Old Camel Knees (James 5:13-20)

November 27, 2022

Series: James

Book: James

Scripture: James 5:13-20

Anyway, it’s great to have all of you here and those who are online, happy Thanksgiving, hope you had a great time. We had a lot of fun hanging out with Jared and his two little boys. They actually were at the first service and now they are with Mrs. Lepatic because they getting ready to go home and I’ll have more to say about them a little bit later. I have some challenging points along the way, good challenges though. And as Marcus said, we’re at the last one. We’re at the last of our series of lessons on James and I’ve heard a lot of great stuff from a lot of you. One thing I’ve heard is that it’s great to be able to start a book and finish it. And so we’ve done a lot of that. We did second Peter. We did Ezekiel. We did Hebrews. And today we get to finish up the letter that James wrote to those scattered disciples. So I believe we’ve been getting a lot out of it.

The title of today’s lesson is, as you can see, old Camel Knees. James was known as Old Camel knees because evidently he prayed so much, he was so often on his knees and for so long that his knees started to become worn like the knees of a camel. And so they gave him that title old Camel Knees. He was a man of prayer. And so today we’re going to look at what this man of prayer has to say about prayer.

And I think it’ll be very rewarding to you. And it’s really interesting. I have looked forward to doing this lesson when we planned out who would do what and all of that. I wanted to do this lesson because one of the verses we’ll look at is from James five where it says, is anyone among you sick? Let him call the elders of the church and pray over him and anoint him with all and the sick person will be made well.

And I’ve had people who were called. I had a brother as recently as two months ago call me because there was sickness in his family. And he said this verse says to call the elders and have you pray and anoint the person with all and this sick situation that we’re dealing with will go away. And when he said that, it’s always challenging when I hear someone say that, because I’m thinking I’m not Jesus, OK, I’m not a miracle worker, but I am happy to pray. And so it’s like, okay, we want to make sure people understand what James is saying, but what James is not saying at the same time, several years back, there was a man who was in a very horrific accident going along I 95 went to the hospital.

Hospital staff told the family, look, you need to contact your priest, your pastor, whoever you go to for spiritual guidance because he’s not going to make it. And I remember we got that phone call here in Orlando church because they were in Daytona, the family and this young man, they were in Daytona at Halifax Hospital. They called and said, hey, can the elders come? I was the only elder available who could go. And I can’t tell you how fervently I prayed that whole 1 hour ride from Orlando to Daytona, because I know I’m a sinful man.

I know I fall short of God’s glory. I know I’m not Jesus. I know I’m not perfect. And yet in this situation, as is the case for so many, people are in dire straits. And they want a miracle.

That’s why they called. They want a miracle. They want a miracle right now. And so I said, God, I need you to intervene. I need your help as I drive over.

And so we went on over. Some of you may know the young man, he actually just passed away, Manny Hernandez. He actually survived that crash, but unfortunately, he has now passed away, as has his sister, I heard just recently as well. So that family has been through a lot. Side note, you can pray for them.

Parents don’t expect to bury their kids. That’s just not the way it’s supposed to work. But he made it through that, and I was very thankful that he did. And so I feel like we need to talk about this. So that can help you to know what the Bible says as much as possible, because they’re challenging things in this.

But I want you to understand what it means so you know how to react. So we’re going to approach this in three basic sections and all the scripture. Or two, James 5:13 talks about trouble and happiness. That will be section one, trouble and happiness, James 5:13. Section two is if you’re sick, call the elders.

We’re going to explore that, talk about what that means. That’s James 5:14 and 15. And then the last section is confession and prayer. James 5:16 through confession and prayer. James 5:16 through 20.

So let’s read our text. Let’s go ahead and jump into this for today. Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy?

Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well. The Lord will raise them up.

If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.

Again, he prayed, and the heavens gave rain and the earth produces crops. My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wonder from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this whoever turns the center from the error of their way will save them from death and cover a multitude of sins. Throughout this letter, James is very, very practical. He’s very down to earth with his words and he starts his letter in really a peculiar way as far as we’re concerned. He says consider it pure joy when you face trials of various kinds.

