Prayer, Healing and Restoration

Scripture: James 5:16, 1 John 5:14, Proverbs 10:12
Date: 12/20/2014 
Lesson: 12
"More important than the healing of the body is the healing of the soul. Our purpose is not, after all, to make people healthier sinners but to point them to the eternal life found in Jesus."
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Hello friends, and welcome to a very special edition of Sabbath school study hour. As you can see, we're at the set of the 'landmarks of prophecy' Bible series that's currently taking place here in albuquerque, New Mexico, but we wanted to film our Sabbath school lesson today so we could keep going with our study together of this very important book of James. Now for those of you who might be joining us for the first time, we're going through the lesson quarterly dealing with James and today we're on lesson #12 dealing with 'healing, prayer, and restoration.' We have a free offer that goes along with our study today and we'll be happy to send that to you. All you'll need to do is just call the number on the screen and ask for the offer 'teach us to pray.' We'll be happy to send that to you. Read it and then pass it along.

Give it to a friend. Well, before we get to our study, let's just begin with a word of prayer, asking God's blessing upon our time. Dear Father, once again we thank you for the opportunity and the privilege of gathering together to study Your Word. And as we look at this very important subject, we pray that the Holy Spirit would come and guide our hearts and our minds and lead us into a deeper and a fuller understanding of your word. For we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen.

Our lesson today will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you Pastor Doug. Thank you Pastor Ross. And I want to thank those who are part of our live studio audience for coming today and being willing to help us keep taping for our friends we know that watch the study hour time all around the world. And it's a big family all over the planet studying the quarterly together.

Today we're in the second to the last lesson from the book of James. And I've really enjoyed this study. There's just such practical biblical teaching. Again, it's called, 'prayer, healing, and restoration' - lesson #12 - and there's a memory verse. And the memory verse is from James 5:16.

If you have your Bibles, I always like if you could say it with me. James 5:16, and it says there - ready? - "Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you might be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." As it says in the King James, 'the fervent, effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much.' It tells us that a lot is accomplished by what kind of prayer? Fervent, heartfelt and effective - persistent prayer of a righteous man. Now in this lesson, you may as well get your Bibles and turn to the book of James again. We're going to be really finishing up the book of James.

There'll be more of a summary in our final lesson together. So I'm just going to read James :13 through the end of the chapter and then we're going to go back and break it down in our study program. Question #13 - James 5:13, "is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing songs. 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, and 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. Confess 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. Elijah 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. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins." You know, that's a beautiful way to - to end a book - 'cover a multitude of sins.' Isn't that what Jesus did? So we're going to go back now. We're going to kind of break this down and be looking, in the study, dealing specifically with the different portions that are broken down for us in the lesson. Alright, so we'll start looking under that section there that says, 'the essential Christian tool kit.' "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing songs." This is a very important verse because it tells you that the Christian life has its ups and downs - that you can be a Christian and you're going to have days when you feel like you're suffering and you'll have times where you're singing. And, you know, you can see both extremes in the lives of most of God's followers.

So don't be discouraged and think, 'oh, I accepted Jesus. I thought that that would solve all my problems and 'the joy of the Lord is my strength,' and it would be the abundant life.' But there are going to be cloudy days. Jesus said, 'your heavenly father sends sunshine and rain on the just and the unjust. A few years ago I wrote that book on mary magdalene and it traces seven times where she's at Jesus' feet. And it starts in sorrow and repentance there in the temple and it ends with singing and rejoicing, proclaiming the risen Lord.

And you've got the whole spectrum in the Christian life. So James recognizes that. And then he tells us to make sure and pray for each other. Suffering is something Christians experience. I think it's unfair when a person comes to the Lord and we leave them with the impression all you need to do is accept Jesus and all your suffering will go away.

Well, ultimately it does, but in this life there's suffering. Romans 12:15, "rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." It's like what James just said, suffering, pray; happy, sing. Paul says, 'rejoice with those who are rejoicing, weep with them who weep.' You know what that means? We need to be empathetic. The word in the Bible is 'pathos.' It's where we get the word 'sympathy' - it means 'to feel for somebody else.' And part of being a Christian is feeling what others feel. Isn't that why Jesus came, because he felt our pain? Unlike the politicians that promise they do.

Acts 9:16, God said to Paul, "I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name's sake." He's actually speaking to ananias, telling him that Paul is going to suffer. So even though he came to the Lord - he said, 'you're still going to suffer.' Did Jesus tell Peter how he was going to die? And how was that? He said, 'you'll stretch forth your hands.' So the Lord tells us that there may be suffering in the Christian life. Okay, go ahead David, I think you're going to read a verse for us. Yes, 2 Timothy 3, verse 12, "yes, and all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." Here at this seminar we've been looking in Revelation - and who's the dragon especially wroth with? The woman who does what? Keeps the commandments of God.' Paul says, 'all that desire to live Godly will suffer persecution. The devil will try to make it difficult for anybody who tries to serve God.

