Time to Pray, Again
Truly know God Well as we go through life hopefully we get to know God better and we do that a number of ways one way is by spending time with them in His Word but another is by spending time with them in prayer and that's what our sermon is about this morning for those of you were here last week you know that we're finishing up the book of James we're almost done and you can open up your Bibles there right now to James Chapter five and last week we spent a little bit of time talking about prayer but I wanted to start off the sermon hopefully on a light note and so I came across a couple funny stories trying to share the those with you right now there's a couple of funny stories or jokes that I found about prayer so this joke is Johnny was a very bright five year old and he told his daddy that he'd like to have a baby brother and along with this request he offered to do whatever he could to help and his dad being a very bright thirty five year old pause for a moment then replied I tell you what Johnny if you pray every day for two months for a baby brother I guarantee he they God will give you one so Johnny responded eagerly to his dad's challenge and went to his bedroom early that night to start praying for a baby brother and he prayed every night for a whole month but after that time he began to get skeptical he checked around the neighborhood and found out that what he thought was going to happen had never happened in the history of the neighborhood you just don't pray for two months and then whammo a new baby brother so Johnny could train after another month Johnny's mom which the hospital where she came back home and Johnny's parents called him into the bedroom and he cautiously walked into the room not expecting to find anything and there was a little bundle lying right next to his mother and his dad pulled back the blanket and there was not one baby brother but to his mother had twins and Johnny's dad looked down at him and said Now aren't you glad you prayed and Johnny hesitated a little and he looked up as dad said yeah. But aren't you glad that I quit when I did.
That going to happen at this church you never know I you know and with how many babies were having so today is another sermon on prayer and you know when you look at prayer just simply from the standpoint of us turning to God and asking him to do things for us that's how some people look at prayer and we can get very discouraged how many of you have ever prayed and you never had any answer it can be very discouraging and so when we start to understand what prayer is it's not so much about us having died do the things that we want him to do for us but it's more about us spending time with God so that he puts within our hearts the desire for His will to be done not only in our life but in others other people's lives and even with that being said God still tells us to turn to Him and pray for anything in for every reason well last week as we're finishing up in jeans this last section we looked at two things the James tells us to pray for their sins for final things that he really mentions in this passage last week we looked at two of them and it was that we're supposed to pray for those who are in trouble and the word for trouble I think we can pray for anyone who's in any kind of trouble but the specific trouble that he was mentioning here there's four uses in the entire New Testament the other three are in first Timothy and it's for people who are in trouble or in distress because of the their testimony for God And so because they're living in obedience to God they find themselves in trouble in the world so we're supposed to pray for people in trouble the other thing we prayed for last week were those who are sick and also we realize that ultimately God is going to heal and restore every true believer ultimately with the resurrected body but during this life time sometimes God will heal a person if we pray and so we prayed for that and then also talked about when someone is caught up in the sin on that can affect them physically and so a person who turns back. To the Lord and prays and they repent God can also bring healing to them well for today what I was planning on doing is looking at the last two things that James talks about and as I started studying I realized there's there's just no way we're going to be able to get through both of those so we're going to talk today about the command to pray for our nation and at the end of the sermon today just like we did last week we're going to spend just a couple minutes all of us in silent prayer praying for our nation and how many of you would agree that our nation needs prayer so we're going to do that we're going to look at what James says and a couple other passages and the next week we're going to look at how James tells us to pray for true brothers and sisters in Christ who are wandering from the truth so we'll look at that next week well it's reader our section for today James Chapter five we already read for last week verses thirteen you're sixteen so we'll pick up on where we're going to look at today actually it's the last half of verse sixteen and so picking up in halfway through verse sixteen it says. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working and then he gives us this great example. Alijah was a man with a nature like ours and he prayed fervently that it might not rain and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth then he prayed again and Heaven gave rain and the earth Bortz fruit my brothers if any of you men any one among you wander from the truth and someone brings him back let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins Well next week we'll look at verses one thousand and twenty but today we're going to use the example of Alija as our inspiration to be praying for our nation so turn over in your Bible study First Kings Chapter sixteen and as you're turning their this is one of those Old Testament stories it is really great and it made me think I sometimes I take for granted that not everyone in a church service might lead. Very familiar with all of these really great Old Testament passages and it kind of reminds me when I was in high school you know I grew up in the same church my whole life and so as I'm going through all my early years of development into grade school and Sunday school you kind of eventually hear all the good old testament stories and there were a couple girls these twins who on their they had a friend in our church a gram in Spokane and their friend invited them to church and they were saved and so their junior and senior year they really started getting involved in church and our high school group we would go up to a small rural community church up in Priest Lake Idaho the northern section of Idaho and we put on a vacation bible school for some of the neighborhood kids and I remember we're sitting there we're going over the lessons that we're going to talk about and so I was I think a Bible speaker and I said well we're going to talk about the story of Jonah the whale and one of the twins kind of had this blank look on her face and you heard that story right you know I mean to her that story what you've heard about David and Goliath right now I've never heard that story and so I was thinking wow they get to hear all these things for the very first time and so some of you here have probably heard about a lie John Mount Carmel this is a great story but there might be some of you here who have never heard this story and this is a really good one and so I'm excited for you today so here we're going to read the first kings and we're going to pick up in verse nineteen and this is talking about the spiritual condition of the nation because it was under the influence of the worst keening in the history of Israel and his name was a habit first King sixteen verse twenty nine.