We live in a real world and we’re going to face trials, we’re going to face tough times, difficulty, they will come for all of us. And so James said, you need to consider pure joy because your faith is going to be proved and reproved over and over and over again. And he said, if that’s not the perspective you have, then you need to ask for wisdom so that you can gain God’s perspective about your life. I have talked to so many people, especially Christians, who’ve experienced something tough and they’re just perpetually mad at God. You got to get over that.

James says you got to consider pure joy. And I don’t want to sound like I’m insensitive to any hurt that you’ve been through. You may not be going through a calamity right now. Overall, get this, this is first and foremost about prayer today. It’s not about anointing, it’s not about oil, it’s not about the elders.

It’s about prayer. And every verse between verses 13 and 18 talks about prayer. Verse 13, it says if you’re in trouble, it says if you have a calamity or suffering, whatever, let them pray. Verse 14, call on the elders to pray. Verse 15, and the prayer offered in faith will make the person well.

Verse 16, confess and pray for each other. Verses 17 and 18 are all about Elijah’s prayers. So it’s all about prayer, okay? It’s all about prayer. That’s what God wants to get.

And he’s really practical. He says, OK, if you’re in trouble, pray. And if you’re happy, sing songs of praise. If you’re sick, calling the elders. And if you’re dealing with sin so that’s all of us, you know what I mean?

If you’re not sick, if you’re not in the middle of some calamity, or if you don’t feel particularly happy, if you have a struggle with sin, than this passage is for you. Okay? It’s for you. James is very practical, I just wanted you to notice that. So jump into section one, Trouble and Happiness.

We’re going to look at verse 13 of James five. Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

Now you may be feeling like, well shucks, if I’m in trouble then I pray. That’s a no brainer, Eddie. That’s what you do when you’re in trouble. And if I’m happy, I may not pray, but at least say, thank you, Lord. I mean, I acknowledge him, but I like what the King James version says.

It uses the word afflicted because we’re talking about intense stuff here. We’re talking about someone going through a difficult time. Anyone looking at this person from the outside would say, wow, he’s really going through it. She’s really in the middle of a tough, tough time. And this is the same word Paul uses when he describes his ministry over in second Timothy he says, this is my gospel for which I am suffering, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. Now, here’s a minister. Marcus isn’t chained. I’m not chained as ministers, but that was Paul’s ministry. That was how he described his suffering. This day he said, that’s what I’m going through. Paul is in trouble and he uses his trouble to tell his young protege, Timothy, you need to arm yourself with the same thought. Hardship, you need to get prepared is coming your way. And to kind of give him a feel for what he’s talking about, verse ten, if you go back, I’ll just refer you to this he talks about as an example of patience and suffering take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. So he says, OK, if you really want to know where I’m going, what I’m talking about here, just look back at the Old Testament prophets and I thought about three that I’ll just share a thought about.

You got Jeremiah, who remembers what Jeremiah was called? He was called the what kind of prophet? The weeping prophet. Yes. Amy says, yes, weeping.

He was a weeping prophet for his faithful proclamation of the word of God. He got thrown into a cistern that’s filled at the bottom with mud and he was left there for dead. Now, eventually they took him out, but that was what he got for it. Ezekiel lost his wife. By the grace of God, Lepatic and I are still married and I’m glad she’s still here.

I do know that death comes to us all. We don’t know who’s going to go first, but I haven’t lost my wife, so I’ve not experienced that. Then you got a guy like Hosea. And Hosea, I believe, was just a farmer, but he was a farmer turned prophet for God, and God tells him to go out and marry an adulterous wife.

I’ve got old neighbors who we were still very good friends with, just decided to file for divorce. There was unfaithfulness involved. Very sad. Very sad. So the reason why I say this is that you say, OK, what’s our natural response to this stuff?

I mean, what do you do when you face cruel opposition? What do you do when you’re unjustly punished like Jeremiah? Or God calls you and you lose a loved one? What do you do with an unfaithful spouse? Well, what we tend to do is that we get disappointed, we get disheartened, we start despairing, and we get discouraged.

