken and dependent on Him. I’m like Paul the apostle in 2 Corinthians 12:7, who said, “A thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” And Paul didn’t want to be filled with pride, so God gave him this “thorn” and it kept him humble. And he prayed three times and asked God to take it away. But God said, “No.” Yet in verse 9 He did say, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” So even affliction comes as a gift from God to serve a good purpose—to drive me to prayer and drive me to dependence and reliance upon God.

And I love the idea of “Let him sing psalms,” verse 13 of our text. Ephesians 5:18-20 describes the Spirit-filled life. “And do not be drunk on wine, in which is dissipation.” You ever notice when people get drunk on alcohol they start to sing? And they ought not to sing. That’s a phony kind of joy. “But be filled with the Spirit.” That’s a genuine, authentic joy. And then it also says, “…speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” One of the greatest evidences of the Spirit-filled life is a song coming from your heart. When a song to the Lord comes out of your heart, it’s evidence that you’re filled with the Holy Spirit. In Psalms 34:1 it says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” So when I am going through affliction, I pray. When I’m going through times of joy, I pray by singing and worshiping the Lord.

But here is the third set of circumstances when we should pray: in times of sickness. So we should pray in times of suffering, in times of joy and in times of sickness. Verses 14-16 says, “Is anyone among you sick?” So is any afflicted or sick? “Let him call for the elders of the church…”—“the elders” is a reference to the pastors or spiritual leaders—“…and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” So it seems that this sick person, who’s calling for prayer and needs to be anointed with oil, has committed sin and needs to confess that sin and to repent of their sin, so that they can be forgiven and be healed. That’s the specific reference here.

By the way, this procedure of anointing with oil is only mentioned in the book of James. It’s not found anywhere else in the New Testament, and it’s a unique situation. And I confess that with all my years of studying the Bible and preaching from the Scriptures, I’m not sure how to interpret what James is saying here. I do believe it’s okay to anoint with oil when you pray, but God can heal without that too. He can heal without anointing with oil, because God is sovereign and there’s no special thing about the oil that we use. What’s important is a prayer of faith, trusting God and God’s will.

But in this specific case, it seems to be that there’s someone who is sick because they’ve sinned. They need to confess to the elders, to other believers. They need to repent of their sin. God will forgive their sin and heal their sickness.
But back in verse 15, it says to let him pray “the prayer of faith [which] will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses…”—which I believe is your sin—“… to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed” of both your sin and of your sickness.

Now let me make a couple of observations. Number one, Christians do get sick. I don’t believe or agree with what’s called the “word-of-faith, positive-confession” teaching of many today in the church. It basically states that healing is guaranteed, carte blanche, for all believers right now in the atonement. We hear the Scripture of Isaiah 53:5 quoted: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities…and by His stripes we are healed.” Everything in Isaiah 53 is talking about forgiveness of sins. It’s talking about being forgiven. And Peter also uses it in the New Testament to talk about forgiveness of sins.

If healing was guaranteed now, in this life and in this body before our glorification and our new body in heaven, then none of us should be sick. We should all be perfectly healthy. The aging process doesn’t stop when you get born again. If you’ve been a Christian 50 years, you look like it. Right? The Bible says these bodies are tents. Have you ever lived in a tent for 50 years? They would be swaying, the stakes would be coming up, they would be flapping in the wind and leaking. I actually lived in a tent for three months one time. Never again. I’m done with tents. I don’t do tent camping at all.

This body’s like a tent and it’s flapping in the wind, so I’m waiting for my new body. Until we’re glorified, we’re waiting for—the Bible says it like this—“…the redemption of our body,” Romans 8:23. “We groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,” 2 Corinthians 5:2. So until that day, we will get sick.

But I do believe in divine healing. How can you not believe in healing when all things are possible with God? He’s all powerful. And God can heal cancer as easily as he can heal a headache. So we should pray and we should do what the Bible says. We anoint with oil and we pray, but sometimes people say, “Pastor, you prayed for me and I got sicker!” They don’t come back for prayer after that. But I also hear the testimonies from many people who say, “You prayed for me and God healed me!” And I think, Praise the Lord. That’s awesome!

But notice what you are to do: you call for the elders—it’s plural—so there isn’t just one individual who has the gift of healing. This is talking about a group of spiritual leaders who pray. If you’ve sinned, you confess your sin, you repent of your sin and God promises to heal you. But you also need to parallel that with the Scripture that says, “If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us,” 1 John 5:14. So God may choose to heal you, or He may not choose to heal you, but regardless, we should always pray.