Says in the thirty eight the year of ACE a king of Juda a habit the son of Omri began to reign over Israel and they had the son of Omri reign over Israel in some area twenty two years and look at verse thirty and Ahab the son of the armory did evil in the sight of the Lord more than all. All who were before him. And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of the bat he took for his wife Jess about well the daughter of King of the Cydonia ends and went in search of bail and worshipped him you know I joke around from time to time when we have a lady who's expecting a child that they should pick out a biblical name for their kids don't pick just well all right ladies don't if you have a daughter don't pick the name of all that would not be good verse thirty two time my dad he reckoned an altar for bail in the House of Bale which he built in some area and they have dated Ashura and then listen to what it says about a on a how did more or to provoke the Lord the God of Israel to anger then all the kings of Israel who were before him. In his days Hello all of Bethel built Jericho he laid its foundation of the cost of Abraham his firstborn and set up its gates the cost of this youngest son so ago of according to the word of the Lord which he had spoken by Joshua the son of Nun and so here we have in Israel a bad ruler and you know what usually happens in a nation when you have a bad ruler you have a bad nation because they usually tend to follow after the leaders and so this evil wicked king not only followed after false gods but the entire nation with some exceptions followed his leadership and so that's why it's so important for us to be very cautious who we choose as role models and leaders in our life and that's true when it comes to politics it's true when it comes to maybe someone that you're going to work for you might be certified in a certain industry but if you're working for a man or a woman that is ungodly that can affect you in fact remember what it says in First Corinthians fifteen thirty three Do not be deceived bad company ruins good morals and so we see this pattern over and over in the Bible a person who is. Evil and immoral they start to bring other people on with them and also we usually see in the Bible a pattern that when that's happening then God will raise up a godly righteous person and they will bring them back through their influence and that's the case in this story and the man that God used is a lie just. So first Kings Chapter seventeen this is when we are introduced to this prophet named Alija he sort of just kind of just jumps onto the scene out in the work first King seventeen says now allied to the Tishbite have to be in Gilliard said to Ahab. As the Lord the God of Israel lives before whom I stand there shall be neither do nor reign these years except by my word. And the word of the Lord came to him depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook of charity which is east of the Jordan we shall drink from the brook and I have commanded the Ravens to feed you there that's pretty cool the livery service from the birds that's kind of nice so a lie just sort of he just kind of comes out of nowhere he walks up to the king and he tells the king what God is going to do to punish the nation of Israel and to get their attention and then he vanishes and so you just kind of wonder how did they have responded in the least initially to to Alija you probably thought you get out of here you know who are you who are you to say that this is going to happen then maybe after a few months when there's no rain means you get a little nervous or maybe you know maybe the prophet was true maybe he's actually telling the truth and then and then after a year you know what he would like to do to Alija you know torture him and force him to to pray that there is rain and after three years. Of famine because that's it went on for over three years he's desperate and his hatred for Alija is at its peak so let's skip all the way ahead to verse one of chapter eighteen so this is where we get this confrontation first kings eight hundred one. After many days the word of the Lord came to Alijah in the third year saying Go show yourself they have and I will send rain on the earth so. Alija went to show himself they have now the famine was severe in some area and so risky to head to verse seven and here is were Alija basically tells Obadiah who is a had servant over die is a righteous man there is going to be a confrontation between the gods that A had is serving which are not real and the one true God of Israel so eighteen verse seven.