We get gloomy, we get down, we grumble, we complain, we engage in self pity. But James says that’s the natural response. He said, I want you to do the supernatural response, and I want you to consider it pure joy. And I think, really, James? Come on, man.

I mean, come on, man, what are you saying? But that’s what God says. Consider it pure joy. And so he says, if you’re in trouble, pray. If you’re in trouble, pray. And God wants us to learn to come before Him humbly and say, you know what, God? I’m in trouble. I am having a difficult time. I don’t know how to deal with this.

I need your help. And sometimes the people that have the hardest time doing that are people who lead in some fashion, like myself or Marcus, or if you lead in your home, you want to appear strong, right? You want everybody to feel like you got it under control and you’re okay. And yes, James said, man, you just got to learn to pray. You got to learn to tell God, hey, I’m in trouble.

I’m having a difficult time. And really, guys, when you least feel like praying, that’s when you need to pray the most. You need to pray the most. And all I’m saying to you initially here is that if you don’t get anything, leave here with a conviction that, God, I’m going to pray more than I pray coming in here. I’m going to change my view of you.

I am going to pray a whole lot more than what I have done in the past. And so you got to pray even when you don’t feel like it. What did Jesus do when Jesus was on the cross? When Jesus was facing the cross, the Bible said he prayed more earnestly. What I tend to do when I’m faced with a tough situation is I tend to go into high gear to start figuring it out. Okay, what do I need to do to deal with this?

How am I to approach this? What needs to change? I’m ready to swing into action, get things going. Bible says Jesus paid more earnestly then because he knew what he was going through. No matter what your situation is, whether it’s emotional, physical, circumstantial, the antidote is prayer.

We got to learn to go to God in prayer, not only to solve the problem, but the strength and grace to endure it. So he says, Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. I love that being cheerful depends as much on us as our circumstances. Some people are perpetually gloomy.

They’re always and I’ll say it, they look like they’ve been sucking on a lemon all their life, and the face is just contorted in a bad way. Then you got other people who are just always happy. They’re perky, they’re upbeat. You like seeing them. You like spending time with them.

And that’s what Paul says. Remember that situation in Acts 27 when Paul was shipwrecked with those guys? Like 287 people on board ship and shipwreck is going down. Paul tells these guys, hey, be in good cheer. Really, Paul? The ship’s going down, buddy. This is a time to panic a little bit. But he said, no, be of good cheer. And NIV he says, have courage.

He said, no one’s going to lose their life. It’s going to be okay. God wants us to learn to get to that place where we can go through something really challenging and we can keep our head up. We can continue to pray. We’ve got to learn to see things that way.

We got to learn to make that the habit of our life. And you see an example of that in act 16. You remember that situation? Paul and Silas, they’re preaching the word and they get thrown in prison after being flogged and beaten and all that stuff. And I can just imagine they’re in this jail cell.

They’re feeding fastened in the stocks. And Silas said, you know what? My back is really killing me. That flogging was pretty intense, man. I thought they were only supposed to get 40 last I think they gave us 50, but that floggin was pretty intense.

And man, I got this laceration behind my thighs, and man, I think it’s pretty deep. I’m not even sure if it’s going to heal. And these stocks, man, I want to stretch. I want to move around. And our feet are fastened in the stocks.

We got limited mobility. And then Paul looks at him and says, hey, you want to sing? Like really Paul? Sing? Did you not hear what I just said? Aren’t you feeling the same pains that I’m feeling right now?

And yet they sang and the prison doors came open and they end up converting the jailer. Amazing situation. We have to get to a point, guys, where we see life that way. And a great song, some of you who have been around not nearly as long as me, but many, remember this song. It says, when upon life’s billows your tempest tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

God wants us to count our blessings. He wants us to rejoice always to pray without ceasing, looking at the word of God and the kind of care we need to have, because some things are challenging. If you get nothing else, remember, this whole section is about prayer. We need to become a praying people. We need to become a praying church.

