Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Live Faithfully - Week Twelve

Powerful Prayer
James 5:13-20

highlights from this week:
  • the word for suffering in this passage means ill treatment from others
  • Jesus never promised Christians life without sorrow, but He did offer peace along the way
  • suffering can last more than a moment, therefore prayer must be continuous
  • some suffering is the result of sin and some suffering serves to refine us
  • God does not always choose to remove our suffering, but He does promise to hear our prayers and help us through our suffering
  • we can always praise God for who He is in the midst of our suffering
  • thankfully God doesn't always give us what we want; He gives us what we need to grow in spiritual maturity
  • we must remember that all prayers must be prayed in God's will
  • sin can cause physical sickness
  • humanity's greatest disease is sin, the greatest cure is forgiveness
  • all who pray to be healed from the disease of sin will be forgiven
  • we must confess our sins to the Lord and to those who have been affected by them
  • trespass carries the idea of a person who knows better but sins against another and God anyway
  • James used the word healed in the context of a repentant believer becoming spiritually whole again
  • the Word of God and prayer must go hand in hand, for His Word gives us the promise to claim when we pray
  • earnest prayer refers to prayer that is immediate, intense and continuous
  • intercession is the act of petitioning God or praying on behalf of another person or group
  • God is the God of second chances...He delights to restore broken things
Day 4, on page 288, is an excerpt from a speech made by Abraham Lincoln when he declared 4/30/1863 a national day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer.  His words were so profound and so accurate of our country today that I just sat there for the longest time thinking about it.  If ever there was a time to begin intercessory prayer it is now.

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown.  But we have forgotten God.  We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.  Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to God that made us.  It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness. 

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