6/14 How to Pray for Others James 5: 13-20
The first line of our scripture passage for this week reads “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.”
Pray – okay, who me? What does that mean? How do I because I really don’t want to screw it up. I don’t want to get it wrong; someone is suffering, and I want to help them, but pray? I’m a little scared to pray after all I’m praying to God! Can you relate to this? Our sermon topic this week is How to Pray for Others. We know that as Christians we are to pray. And yes, we pray corporately in worship service but then someone else is saying the words I’m just agreeing to what is being said with my head bowed and eyes closed. That’s prayer, right? So, if I send a prayer request to the church then someone else will pray for that situation, for healing or help in the suffering for me or my friend. There then that’s how I address the command, “Let him pray”. While yes that is one way, but that is not what James is referring to when he said,” Let him pray”.
In Let him pray – you missed the him part. Him is us personally taking it to the Lord in prayer. Prayer in its simplest form is talking with God. A conversation much like you would sit and talk with someone you trust or confide in. In one of the RNM videos we viewed this week from Dr. Ed Young on How to Talk to God he says to start with the mindset of “Our Father”, to feel in your heart that God is dad and to talk with him that way. Jesus refers to God as Father many times throughout the Bible. We know that God sent his son Jesus to redeem us back to him. Dr. Young stated it this way, Jesus lived the life you and I did not live – He died the death that you and I deserve – so that you and I will be in family and be able to pray “Our” Father. Ed says we are no longer orphans in this world. We are in a family relationship, we have keys to the house so to speak, our legal status has changed. We are no longer citizens of this world, our citizenship is of another Kingdom, Heaven. Philippians 3:20 “We have a Father who cares deeply for us, he is Our Father who art in heaven”.
We as humans here on Earth will continue to struggle with our sin nature, that’s a given, that’s suffering. Again, from Sunday’s scripture passage In James 5:16 we read “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another.” Pastor George reminded us that we are to pray for others and for self. Prayer lifting others up, bringing them before the Lord. We are God’s intermediary in praying for another in their suffering, they need help, in our suffering, we need help. We need “daddy’s hand” to help us. In Teach us to Pray, another of the RNM video series we watched this week, he talked on The Lord’s Prayer. We heard him tell us on the part – And lead us not into temptation – we are asking God to lead us away from testing, the sin of the world, the flesh and/or the devil, to lead us away from testing that we are not ready for yet, not strong enough to resist, and deliver us from the evil one. He referred to it like asking God to place his hands on our shoulders leading us through it all. For God goes with us each step of the way, for us and with us, there is always love in daddy’s hand. When another whom we love is suffering, we pray for God’s hand on them to guide and direct. That’s what Pastor George meant when he said in his sermon Sunday that prayer is lifting others up, bringing them before the Lord. In showing empathy to another that suffers in sin, we pray. We pray to Our Father for His guidance, for endurance, for help in the midst of suffering.
In What Should We Pray? by Alistair Begg another of this week’s series we learned in everything, turn to God in prayer. Pray for our world, the work of the gospel in our lives, to bring our lives in line with His purposes. In Ephesians 3:14-21 is a Prayer for Spiritual Strength, to be strengthened with power through his Spirit, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. The passage ends with a giving glory to God, vs. 20 “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever, Amen”. God can do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. Take it to him in prayer, trust him to.
But, you say, God has let me down, God has hurt me, I’m angry with God and just can’t pray right now. In Charles Betters teaching on How Should I Pray when I’m Angry with God? he says we ask the Holy Spirit to interpret our brokenness. He referenced Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning’s too deep for words” The Holy Spirit intercedes. Charles talked about the temptations that Jesus went through after his 40 days and 40 nights of fasting in the dessert. He was tempted. He denied the temptations. In Matthew 4:11 we then read….”then the devil left him and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.” In our pain too deep for words to express we seek help from the Holy Spirit to intercede for us to God, in our weakness from being under the burden of sin, once confessed and acknowledging our sin and of wanting to repent, to turn away from it, it’s then that Angels will come and minister to us, to help us out of the suffering and pain.
From Sunday’s sermon we heard again that we are to share the love, grace, and forgiveness that God offers. We are hands and feet to people in their time of need. We are to put aside our own stuff of fears, embarrassments, lack of confidence, but to pray with and for others. We are told that “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” May your Spirit guide us, in Jesus name we pray, AMEN.
Larry & Darlene