We need to pray as families. We need to pray as family groups. We need to pray in our neighborhoods. If you can get a neighbor to be willing to pray, we need to become praying people. And even through the ups and downs, the good times and the not so good times.

We need to get to a place where our focus is to learn to faithfully go to God in dependent, humble prayer is to give it to God. And so he says here, is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint Him with oil. There are two things I want to share with you that makes this challenging. I’m not sure if you thought about it, but I’m going to put it out there today.

In 2 Peter 3, Peter, talking about the writings of Paul says something Paul writes about are difficult that fits James’s words here. This is a challenging passage. And the other reason why it’s so difficult and challenging is that there’s no parallel scripture to what we read in James five. You know how you can look at the Gospels? Maybe you see a parable in one place and the same parable is told differently, or a situation told in one place, you see it in another Gospel.

Then you can read both and you get a real sense of what it’s saying and you leave and say, yeah, I totally understand that. You can’t do that with this passage. There’s no parallel scripture you can look at and study out. So let me tell you what it says here. As far as some of the thinking about this idea of anointing. First of all, there’s a practice of anointing, and the Catholic Church has used this to justify the notion of anointing someone who was close to death.

And the idea is through that anointing them, you’re getting them ready for the next life. Well, in reality, you’re getting them ready to stay in this life because the Bible says this prayer, the person will be raised up. So that’s the idea here. That’s one thought. The other is the idea of apostolic healing.

And what this means is that this was something just for that time, during the time of the apostles, but it’s not applicable to you and me today. I kind of fight against that because what James says doesn’t refer to apostles. He refers to the elders of the Church. So this does apply to our time, and we need to acknowledge that. The third way of looking at this is the idea of an ecclesiastical transaction.

I like what that’s what one commentator said, call it an ecclesiastical transaction. And another way to say it more simply, it was a religious necessity. Okay? What that means is that this was something that was necessary for that time because modern medicine had not caught up with the need for what it could provide. Okay?

So it was just something for that time. Now that modern. We have modern medicine, the need for this has gone away. I say, why not have both? You know what I mean?

I’d rather have the best doctors in the world working on me and I’ll just throw it out there. Just like mechanics aren’t the same, plumbers aren’t the same, all doctors aren’t the same. So do your homework when it comes to stuff, all right? But I would rather have the best doctor and have someone pray over me and anoint me with oil. You could do both.

Okay? The fourth way of looking at this is some see this as a guarantee of healing for Christians in all circumstances. This is the one that saddest of all to me, because when people call me, they are worried. They are concerned that someone very close to them is not going to make it and they want a miracle and that’s why they are calling. But here’s the thing.

The promise that health, scriptures don’t teach that health is a birthright of a Christian, okay? Guys, we’re all going to die. We’re all going to get older and die. People won’t live forever. This verse does not mean that just because I come over and pray for it and annoint you with oil, I can keep you alive forever. Ain’t going to happen, all right? That’s just not the way the scripture works.

But those are some of the basics. Then the other is this is a ceremony or custom. What you see in the Bible is that oil was used a lot in the Old Testament. People were anointed into office. You had the priest who went through anointing, they would anoint the altar. And I’ll read you something from Jacobi Douglas Jacobi in a minute that will help you, I think, with that.

So it says here that we need to understand those things as much as we can. But let’s look at verse 14 again. It says, is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church. So what is this verse saying?

And sometimes when it comes to the Bible, the best approach to take is to figure out what you can hold on to with certainty and then what maybe is still left for more study or whatever. And so let’s talk about who’s involved in this situation. It says you are to call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them. Take it in reverse order. If you’re calling the elders of the church, first of all, the church is involved, right?

Okay. The church, the body of Christ is involved. James assumes that his readers are involved in the church. Now you may say, okay, well, we’re all here, Eddie, so obviously we believe that, well, sometimes you can be here and not be here.

Okay. You still need to be really involved with the church. And one thing I will share, if you’re not a member of the Orlando church, I’m going to make an appeal, become a member, get involved and be a part of what we have. Maybe you’ve been coming for a while and you like what you’ve seen. We like you too.

