The Ministry of Prayer
TEXT: James 5:13-18; Luke 11:1
TOPIC: The Ministry of Prayer
Pastor Bobby Earls, First Baptist Church, Center Point
February 11, 2007
Few ministries in the church are as important as is the ministry of prayer. Yet it is often one of the most neglected ministries of the church.
God’s word gives us clear instructions when it comes to prayer. God expects us to pray. And our prayer ought to be life-changing. It should first of all change us and then, it should change others also.
James 5:13-18, NKJV
13Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
Luke 11:1, NLT
Once when Jesus had been out praying, one of his disciples came to him as he finished and said, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
I. When Should We Pray? James 5:13-15
A. When We Suffer, v. 13, Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.
B. When We are Sick, v. 14, Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him,
If the request is wrong, God says, "No."
If the timing is wrong, God says, "Slow."
If you are wrong, God says, "Grow."
But if the request is right, the timing is right and you are right, God says, "Go!"
C. When We Sin, v. 15, And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
II. Why Should We Pray? Luke 11:1
A. Because Jesus Prayed, Once when Jesus had been out praying
B. Because Jesus Taught Us to Pray, “Lord, teach us to pray.”
Two men were talking together. The first challenged the other, "If you are so religious, let's hear you quote the Lord's Prayer. I bet you $10.00 you can't." The second responded, "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." The first pulled out his wallet and fished out a ten dollar bill, muttering, "I didn't think you could do it!"
C. Because Jesus Expects Us to Pray, So He said to them, “When you pray, Luke 11:2
III. Where Should We Pray?
A. In Private, Matthew 6:6, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
B. In Public, James 5:16, pray for one another
IV. For Whom Shall We Pray?
A. For the sick, James 5:14-15, 13Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.
B. For the sinner, James 5:15, “if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
C. For the saints, James 5:16, “pray for one another”
V. How Should We Pray?
A. Pray Fervently, James 5:16, The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
B. Pray Earnestly, James 5:17, Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly
C. Pray Specifically, James 5:17, that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.
D. Pray Consistently, James 5:18 “he prayed again”
E. Pray Expectantly, James 5:18, “the heaven gave rain, and earth produced its fruit”
F. Pray Continually, 1 Thessalonians 5:17, pray without ceasing,
First Baptist Center Point’s Ministry of Prayer
1. THE PRAYER ROOM MINISTRY
_____ By being a part of the Prayer Room Ministry.
(I understand this involves scheduling a specific time when I will come to the church’s Prayer Room to intercede for others.)
2. WORSHIP AND PREACHING INTERCESSORS
_____ By being a part of the Worship and Preaching Intercessors.
(I understand this means I will be willing from time to time to join a few others interceding for my church at worship and for the message during Sunday morning worship services.)
3. THE CHURCH PRAYER NETWORK
_____ By being a part of the Church’s Prayer Network.
(I understand this involves being available to respond in prayer for urgent needs that arise among my church family and a willingness on my part to contact by phone a few other intercessors to join me in prayer.)
4. THE E-PRAYER MINISTRY
_____ By being a part of the E-Prayer Ministry (E-mail List).
(I understand this means sharing my e-mail address with the church office to be added to a list in order to receive urgent prayer requests to pray over.)
5. WEDNESDAY NIGHT PRAYER MINISTRY
_____ By being a part of Wednesday Night Prayer Ministry.
(I understand this means I will attend on a regular basis Wednesday nights where I can be involved in Intercessory Prayer with others.)
6. PASTOR’S PRAYER PARTNERS
_____ By being a part of the Pastor’s Prayer Partners.
(I understand this means I am committing to pray for my pastor daily and joining him and a few other Prayer Partners at least once each quarter for a time of fellowship and prayer.)
How important is faithfulness in prayer? Dr. Wilbur Chapman often told of his experience when, as a young man, he went to become pastor of a church in Philadelphia. After his first sermon, an old gentleman said to him, "You're pretty young to be pastor of this church. But you preach the Gospel, and I'm going to help you all I can." Dr. Chapman thought, "Here's a crank." But the man continued: "I'm going to pray for you that you may have the Holy Spirit's power upon you. Two others have covenanted to join with me in prayer for you." Dr. Chapman said, "I didn't feel so bad when I learned he was going to pray for me. The 3 became 10, the 10 became 20, and 20 became 50, the 50 became 200 who met before every service to pray that the Holy Spirit might come upon me. I always went into my pulpit feeling that I would have the anointing in answer to the prayers of those who had faithfully prayed for me. It was a joy to preach! The result was that we received 1,100 into our church by conversion in three years, 600 of whom were men. It was the fruit of the Holy spirit in answer to prayer!"