In times of suffering and weakness, we don’t always run to prayer immediately. But when we do stop and pray, we make one of the most radical acts in the Christian faith. We are taking our suffering and struggles and placing them in the hands of the One we can’t see, hear, or feel, but we believe He will answer with great power. Prayer should be the first line of defense, not the last resort for every believer. - Pastor Dave
Open: Describe a time your prayers were answered: How did prayer help grow your faith?
Read: James 5:13-20; 1 Kings 17-19; Mark 14:26-72
1. Tradition says that James was given the name “Camel Knees” because of his emphasis on prayer. How do you see prayer emphasized throughout the book? Why would James end his letter with an emphasis on prayer? In what ways do you see a connection between prayer and suffering?
2. James begins this section with a few rhetorical questions. We all face times of suffering and cheerfulness. What is usually our first reaction to moments of suffering? Why does prayer tend to be a last resort? How does this demonstrate the frailty of our faith?
3. James calls us to praise God in good seasons. If we are being honest, we probably have more good days than bad days in our lives. What hinders us from spending time praising God for the good? Is joy a good advertisement for Christianity? Do you believe Christians reflect this reality? Why or why not?
4. The word “sick” is used 18 times in the New Testament, 14 of them reference spiritual weakness. How can physical suffering cause spiritual weakness (and vice versa)? Why is it important to gather other people to pray for us in those moments? Describe the process of Elders anointing someone with oil:
5. James uses the illustration of Elijah. Describe how Elijah’s example encourages prayer in our difficulty: James ends with an exhortation to rescue a wandering brother. What makes this difficult? Do you have concern for someone who may be wandering?
Pray: Pray that God would strengthen your faith through a lifestyle of praying and praising. Pray for a brother or sister who might be wandering from the truth.
Memorize/Meditate: Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16