So just go ahead, become a member and take part. Now, you can be a part of the church universal, and I think we understand that. But if you want to be shepherded by this leadership, if you want to be under the care of this leadership, if you want to position yourself so you bring your talents and gifts to the church, that requires membership here, so become a member, talk to anybody here, they can help you with that. If you have any questions, talk to me, Marcus, Amy, or Lepatic, we can help you as well. So the church is involved at that level.

It says call the elders of the church. The elders of the church. That’s the second level of involvement. James assumes the presence of the church, but he also assumes the presence of Godly leadership. He wants you to call the elders of the church.

So we need mature men, and some of you who are younger, and I’m talking to a younger crowd, primarily, you need to aspire to be an elder, please. You need to aspire to be an elder. Barry Maddox at Barry’s in his early seventy s, and he’s getting close to that. We’re getting older. We need some younger folks to aspire to the eldership as well.

But also because he said these are the people you call. Now, later on we’re going to read that verse where it talks about us praying for each other. But in this case, he’s calling for leadership. He’s talking for Godly men to come and pray. And that’s why, guys, in Hebrews 13 it talks about obey your leaders so that their work will be a joy, not a burden.

Guys, we are responsible to Almighty God for you, we really are. And so, you know, help us with that. Yo, help me help you, that kind of a thing. Y’all know a great movie that has that line in it, but help me to help you because we are responsible for God, but you are responsible to each other. And we’ve got more to say about that in a moment.

That’s the who who’s involved the church, the elders, and the last of the person who’s sick, that could be a man or a woman. Now, what’s involved? He says you call the elders, they pray they are anointed person with oil. And this you can’t be dogmatic about. But there are some basic things that are somewhat implied.

You’re talking about a person maybe with an acute form of illness. You’re talking about someone who’s probably incapacitated or confined. You’re talking about praying over them. So you get the impression, just physically, that maybe you’re talking about someone who’s in bed, who’s not able to get out and about. And it’s probably a private setting rather than a public place.

This is probably happening in someone’s home. And so when the elders arrive, it says they’re to pray for the person and anoint them with oil. And then the faithful prayer of the elders and this anointing, this process, the person will be made well.

Now, anointing with oil, Bible has a lot to say about that. But first of all, I say it first and foremost, we’re not talking a magic formula, okay? I use I think it’s myrrh that I’ve used. I bought it at a religious bookstore for this purpose so I could use it for times of anointing. I’ll use that stuff smells so nice.

It smells really, really nice. Now, don’t you all call me to get me to bring it just so you can see what it smells like. You can buy your own or something if you want, but the idea is that it’s not a magical formula, and I can’t say that enough. Again, I’m not Jesus. I don’t know what God’s will is, and we’ll say more about that in a moment.

But it is a literal anointing. That’s what we do when we’ve gone to see people. And so therefore, kind of general interpretation is just a ritual, like the Catholic Church approaches it that way. Some people think it’s medicinal and physical. Some just think it’s symbolic.

It’s symbolic of the healing of God. It’s symbolic of the healing of the Spirit. But I like what Jacobi says about this idea of oil, and I’ll just read this for you. He cites several passages, both Old and New Testament. And after citing those passages, he says, it quickly becomes evident that the use of oil was a routine practice in biblical times.

In fact, oil was used when one was in a normal state of health or disposition. It was not used when one was mourning fasting or ill. Jesus told his followers to use oil when they fasted, lest people detect that something was abnormal and realized that they were fasting. The anointing has no connection then with the healing, but is done in anticipation of the healing. I think it’s a good way to perhaps at least consider it.

Again, you want to study this out even more, but I want to just remind you, it says, it’s the prayer of faith that raises a personnel, not the oil, not the elders, not the process. It’s the prayer of faith. And so we annoint people with oil. We have done that on numerous occasions. We annoint people with oil, and that’s something we will continue to do.