Now, in the context of this verse, the oil could also be a reference to using it for medicinal purposes, which was a common practice in Biblical times. When the Good Samaritan rescued the man who was beaten by thieves, he poured oil on the man’s wounds for healing. So here it was used for medicinal purposes.

The Bible tells us that Paul had a thorn in his flesh. Job was a righteous man, yet he suffered. To Timothy, Paul actually said, “Use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities,” 1 Timothy 5:23. Every wino I’ve ever talked to can quote that verse. That’s their favorite verse. So it can be used for medicinal purposes. And Epaphroditus, in Philippians 2, also got sick.

Sin, from the original fall of Adam and Eve, is what brought sickness into the world. But there are times when sickness can be the direct result of some sin, but we don’t always see a direct correlation between sin and sickness. So the sick person calls the elders, verse 14. The elders are the leaders, the pastors of the church. What do they do? They pray over him, and they anoint him with oil. And there’s nothing special about the oil. The Bible doesn’t tell us what the ingredients are in the oil. “Oh, it’s got to be olive oil from Jerusalem, from the Garden of Gethsemane. It’s got to be holy oil.” No; it doesn’t have to be.

Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, but we don’t know if that’s what’s being implied in this passage. So it’s a challenging verse to dissect. Let’s just believe that God can heal. If you’re sick, pray to God, then go to the doctor. If you go to the doctor but you don’t pray, that’s not good. If you pray but don’t go to the doctor, that’s not good either. God has provided medicine and doctors, but God is the one who heals our bodies.

As a matter of fact, the more doctors you go to, the more you should pray. They’re just practicing on you, because they don’t know what’s going on. And I’ve learned to do that myself. I pray, “Okay, Lord, I’m going to go to the doctor, but I’m trusting You. You and only You can heal my body.” So you need to look to the Lord.

And what should the elders do? They should pray “the prayer of faith.” They should do it “in the name of the Lord,” verse 14. That means it’s in His authority. And then we receive His promise, verse 15. “And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” So we pray in faith.

By the way, 1 John 5:14-15 says, “If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” So pray when you are sick, and pray “according to His will.”

The fourth and last circumstances when we should pray is to pray in times of spiritual darkness or national apostasy, or when there is spiritual darkness in our nation and national apostasy. Look at the end of verse 16, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” It has great power.

Then James gives us an illustration of this in Elijah the prophet, in verses 17-18. “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. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”

This Elijah story is taken from 1 Kings 17 and 18 in the Old Testament. During the reign of wicked King Ahab and the wicked Queen Jezebel, the nation of Israel had turned from worshipping Jehovah as God, and they were worshiping Baal, a false Canaanite god. Because of that, God sent Elijah the prophet into the courtroom of King Ahab, and Elijah said, “As the Lord God of Israel lives…there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word,” 1 Kings 17:1, and he turned and walked out.

Archeologists have unearthed little statues of Baal, and in his hand, they found lightning bolts. So it’s believed that Baal was considered a god of the weather, and they would pray to Baal about the weather. Thus, God is hitting them right where their false god is; there’ll be no rain and there’ll be no dew. But God, Jehovah, the Lord God of Israel controls the weather. So there was a drought for three-and-a-half years.

Now this verse is not to show us that we can pray and control the weather. You can pray and ask for a sunny day, because you’re going on a picnic. You pray, “God give us a beautiful sunny day.” But the farmer down the road has a field, and he’s praying for rain. Which one is God going to answer? “Well, I was first. I have a bigger Bible than he does. I’m more spiritual than he is.” It’s like Christians praying for their team to win the Super Bowl. Give it up. How’s God going to answer both prayers?

This verse isn’t about, “Hey, we can pray for rain!” And I’ve had people say to me, “Pastor, we’ve got to pray. Elijah prayed to stop the rain.” Yeah, but that’s a historical story that isn’t the same as our situation.

The lesson for us is that if we pray earnestly, consistently based on God’s promise, He will answer prayer. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,” James 5:16. That’s the lesson. He’s not telling us we can control the weather or the weather patterns. Rather, it speaks of the power of prayer.

Notice that the person of prayer, of James 5:17, was Elijah, who was a man just like us. I like that statement, “Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are,” my King James translation says. What that literally means is that he was just like us. One free paraphrase actually says, “Elijah puts his pants on one leg at a time just like we do.”

You might read this and say, “I’m not Elijah, a man of power, calling fire down from heaven. What a great prophet of God! He’s on a different level than I am.” No; he’s just like us—all the frailties, all the weaknesses, all the fears—but he was praying according to the will of God, according to the plan of God so God answered prayer in such a mightily way.

