Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | September 5, 2015

September 6, 2015 “A Different Animal”

“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5: 14-16)

Good Monday Morning Prayer Partners!

With the advent of the internet and social media sites such as Facebook, I have discovered that there are many more public requests for prayer support for those facing difficult and challenging situations in their lives. Quite often, supportive, well-meaning friends will respond by posting a pledge of prayer. While it is most certainly encouraging and supportive to assure someone of your intention to pray for them, I also understand from my own life how casually such a pledge is often made. I could not begin to count the times in the past when I have said to someone facing some sort of dilemma, “I’ll be praying for you”, only to discover with the passing of time and the circumstances of new days and new challenges, those prayer pledges are forgotten…not intentionally, but most certainly. In today’s passage from James, it is clear that intentional prayer, when sought out and addressed immediately, produces “powerful and effective” results. A pledge of prayer is a much different animal than actually and intentionally praying.  In fact, in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says of such promises, “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Better a simple “yes” or “no” than to make a prayer promise that remains unfulfilled. How do we avoid this pitfall? I have found the best way to do this is to pray immediatelyto stop whatever else you may happen to be doing when such a prayer request comes and pray with or for that individual. If you happen to be speaking directly to them, offer to pray right then and there. If someone has posted a prayer request on Facebook or some such other site, stop whatever else you are doing and lift up a prayer for them right away.  Oswald Chambers put it like this:

“Never say you will pray about a thing; pray about it.” 

Saying is not the same as doing.  Doing is a different animal than saying. A prayer promise is not the same as an actual prayer. There is no need tarry when it comes to prayer. We don’t have to make an appointment weeks ahead of time to come before the Throne of Grace. The door is always open. Take Jesus’ advice. Don’t say anything you don’t mean. Just pray! Let’s pray!

Heavenly Father; just as there is no delay by the Holy Spirit’s interceding on our behalf before Your throne of grace, may our prayers also be immediately forthcoming. teach us to pray continually, to keep our prayer promises, knowing that the door is always open for us to do so. Thank you for that promise, Lord. Thank You for the opportunity to pray. Amen!

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