But if you can remember this, remember this passage prioritizes the importance of the church and your connection with the Church. Secondly, it prioritizes Godly leadership. And thirdly, it prioritizes the need for humble prayer and looking to God for the situation. And keep in mind, God may say no like he did with the Apostle Paul. Despite all of his pleadings, God said no.

Okay? And then verse 15, it says, and the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well. The Lord will raise them up. What makes this verse really challenging is look at how definite it is.

It says the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well, okay. It says, The Lord will raise him up, as if you didn’t hear him say, the Lord will raise this person up. That’s why this is really challenging, because when you look at other scriptures, some of you may recall, you remember sadly, after David sin with Bathsheba, bathsheba gets pregnant. She has a baby, baby’s born. David prayed earnestly.

He fasted and prayed. He said, God save this baby. Day after day, he’s on his face, he’s fasting and praying. And the baby still died because that was what God had decreed would happen. Paul, same thing. He pleaded with God to remove this thorn. He continues to plead. God said no. And that’s why this is so tough, because he isn’t saying that just because you call on the elders and just because you say a prayer, that every single time, and this is one of the thought. Some people think this is more kind of proverbial, if you will. It’s like a proverb. An example, old Testament Proverbs three, I believe. It says, train up a child in the way he goes, and when he’s old, he won’t depart from it. You remember that scripture. So what that seems to say on the surface, if you do the right thing, you train them the right way, they won’t ever go away.

But they do. They do go away. Some, not all, but they do fall away. And so you can’t take Proverbs three, verse five, and say, this is always going to happen. No more than you can take that, that’s one thought about it.

That is more a proverb kind of a thing. But what it is saying, I think let me make sure one of the thought I was going to make sure, okay, the other generalization, again, I talked about the apostolic thing, that it was only related to that time. Then one of the thought is that there’s a special provision of faith. If you look in one Corinthians twelve, you can just look at that at your leisure. It talks about the Spirit granting to another faith.

And so there’s a thought that, okay, maybe God grants a certain faith to these leaders as they go through this process and pray to God for healing. But verse 15 says the Lord will raise them up. Again, it’s the prayer of faith. It’s the Lord. It’s the Lord, not the process, not the elders who will raise these people up.

And if he’s sinned, he’ll be forgiven. Okay, so let’s hit this last section so we can get through before Carlos gets hungry and wants his lunch, okay? All right, let’s look at this next section. John James 5:16-18. Confession and prayer.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again, he prayed and the heavens gave rain and the earth produces crops.

First of all, James says this idea of confession and prayer is for everybody in the church. She says you need to confess your sins and pray. That’s for eddie as an elder, that’s what Marcus as an evangelist, that’s for every leader. That’s for every member of the church. You say, well, I don’t want to be that open about my life.

Sorry. You need to be open. God wants you to do it. It’s for your good, it’s for your growth, OK? God expects you to do that.

And but the other part about that is that it’s humble confession of sin, very humble. When a person comes to you and confesses, they’re opening up their soul to you. If you’re prone to just love juicy gossip, or if you’re prone to just love somebody talking about something happening to somebody else, where you need to check your heart before you do a whole lot of listening. Because the idea of confession and prayer is this person is confessing to get help. This person wants you to pray for their situation.

This past week, it was really cool. I had a great brother, a good friend of mine, call me because he wanted me to know how he was doing spiritually. He was going through some things, and he called, he shared with me his heart. And then he said, and I also want to just share some simple thoughts I’ve been having. And so we talked about that and I said, well, what’s the source of those things and how can I help you?

And we talked it through, had a great conversation, great conversation. We prayed at the end. Really awesome. But here’s the thing. I want to caution you about sharing sinful thoughts, okay?

You’ve got to be careful. Okay? It’s one thing if I do something to offend Marcus in my words or my action, well, that’s clear. I can go to Marcus. Bro, I am so sorry.

Please forgive me. We can deal with that. But when it comes to simple stuff that’s going on in my head that you got to be careful of. I’ll use a for instance, let me see who I’m going to pick on? Jessica Jolle.

