You should pray

James 5:13-20  New Living Translation (NLT)

13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

16 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. 17 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! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

 Over the last two decades, we’ve been a part of several churches in the various cities we’ve lived. Sadly, we’ve observed a common trait among them all: a lack of prayer. Not just individually, but corporately. We joined small groups on prayer, but very few actually prayed. We heard yearly sermon series on prayer, which stoked the fire, but eventually it dwindled to a flickering flame when the corporate prayer nights ended, and the masses returned to the more important work. Believe me, I’ve seen the same splinter in my own eye. I too have traded sitting at the feet of Jesus (like Mary), for my own feet to stay busy serving, serving, serving (like Martha). I mean, someone has to do the work, right? And there’s only a few of us, right? Yes, but what did the Lord say we should do?

We should pray.

 

Why don’t we pray?

Pride.

Why don’t we call on the elders to pray over us?

Pride.

Why don’t we confess our sins to one another?

Pride.

You should pray

To bow before the Lord in prayer is HARD. It requires humility. It requires us to be stripped naked, pick up our cross, and crucify our flesh before the Father. It requires us to die to our desires, our wants, our will. It requires us to keep asking, seeking, and knocking until our hearts are resurrected by His heart. To bow in front of our elders is even HARDER. It requires even more humility. It requires even more stripping, and standing naked- in front of other people!

  • Who are our elders?

They aren’t necessarily those that carry the title Elder, Pastor, or Leader (that shouldn’t be the case, but sadly, it is all too common- for man often promotes and assigns positions based on gifts or talents. The Lord however, promotes & assigns based on fruitfulness). An elder is a man or woman who is older in the Lord than us. An elder is a person who is “like a tree planted along a riverbank…” that continues to produce good fruit in every season. Elders are among the remnant of Gods people. They are the ones who prefer the prayer room, not the platform. They are the ones who do not crave the spotlight or the applause. They are elders in the Kingdom whose intercession may go unnoticed by Elders in the religious system, but not in their Fathers house. They are the ones who will meet with you at home, at a coffee shop, or a park to listen, encourage, and pray with you. They are the ones you can call, text, or facetime, at all hours of the day or night. They are the ones who’s joy it is to train you in the way that you should go. They are mothers and fathers in the Spirit.

  • Why should we call our elders to pray?

Because the bible tells us so. The bible says that if we humble ourselves, and ask our elders to pray, then we may be healed. Did you hear me? HEALED!Humility proceeds healing. Humility releases blessing. Because God blesses those who are humble. God blesses those who are poor in Spirit. God blesses those who recognize their need for Him.God blesses those who seek His face.  God blesses those who confess their sins. God blesses those who repent. God blesses those who mourn. God blesses those who forgive. God blesses those who submit to one another out of reverence for Him.

Can the Lord heal us when we meet with Him alone? Absolutely! He has been faithful to do so in my life. BUT, He has also required me to humble myself and ask others for help. It’s become a repeated pattern. He will do great things in my heart as I sit as His feet, but there comes a time when I need the gifts and the grace that others carry in the family of God to minister to the places I cannot see. By asking others to pray over me and confessing my sins in their presence, I’ve received more of the Fathers love, more of the Sons righteousness, and more of the Spirits refining fire and power. My elders have prayed over me in living rooms, ministry rooms and digital rooms for almost a decade. These elders- these spiritual moms and dads-  have trained this strong-willed child in the way that she should go. I am no longer a rebellious orphan who performs in the spotlight for the applause of the crowd. I am no longer an exhausted orphan who serves, serves, serves for the approval of religious leaders. I am no longer an independent orphan who tries to provide for myself. I am no longer a lonely orphan without a family.

I am a child! I am a daughter. I am a sister. I have been adopted by the Father. I have been redeemed by the Son. I have been resurrected by the Spirit. I have an eternal family. I have moms and dads. I have brothers and sisters. And now, I have the joy of training the next generation of sons and daughters in prayer.

Are you suffering hardship? (physically, emotionally, spiritually)

You should pray.

Are you sick? (physically, emotionally, spiritually)

You should ask your elders to pray over you.

