“You do not have, because you do not ask God.” James 4:2
We find in the book of James one of the clearest, most succinct teachings on prayer contained anywhere in the Bible. In just six verses James, the brother of Jesus and someone who should know something about prayer, encourages his readers with six different prayers that God loves to answer. The underlying reason for his emphasis on prayer in this epistle is stated in the words “you do not have, because you do not ask God.” It could go without saying, but needs to be said again and again, because we are so prone to forget: we need to pray to get answers to prayer. The answers we desire only come from prayers that are prayed. The more we pray, the more answers we get. It is that simple.
That having been said here are the six prayers that always get answers from God. They are taken from the passage in James 5:13-18.
1. Hardship Prayers – “Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray.” (vs. 13a) For those suffering hardships, affliction and troubles of any kind we need to understand that God is “close to the brokenhearted” and promises to “rescue those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) He is a compassionate and merciful God who extends His steadfast love to those in need as faithfully as the rising of the sun each morning. (Lamentations 3:32)
2. Praise Prayers – “Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.” (vs. 13b) Praise to God is one of the most powerful prayers that can be prayed, not only in happy times, but also in times of trial. It is the language of heaven – where praise surrounds the Throne of God day and night. That is why we are told to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, and why the Lord’s prayer begins with hallowing His name. (Psalm 100:4 & Matthew 6:9) God loves to release His power in response to praise just as He did when Jehoshaphat and his army went out to battle led by the worshippers. (2 Chronicles 20) Praise not only ushers us into His presence and releases His power, but it also gives us His perspective as to how we should be praying.
3. Agreement Prayers – “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.” (vs. 14) Jesus promised to be present wherever two or three are gathered in His name and said “if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19-20) Having said this He underscored for us the multiplied power of agreement in prayer. Just imagine if one person can chase a thousand and two ten thousand, what three or more can do? (Deuteronomy 32:30)
4. Faith-Filled Prayers – “Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well.” (vs.15a) When prayers are accompanied by faith, things kick into overdrive. Having unshakeable faith in God releases Christ’s authority to the pray-er to command every mountain hindering an answer to ones prayer to be picked up and thrown into the sea. (Mark 11:22-23) “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)
5. Repentance Prayers – “And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (vs. 15b-16) One of the great promises in all the Bible is “if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) God will never not answer this prayer. To do so would deny His very nature and the reason He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross.
6. Persistent Prayers – “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! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.” (vs. 17-18) James uses a quintessential illustration of the power of persistent prayer taken from the life of Elijah. (1 Kings 18) Even the great prophet had to pray multiple times, seven to be exact, before rain came. But he persisted and God answered! Jesus said it best when He exhorted His disciples that “they should always pray and never give up!” (Luke 18:1)
If you have been a prayer drought, why not ask God to lead you in praying one or more of these prayers? Be assured, these are six prayers God loves to answer, but remember, you must first pray them before He will answer!
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