And as Obadiah was on his way behold Alija met him and Obadiah recognized him and fell on his face and said is that you my lord Alija and he answered him It is I go tell your Lord behold Alija is here and he said how if I sin that you would give your servant into the hand of a how to kill me as a lord your God lives there is no nation or kingdom where my Lord is not sent to seek you and when they would say he is not here he would take an oath of the kingdom or a nation that they have not found you and now you say Go tell your Lord behold a lie just here and as soon as I have gone from you the spirit of the Lord will carry you I know not where and so when I come and tell a how these not cannot find you he will kill me although I your servant have feared the Lord for my youth has a not been told my lord what I did when just a bill killed the prophets of the Lord how I had one hundred men of the Lord's prophets by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water and now you say Go tell your Lord behold alleges here and he will kill me and a lie just said as a Lord of Hosts lives before whom I stand I will surely show myself to him today so over die went to meeting out and told them and they have went to meet Alijah So just imagine how eager Ahab was to meet Alija and what he wanted to do to Alija and so here we are beginning in this confrontation verse seventeen when I have Sawyer I am said to him is it you you trouble or of Israel is probably the nicest possible way you can put what he said probably keep in the different and in. And real life and verse eighteen this is a lie do responding and he answered I. Have not troubled Israel but you have it and your father's house because you have abandoned the commandments of the Lord and followed the bails Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel and the four hundred fifty prophets of bail the four hundred prophets of Asherah who eat it just the bells table so what he did is he issued a challenge we're going to skip ahead that you can read this on your own if you've never read the story but there was a battle and Alijah challenge they have in the province of Bale in Nashua we're going to see which God is real and so they had to altars and he took two bulls cut them in half put him on the altar and they were going to have the one true God was going to set fire to consume the sacrifice and whatever God set fire to the altar that was the one true God And so first Alija being the gentleman that he is he led a having all of his prophets go first and said for morning tell afternoon they were his scrying out to bail and they were cutting themselves as it was their their habit and guess what happened to that altar nothing absolutely nothing happened because Bale is not real and then Alija prayed and so this is what happened to the altar the lie just set up he had twelve stones one for each of the tribes of Israel and not only did he set up the altar he poured water during the middle of an intense drought which is a very ironic he poured water three times on the bull that was on his altar so that no one could possibly say that Alija was up to no good verse thirty six and as we look at the section this kind of gets back to what James is saying notice alleges heart for the nation of Israel not only does he want God to be honored but Alijah was a man who wanted the nation of Israel to turn their hearts back to the Lord verse thirty six. Said. And at the time of the offering of ablation Alija probably came there and said. Oh Lord God of Abraham Isaac in Israel let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and that I have done all these things that your word answer me oh Lord Answer me that this people may know that you old Lord our God and that you have turned their hearts back. So notices prayer His desire was for the nation to live in obedience to the One True God and this is what happened when Alija this righteous man prayed verse thirty eight then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the Stones and the dust and looked up the water that was in the trench and when all the people saw it they fell in their face and said the Lord He is God the Lord He is God and a lie just said to them seize the prophets of Bale let none of them escape and they seize them and Alijah brought them down to the brook Kish on and slaughtered them there and here we get the reference in James when Alija prays for rain and at this point in time Israel basically needed two things they had spiritual needs they've been following after bale they've been following the leadership of they had and they had been riding through.
And so their spiritual need to get right with the Lord but they also had a physical need it was during a famine and so Sometimes God allows us to go through intense physical need because our spiritual need is greater and so at this time Alija prays that God would beat both the physical and spiritual needs first forty one. And a lie just said they have to go up eat and drink for there is the sound of rushing rain so I went up to eat and drink and Alijah went up to Mount Carmel and he bowed himself to the earth and he put his face between his knees and here we know he's praying and he said to a servant. Go up now look towards the sea and he went up and he looked and said There is nothing and he said Go again seven different times and at the seventh time he said Behold a little cloud like a man's hand is rising from the sea and he said Go up and say they have prepare your chariot go down less the rains stop you and in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind and there was a great rain and they have rowed and went to just reel and at the hand of the Lord was on Alijah and he gathered up his garments and ran before a habit to the entrance of just real. You know James uses Alija as an example of how prayer works and I think it's important to notice that Alija prayed for he prayed for the spiritual condition of his nation you know God is concerned for people on many levels he's concerned for each and every individual and that's how someone is saved when a person there themselves were lies that they are a sinner and need a forgiveness when they prayed accept Christ his death and resurrection God saves that person God is also concerned with groups of people very concerned with small groups of people like marriages and families and and even churches but God is also very concerned with large groups of people like Nations we read about that with Jonah and the city of Nineveh but God cares about everyone he cares about every single person in this room today he cares not only about the individuals in this room today but the marriages in this room today and the families in this room today and he also cares about the United States of America he does not care more for the United States than any of the other nations in the world I know sometimes we get a little caught up in being Americans because you know we're Americans but what I want to do today is I want to spend just a few moments praying and we're going to pray for the United States of America because that's where we live and I think it's very timely that we do this you know I. I don't remember another time in my my forty two years of living I know it's not very long when our nation has been as divided as it is right now and thankfully the election is over because boy that was very divisive and hopefully it will get better you know the most united I've ever seen our nation was on September eleventh two thousand and one there really was very united but right now we are preparing to see a major change in our country are we we will have a new president on Friday January twentieth I think it's the forty fifth president in our country's history and his name is Donald Trump and ten fifteen years ago if you said Donald Trump would be president you'd probably laugh just like people would laugh that Ronald Reagan was going to be president really he's a slob ready and whether whether you're excited about the new president or whether you're upset at the new president it doesn't change the fact that God calls his children to pray for the leaders of the nation that they live in and there are couple saying is that the Bible tells us that we need to pray for about our nation and for our leaders and I want to look at these verses today you'll notice that there in your Bolton or in the sermon notes but the first thing that we are told to pray for is to pray specifically for our leaders that God will give them the wisdom that they need to govern and we read about this and first into the Chapter two so I might open up to these passages these three passages I think these are very important first of the chapter to be getting universe one it says. Paul writes to us and says First of all then I urge that supplications prayers intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people for kings and all who are in high positions that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life godly and dignified in every way this is good and it is pleasing in the sight of our God of God our Savior who desires all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. God desires for all of us to live peaceful quiet lives and the leaders that are over us have a huge. Influence on whether that comes to be or not just like Ahab did with the nation of Israel and so we must pray for our leaders that they will make wise decisions that will allow us as the people to prosper as we are able to live in a way that will glorify God The second thing that we need to pray for regarding our nation will see and first Peter and Romans thirteen were both are saying essentially the same thing but in first Peter chapter two. Just a few verses your first Peter chapter two verse thirteen we are told that we are to live in obedience to those over us so that our testimony will be a great example for Christ for the world around us first Peter two thirteen.