Okay, I’m going to pick Jessica Jolle. And Jessica decides that she needs to go to Carol and confess some things. So Jessica goes to Carol and says, you know what, Carol, from the moment I met you, I hated you. I’ve just had these thoughts in my heart towards you.

I just got to be open with you. Carol, I am really sorry for thinking these horrible things about you. Now, what did Jessica just do to Carol? She just saw the word vomited all over her. And then Jessica goes off in fellowship and she’s happy.

She is happy. Her heart is all cleared out and there’s just nothing there. And Carol’s like, from now on, she looks at Jessica thinking, what is she thinking about me now? And what’s going on next and what have I done?

Are these sinful thoughts that need to be confessed? Yes, but not to Carol, okay? Go to somebody else and say, you know what, I’m struggling. These thoughts aren’t right. I want to make them right.

All I’m saying is you gotta be careful. God does say confess, but you got to be careful. And he says a prayer of a righteous person. Psalm 60:18, talking about someone who’s just striving to walk with God, trying to deal with their sin. But let’s go to the next session, 17 and 18.

Let’s see. Let me go to my next slide. Yeah, that’s the one I want. Okay. Elijah was a human being even as we are.

He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed. And the heavens gave rain and the earth produces crops. As an example of what it means to be righteous, he said, look at Elijah. I’m thinking Elijah is like up here in my book in terms of prophets.

He is the prophet of prophet, who is the one who appeared with Jesus in the minor transfiguration. It was Elijah. Elijah was there. Before John the Baptist was born, the angel said that the child would be born, would come in the spirit and power of Elijah. When Jesus was on the cross and he said, ELoi, Eloi lama Sabatoni.

He says, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? They says, hey, listen, he’s calling for Elijah. So, God, you’re telling me that this man who is the prophet of prophet said, he’s just like me? Yeah, he is. You remember after that great victory on Mount Carmel?

And Jezebel said, okay, your hair is going to be just like the heads of these people who died. Your head is coming off. Elijah ran for his life. He goes on the broom tree and he just wants to die. The man was depressed.

He was down. He was probably clinically depressed. So in that sense, Elijah is just like us guys. He went through stuff just like we do. And yet the Bible says he prayed.

There was no rain. He prayed again. The rain came back. God, listens to your prayers. He wants to hear from you.

Our biggest problem is we neglect prayer and we need to pray. Let’s close out with these verses in James 5:19. My brothers and sisters, one of you should wander away from the truth, and someone should bring that person back. Remember this, whoever turns the sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over multitude of sins. James talks about those who wander away from the truth.

We are responsible for each other. Okay? If you see someone and there’s maybe a loss of zeal and enthusiasm, maybe they’re starting to miss church. Maybe they don’t go to family group or stay tied in with others. Maybe a critical spirit.

Those things don’t necessarily mean that there is a problem. But I’d rather you love me enough to ask me, eddie, how are you doing? You seem like you got something going on. How are you doing? Are you okay?

People don’t just one day decide they don’t like the church anymore. They drift. They wander away over time. And we have to be involved in each other’s life and to help out. And so that’s one place where you can start with your prayers.

Pray for people. Pray for each other. Pray for folks that you know who are not right with God, who need to get right with God. So here’s your living water challenge. And all it involves is maybe an area of your life where you once prayed, but you’re not praying anymore.

Write down areas of prayer where you might see changes in your attitude or circumstances if you offered sincere prayer to God, sincere prayer to God. Maybe it’s something that you stop praying about because you just decided nothing was going to happen. Pray again, okay? Don’t just write them down. Obviously, you know, I want you to pray about it. Let’s pray again.

Before we take Communion, let’s look at Hebrews five, seven and eight. It says, during the days of Jesus’life on Earth, he offered a prayer and petition with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death. And he was heard because of his reverend’s submission. Soon, though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered. Jesus prayed more.

When things were tough, he prayed more. He didn’t pray less. I tend to pray less, but I need to repent, and I invite you to repent with me. Let’s become a praying person, a praying family. A praying family group, a praying church.

Let’s pray.

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