And then it says “He prayed earnestly.” Literally what that phrase means, in verse 17—and this is amazing—“He prayed when he prayed,” or “He prayed in his prayer.” That means that he actually prayed when he prayed. He didn’t just say a prayer; he meant a prayer. He was earnestly, sincerely praying. It’s easy to rattle off with your lips some form prayer, but then your heart isn’t engaged. So prayer is not just saying words; prayer is the heart connected to your words. So it literally is saying, “He prayed when he prayed.” He earnestly, sincerely, authentically, genuinely prayed, even though he’s a man just like us.

Now, let me break down Elijah’s prayer of 1 Kings 18. His prayer is based on a promise from God. God had stopped the rain in Israel. Then God brought together a contest with Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Two altars were built: one to Baal, one to Jehovah. Elijah said, “You pray to Baal. If he answers by fire, then he’s god. I’ll pray to Jehovah. If He answers, He’s God.” Mount Carmel sits right along the coast up in the mountains overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. I’ve been there several times, and it’s a beautiful, pine tree-filled mountain.

So this contest took place. First the prophets of Baal marched for hours, calling on Baal. “Oh, Baal, hear us! Oh, Baal, hear us!” There was no Baal to hear them, so nothing happened. Then Elijah said, “Okay, it’s my turn.” He doused the altar with water and said, “God, to show that you are God, the true living God, send the fire down.” The fire came down and consumed the altar, the sacrifice, the water, the stones and the dirt! Then all the prophets of Baal and the people of Israel fell on their face and said, “The Lord, He is God!” And the prophets of Baal were destroyed.

Elijah thought that this would bring a national revival, but it didn’t happen. So he ran out to the cliff overlooking the Mediterranean, and God said to him, “Now, pray; I’m going to send rain.” So Elijah prayed based on the promise of God.

The best way to get answers to prayer is, first, to plead the promises of God. Find a promise in God’s Word that applies to your situation, and plead that promise to God. Make sure you keep the conditions of that promise, make sure you know who it’s for, but if it’s applicable, plead that promise.

Number two, Elijah prayed definitely. He prayed the promise, and he prayed specifically for rain.

And number three, he prayed with humility. He cast himself down upon his knees and put his head between them.

Number four, he prayed with expectancy. Elijah said to a servant, “Go look over the sea and see if you see any clouds coming.”

And number five, he also prayed with persistence. Seven times he sent the servant to look for the rain clouds. He asked, “Did you see any clouds?”

“No, I saw nothing.”

“Go back and look again,” and Elijah prayed some more. Then the servant came back huffing and puffing. Elijah again asked the servant, “Did you see any clouds?”

“No, I saw no clouds.”

Now if I were Elijah, I’d have said, “Okay, forget it; ain’t gonna happen. Let’s go have lunch.” But instead Elijah said, “Go again…go again…go again…look again.” Elijah had the servant look seven times. Finally, the servant came back and said, “Okay, okay. I saw a little, tiny cloud about the size of a man’s hand.” And Elijah said, “That’s the rain coming! Get ready. Let’s go.” And they received an abundance of rain.

So Elijah prayed persistently. And not only did he pray persistently, but he “prayed a prayer.” It was answered and there was a great rain. Verse 18 says, “The heavens gave rain.” So Elijah was praying by pleading the promise, by praying specifically according to the will of God, and he was praying humbly, persistently and in faith.

So we pray when we’re sad, we pray when we’re glad, we pray when we’re sick and we pray when we are in a time of apostasy. America has never needed more prayer than it does right now. And we are the salt of the earth. We are the light of the world. We are God’s people. We must get on our knees and pray for America. We have turned from God, our nation is very dark and we need God to send His mercy, His Spirit, and a revival to our land.

John Newton said:

“When we pray, we are coming to a King,
So large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such
That none can ever ask too much.”

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About Pastor John Miller

Pastor John Miller is the Senior Pastor of Revival Christian Fellowship in Menifee, California. He began his pastoral ministry in 1973 by leading a Bible study of six people. God eventually grew that study into Calvary Chapel of San Bernardino, and after pastoring there for 39 years, Pastor John became the Senior Pastor of Revival in June of 2012. Learn more about Pastor John

Sermon Summary

Pastor John Miller teaches a topical message through James 5:12-18, “Prayerful Till Christ Comes.”

Pastor Photo

Pastor John Miller

September 10, 2023