And some of you don't like this verse but it's in the Bible it says be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution whether it be to the Emperor or a supreme or to the governor's assent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good for this is the will of God that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people it's interesting that no matter who is in a position of power over us we are to live in obedience to them unless they ask us to do something that contradicts one of God's commands that's the only time when God gives us permission to defy those in leadership over us and the reason we are why we are to live in obedience in verse fifteen it says to silence the ignorance of foolish people as you look at our nation is there a lot of foolishness going on Ron is there a lot of ignorance going on here one of the things that just gets me going I'm not going to get on a soapbox just for like ten seconds I have never seen in my entire life and I know you have not either people. Absolutely unwilling to obey those in authority over them especially with all these things with the police it is just absolutely incredible that they are not willing to just obey the police when the police are there and not going to get into that but still we are supposed to live in obedience to people who are in a position of authority over us and when we do that it's God's will and it silences the foolish talk of ignorant people another passage in Romans thirteen Paul says essentially the same thing that Peter does all read this for you and Romans thirteen it says Let every person be subject to the governing authorities for there is no authority except from God and those that exist have been instituted by God Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists where God is appointed and those who resist will encourage judgement for rulers are not a terror to good conduct but some bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority then do what is good and you will receive his approval now I want to use the end of the sermon the swearing like we did last week it's one thing for us to talk about praying and putting these things into practice but I think it's important for us to just spend some time right now to really ingrain this into our heart and mind that this is this is what we're called to do is God's people to pray for our nation and pray for these specific things so I want to give us just a few minutes right now as we wrap up the sermon looking at the inspiration of Alija a man who prayed for his nation that God would bring the nation back to him and that's something that God implores us to do as well and so I'm going to ask you to pray for a couple things but first as you go to the Lord in prayer right now you can buy your heads you can close your eyes I'll give you a couple minutes to do this pray for our nation and first and foremost specifically pray for our leaders pray for our next president pray for the governors. The people that are in charge of the city pray for all of them that God will truly give them the wisdom that they need to be good leaders on. On our behalf so let's spend just a moment praying for our leaders right now.
And as you continue to pray.
Pray also that we might shore a nation and specifically the people in our city that the Gospel is powerful and it changes lives and so pray that your obedience will be used by God as a testimony for others spend time praying with.
Your father Today we pray for the United States of America and we just happen to live in this day during the season of human history and and you ask us to respect and submit and pray for those who are in charge and so this morning Father we pray for those that are in charge we pray for our next president pray for the governors the senators we pray that you will truly give them wisdom wisdom to enact laws and to act on those laws in a way that will truly be beneficial to us as the people and also Lord sometimes as. Hard as it is to pray and into respond but we pray that we will live lives that will be such a positive testimony that it will attract the unsaved in our world to want to know more about you and so Father we pray for our nation and we pray for are our biblical mandate and response to those in positions of authority over us that our actions will truly bring glory to you and father we continue to pray for those who are suffering as we prayed for last week Lorida take away their suffering if it is your will or allow them to understand your grace in a new and special way and we also pray Lord for those who are sick that if it is your will that you will heal them and bring them back to full health and if not Lord we know that you have something so much better planned for them and store for them in the future of the Lord we do come before you and we make that request and I pray for us as a church that our hearts desire is going to be always to know you more and to put our faith into action so Father I pray now that you'll bring us back safely nest next week so that we can learn more about you so we can support each other and experience your grace and mercy in our lives we pray this in Christ most holy name Amen.
And I mean the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit to be with you all again.