13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.—The words of the Apostle James from James 5:13-18
I am fairly certain that every one of you knows at least a little bit about “praying.” We all tend to think of prayer in terms of a quick shout toward heaven whenever we get into a jam. We shouldn’t feel badly about that. God certainly understands that sometimes we only seem to want to talk to Him when we’re in some kind of trouble.
But, the truth is that prayer forms an important foundation for our daily walk of obedience with God. He wants us to learn what He expects by reading our Bible. He also wants to listen to what we have to say through prayer. And, in the quietness of time spent communing with Him, He will often give us a sense of the path He wants us to take for that day.
If you were fortunate enough to be raised in a Christian home, you likely learned about prayer when you were quite young. For most of your young life, your mom and dad, or grandma and grandpa, or your uncles and aunts, taught you about prayer.
When it was time for meals, you were taught to bow your head and thank God that He had provided the food that you were about to eat. When it was time to go to sleep at night, your mom and dad tucked you into your bed and took time to pray with you.
In your bedtime prayers you probably thanked God for the day He had given you. You probably thanked God for your mom, your dad, and your grandparents. Maybe you even thanked God for your uncles, aunts, and cousins. You probably asked God to keep you safe through the night. Then, there may have been some other special requests that your mom and dad helped you include in your prayer.
As you grew older, you learned that prayer is a very, very important part of your relationship with God. It’s your opportunity to talk with Him and tell Him what’s on your mind. It’s a time when you can tell Him your deepest feelings. It’s a time when you can tell Him the things that make you worry, or anxious, or feel sad. It’s a time when you can tell Him the things that make you happy or feel joyful.
When you pray, it’s a time for you to tell God how much He means to you, how much you love Him, how grateful you are for His Son, Jesus, and how very much you appreciate the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit in your life. And, most of all, it’s a time when you can ask Him to help you do the things that the Bible tells you He wants you to do.
Even if you did not grow up in a Christ-honoring home and came to know Jesus after you had grown, you certainly have learned—and continue to learn—the enormous value of prayer.
So, what I want you to remember about our time together this day is that prayer must always remain a very, very important part of our relationship with God. He uses prayer in a very powerful way in our lives. Okay?
Will you pray with me, right now?
Thank You, God, for loving me. Thank You for giving me prayer as a way to talk with You and share with You. As I continue to grow in my relationship with You, help me to learn more about prayer, so I can know You better. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.