Application questions for your discipleship group:
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.
14 Is 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.
15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
16 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.
17 Elijah 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.
18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back,
20 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. 1
1. To what extent is prayer your first response to both the ups and the downs of life? Why is this, do you think?
2. Do you think you are tempted to be too quick, or too slow, to connect adverse circumstances to unrepentant sin? What are the strengths and dangers of such an approach?
3. How does thinking about Elijah’s prayers excite you about yours?
4. Is there a “wanderer” you need to seek to “bring … back” today? Or do you need someone to challenge you in some way?
5. James’ letter is a deeply practical part of Scripture. How has the Spirit been prompting you to love Jesus more, and work harder and more wholeheartedly in living for him?
“A praying life feels like our family mealtimes because prayer is all about relationship. It’s intimate and hints at eternity. We don’t think about communication or words but about whom we are talking with. Prayer is simply the medium through which we experience and connect to God.
Oddly enough, many people struggle to learn how to pray because they are focusing on praying, not on God. Making prayer the center is like making conversation the center of a family mealtime. In prayer, focusing on the conversation is like trying to drive while looking at the windshield instead of through it. It freezes us, making us unsure of where to go. Conversation is only the vehicle through which we experience one another. Consequently, prayer is not the center of this book. Getting to know a person, God, is the center.”
- Paul Miller “A Praying Life”
“The praying life prioritizes spiritual rescue.” (James 5:19-20) -
“We need to be humble. It is only by God’s grace that we are not in that situation ourselves, and we may well have been so on other occasions. There is a need for gentleness and self-examination. It needs to be done carefully, prayerfully and lovingly; but it does need to be done. And the wonder of the gospel is that it can be done.”