BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday August 10, 2014
THE POWER IN PRAYER
(We should be a powerful, praying community)
Suffering is allowed in our lives, because GOD wants to elicit, or evoke, our prayers. Sufficiency is given to us, because GOD wants to elicit, or evoke, our praise. Prayer can remove our affliction, or, it can obtain for us, the grace we need to endure in, and through, our suffering.
The experience of suffering can give us the patient endurance we need in order to accomplish GOD’s will in this life for us, and, for those whom GOD wishes for our lives to touch. GOD balances our lives by giving us times of suffering that brings us to prayer, and, times of blessings which should bring us to singing of praises. Praying and singing are just as important to today’s church as it was to the church in the first century.
In James chapter 5, James concludes his letter of instructions to the early Christian church by emphasizing the power we can all obtain and share over our afflictions, through a healthy prayer life. This passage that strongly links prayer, sickness, church elders, anointing with oil, and confession of sin has fascinated Christians for centuries. There are several things that come into focus in this passage just as it does throughout this wonderful letter of church doctrine that goes a long ways toward helping us to mature as Christians.
First of all, James tells us that prayer is very much needed during sickness, physical and spiritual. And when such sicknesses come, it is the role of the elders in the church to pray for them. Prayer is primary and anointing with oil is secondary in dealing with human afflictions. In the first century, oil was the most common ingredient used in medical treatments. Here in verse 14 the Greek verb used by James to describe the use of oil in this function is “aleipsantes” and it means “to smear on, or rub on with oil”. Thus this verse teaches us that we need application of both prayer and normal medical treatment to heal our sicknesses. If James had meant anointing in a sacramental sense, he would have used the word “chrio”, which means “to anoint ceremonially”.
Then there is “confession”, which is important should sin be the cause of one’s illness. In this case discipline would be the correct action to take. And since confession and prayer are associated with good spiritual health, it is important for Christians to be sensitive to sin, and develop a practice of confessing their sins to each other, and praying for each other.
The, prayers of a righteous person, or a person who is in a right relationship with GOD, is truly a powerful weapon against human afflictions. Each of us can be a wonderful resource for the other. And each of us can help the other guard against going astray. When a person strays, we are expected, by GOD, to reach out and turn that person back to a life that is lived according to GOD and HIS word. And historically, we can all be inspired by the likes of Job, and take comfort in his great example to us, of suffering, and being able to emerge into an experience of GOD’s mercy.
As we persevere through suffering, we must strive to stay focused on GOD, WHO can deliver us through it all, and steadfastly, remain committed to living and telling the truth. And, we can be certain that the great and powerful JUDGE is standing at the door waiting to encourage us, and comfort us, for all time and eternity. GOD does not promise that we won’t have nightmares, but, what HE does promise is that, when we do, HE’LL be there to hold us.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website