 


 

Searching for an elder? Here are some of mine:

https://www.restoringthefoundations.org

https://www.hismosaic.com

https://caringfortheheart.com/couseling/locations/randy-merry-hamrick/

And… our ministry, where I have the privilege of praying for others with my elders:

https://deepintothewater.com/pray/

Connected to the Body

I’m a private person.  In the past, I’ve been guilty of dealing with tough issues (work, marriage, children, parents, fellow believers, disappointments, expectations, and sins) by MYSELF.

Occasionally, when issues get REALLY bad, I make strides in going to God and submitting to others for a while….But, I’ve struggled with having consistent, deep relationships with other believers in the body, especially other men. I can count on one hand the people I’ve let in.  The fact is, I’ve been hurt, betrayed rejected and abandoned by those I trusted.  But because of my pride I haven’t forgiven them completely.  Currently my wife is the main person I’ve trusted to let in.

Maybe you too have remained isolated when issues arise in your job, marriage, children, parents, fellow believers, disappointments, expectations, and sins. Maybe you too haven’t completely forgiven those in the body of Christ that have hurt or disappointed you.

The truth is: We were created to be in close relationship with God

AND

The truth is: We were created to be in close relationship with the body.

connected

Romans 12:5(NLT) “So it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts, of one body, and we all belong to each other.”

Acts 2:42(NLT)“All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper) and to prayer…47 And each day the Lord added to their Fellowshipthose who were being saved.”

I see that the church has become really good at getting together with others, sharing meals, maybe listening to a teaching, maybe taking communion, and perhaps praying.  The church as a whole has become a card carrying membership and not a fellowship.  Ship: old English “scipe”; as to shape, form, adjust, adopt, evolve, develop.

Why?

Independence. Independence from God and one another. Instead of being a part of the body of Christ, we have amputated ourselves…..trying to process the issues of life alone- without God, and without each other

How do we solve the problem?

Three (3) things that we can do to stay connected and become a healthy body

  1. SEEK parts of the body – Out of a humble heart, proactively search for someone you can intimately connect with, confide in, count on, and call out on a deeper level;

Hebrews 10:25(TPT) “This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing,  In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.”

  1. SUBMIT to parts of the body – Out of a humble heart, willingly surrender to someone by opening up and being vulnerable. Allow them to ask the difficult questions and provide the difficult answers surrounding your marriage, children, parents, fellow believers, disappointments, expectations, and sins.

1Peter 5:5 (NKJV) “Likewise you young people, submit yourselves to your elders.  Yes, all of you, be submissiveto one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble””.

  1. SHARE with parts of the body – Out of a humble heart, deliberately and lovingly speak life to someone, including words of praise, encouragement, and correction.

Proverbs 10:11 (NLT) “The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain…”

Ephesians 4:2“Always be humble and gentle.  Be patient with each other, making allowances for each other’s faults because of your love”. Making every effort to keep yourselves unitedin the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

Misapplied:      Matthew 7:1“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.”

1Cor 5:12 (TPT)“What right do I have to pronounce judgment on unbelievers? That’s’ God’s responsibility.  But those who are inside the church family are our responsibility to discern and judge..”

Proverbs 17:10 (TPT)“One word of correction breaks open a teachable heart, but a fool can be corrected a hundred times and still not know what hit him.”

You and I were created to be connected to the body both physically and spiritually

When we seek out, submit to, and share with other parts of the body of Christ, we are built up and equipped to .be a unified and powerful body- able to fulfill the commandments and commission that Christ demands of the church.

I’m no authority on relationships in fact I’ve failed time and time again… but time and time again, the Lord has proven that He has never left me or forsaken me and neither has the church – there ARE others in the body that are also seeking, submitting to and willing to share their lives with me, so that we can edify and encourage one another.

What about you? Are you connected to the body daily or just weekly?

Are you seeking, submitting and sharing with others or are you isolated and independent of God and others? Do you have someone that you open up to and are vulnerable with or are you avoiding issues?

Is someone encouraging, challenging and correcting so that you can be the healthiest you?