I AM your only Hope James 5:13-20

Why do We Need to Pray?

Pharaoh said, “Who is God that I should obey him?”  He found out the hard way.

Who What  When and Why Pray?

Who, What, When and Why Pray?

How well do you know him?  Only when we realize who God is, can we then truly realize what we are before him; and it should humble us.  He the Eternal, All Knowing, All Powerful, All Loving, Merciful, Gracious, Forgiving, our Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and the Judge of the universe.  He is the God who numbered and named all the stars in space.  He is the God of order not chaos.  Thus we can know that He is in control of every detail of our lives.  He is the God who promised you that he will never leave you or forsake you.  He is the God who is at work in every hardship you face.  His mercies are new every morning. But do you recognize them? He gives you every day of your short life to come to grips with who He is.  He is the God who can do anything except for one thing.  He cannot do wrong by you.  No matter how bad your situation is, know that He has a greater design and will work it out for his glory and your ultimate good.  His standard is higher than ours.  Once he reveals these things to us, our prayers should take on new motivation and purpose.  They will be transformed from; me, me, me, to You, You, You Oh Lord are worthy of all praise and power and honor and glory.  Our prayer’s focus will then shift to others instead of our own comfort.  Prayer then becomes a ministry, a work of God through you in meeting the needs of others around you as this passage indicates. 

The Prayer of Faith

James 5:13 Is any one of you in trouble?  He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Who are you Lord?

I AM the God who hears you when you call, who helps in time of need, who blesses all of mankind with every joy and blessing, who heals body and soul, and who forgives sinners who humble themselves before me.  Adam thought that he could live life without me and still be OK, he thought he could be his own god and many of you do too.  Every need in your life has purpose, and that purpose is to show you how much you need me in your lives.  I AM the God who hears honest prayer and I am wise enough to know how best to answer.  But know this; I am not a genie waiting for your beck and callI am not a spare tire or an ace up your sleeve.  Who are you that demands my attention, I AM the Lord of the universe.  You must come to me on my terms.

I AM your only hope

Who am I to you?  Really?  If you really knew who I AM, your life would be different.  It is the effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man that I long to answer.  I AM the only one who can make you righteous.  I AM the only one worthy of your trust and praying to me shows me that you know that.  I AM the Lord and there is no otherI AM your tower of refuge and your only hope.  Life happens, death happens, needs, hardships, sickness and sin happen.  Satan uses these things to hurt you, but I am greater than all these things.  These things place you in a proper position before me as you awaken to your sense of helplessness and inability to control life.  They bring you back to look to me for answers, help, grace, mercy and salvation.  Prayer is the ultimate place of humility before me.  It is the starting place to receive from me real life and help in time of need.

Ask and it shall be given (as long as it is not to be consumed on your own greed).  Remember that I know your real needs before you do and I know the motives with which you pray better than you do, so don’t even start by asking me for stuff. Don’t confuse wants with needs.  Pray for one another, pray that I would be glorified in your situations, and pray that when “life” happens to you, that my Spirit might work his power in and through you for my glory.  Remember that I am more concerned with your spiritual life than how big your house or bank accounts are.  Listen to yourself in what you pray for.  I know the motive of your prayers.  You cannot trick me.  I answer accordingly.

God doesn’t answer the prayers of the sinful

“If I regard iniquity in my heart, you will not hear me.” Before you go throwing your list of requests at God, the only prayer that He will listen to from a person who has not accepted His Son’s payment on their behalf is this: “I am sorry God.  I am such a sinner and I realize the penalty is death.  I need your forgiveness. Jesus please take away my sin.”   First recognize Jesus for who He is the Great I AM, second, admit who you are in Adam – sinful.  Third, ask God to do for you what you cannot do for yourself – forgive and save you.  Having done that, you are now righteous in God’s sight and you have the privilege and responsibility to pray for the needs of people around you. 

Why should God answer your prayers?

Everyone wants God to answer their prayers, and if we are honest, most of us get mad at him when he doesn’t.  Why should he answer your prayers?  What are you praying about that mandates the Omniscient, Holy, Righteous, Almighty God’s attention?  Why do we think that we deserve God to answer our prayers when we don’t even like to spend qualitative and quantitative time with him getting to know what he wants in this world or in regard to our situations?  Jesus spent hours in prayer before anyone else woke up so he could be with his father getting to know God’s specific will for the day.  Most of the time we just want God to remove our infirmities, give us more money, our favorite team to win, or something to spend on ourselves.  Often we could not be bothered with God except when we are hurting.  When he doesn’t answer, we cry out “Why God”.  We deserve punishment not blessings, but he gives us the opposite.

So what are the prerequisites of answered prayer? 

Answer me this; how do you come before your Creator- Owner- Judge -Savior – who is the King of the universe? First check your attitude and motives.  First come to him in worship as He is worthy of it.  First, come clothed in Christ’s righteousness and thus humbly.  Then Come having searched, confessed and forsaken any sin in your life.  Come admitting your abject need of His mercy and help.  Come with concern for how He might reveal his glory to and receive praise from everyone involved in the situation.  It is one thing to come in Christ’s righteousness, but another thing to walk in that righteousness before men.  If you want to see answers to prayer, you have to be concerned for his will, not yours. Come realizing that He has plans for your situation that may not necessarily be the same as your plans.

Needs drive us to our knees

Nobody likes needs, but it is those needs which drive us to our knees before him.  Every day the lord meets our needs for everything that we require for life in order that we may choose to accept God’s gracious gift of salvation.  All the general mercies that we experience on this planet are given freely to us so that we would recognize his presence and hear his call to us as a loving Father calling his children home.  We however are too busy chasing dreams of grandeur to hear him, and it is not until we wake up in the pig pen that we realize that we actually have no control over our situations.  However, even there God is ready and waiting for us to return to him.  But it starts with recognizing our need and humbly accepting HIS gift of salvation in His Son.

Lord let me know you and the power of your resurrection and the fellowship of your suffering being made conformable to the image of your son.”  Make me a righteous man whose prayers are not hindered by sin and selfishness and whose prayers are concerned for your glory to be revealed in every situation.  Open my eyes to the harvest so that I might see where I can pray and do your will.

More to come,



About strostrud

Missionary with New Tribes Mission since 1989
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