The book of job - 'job was a righteous man, feared God, hated evil' - what did the devil do? He accused him before God and job went through a time of testing. And so, anyone who believes, you'll have good days and bad days. You're going to have times of suffering. But don't get discouraged. James says, 'resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.' How do you resist the devil? How did Jesus resist the devil? The Word of God and prayer. Yeah. 'And he will lift you up. So if you're suffering, James says, 'pray.' 2 Timothy 2:9, Paul said, "for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the Word of God is not chained." When are Christians the best witness? When Christians are getting everything they want? You know, when they've got lots of money in the bank? And, you know, these prosperity preachers say that if you're really Godly and you've got enough faith, you can just name it, claim it; blab it, grab it - and you'll have everything that you need - you'll be healthy, wealthy, and wise. And if you don't have those things, they imply, 'well, you just don't have enough faith.

' But the Bible really says the opposite. When are Christians the best witness? When does the light shine more vividly, in the day or at night? And it is through times of trial - this morning, for my just personal Bible reading, I'm reading through Daniel - that's just where it happens to be right now. I read Daniel 3 and shadrach, meshach, and abednego - I know, we've been studying that - it's just where my Bible reading - I'm reading consecutively through the Bible. That's where it lined up. Great story.

I enjoyed reading it again. You know what a tremendous witness they were because they went through the fire? Because they were tested like that, a decree went to the whole civilized world not to say anything against the God of jehovah. But they had to go through some bad experience for that to happen. Christians are often the best witnesses when there are times of trial. And so, God tells us Jesus says, 'you may have times of suffering.

' Now, with that, kind of, introducing the subject of healing and prayer for the sick, we'll read James 5:14 and 15 again. Somebody's got Mark 6:12 and 13 - who would that be? Alright, you'll be next then. James 5:14 and 15, 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. And the prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord will raise him up." And, of course, they're saying this in the masculine, but it will raise him up - raise her up - "and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven." So the word 'sick' here does not mean - do any of you have a headache? It's actually - the word 'sick' means - you notice it says 'raise them up?' This is a person who is going down. They can't come to the church, the elders come to them.

This person has some incapacitating illness. And so, we should all pray for big and little things. God cares about that. And it's okay to say, 'you know, I have a headache, will you pray for me? But the kind of prayer that requires calling the leaders of the church to come together to your home and anoint you with oil, the context of the sickness here is at the point of death. It's - and it doesn't mean you have to be at death's door, but I'm sayings it's - you've been laid out where you cannot come to the church and ask for healing, they've got to come to you.

You're in bad shape. The Bible times - if you got sick, they often didn't have simple medical treatments that could heal you and it could be the end. So they never knew. Part of the reason I say this - I remember I was pastoring a small church one time and a dear, Godly lady, she said, 'Pastor Doug, I wonder if I could have you and some of the other elders come by and pray and anoint me because I'm just, I just can't hear. My hearing seems to be going.

Everything seems faded.' And I said, 'well, we can do that, sister, do you think - first let me ask, is there a connection between your having hearing problems and your being 93 years old? She thought for a moment and she says, 'are you telling me I'm getting old?' And she laughed and said, 'maybe this does not qualify for calling the elders together. It isn't necessary, really, when you're experiencing the natural process of aging, that you call the elders because you'll have them over every other year to pray about the new onset you had no idea that, you know, you're going to get this pain in your back or, 'I just don't know what it is, pastor, I can't seem to remember like I used to, could you come and anoint me?' And so that's not what this is talking about. This is talking about, you know, a serious illness. And we should pray for each other, even the small things, but when you call together the elders to anoint with oil, it's usually a serious deal. Now, go ahead, read for me, please, a very important verse, Mark 6:12 and 13.

"So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them." Now who are these that are going out doing that? These are the apostles. At whose instruction? If you read the previous verses in Mark chapter 6, Jesus is instructing the apostles what to do when they go out and it says they anointed with oil. So I'm so glad that's there. It's not just James coming up with this idea of anointing people who are sick, where did the apostles get it? Jesus told them to do it.

In all the stories of Jesus healing, Jesus anointed people with clay and he spit on the ground and he touched them, he spoke. He did a variety of things when he placed his hands on them and healed them. Where do we ever see Jesus anointing with oil? You don't. But did he tell the apostles to do it? Why? What is Jesus' last name? Christ. What does Christ mean? The anointed.

It means 'the Messiah,' but you know what Messiah means? Messiah is Hebrew for 'anointed.' Christos is Greek for 'anointed.' Jesus is the - anointed with the Holy Spirit. So what does the oil represent? It represents the Holy Spirit. And we've got some verses on that: Exodus chapter 30, verse , God told aaron, "and you shall make from these a holy anointing oil, an ointment compounded according to the art of the perfumer. It shall be a holy anointing oil." This was an oil in the sanctuary that they would anoint the furniture and sacrifices and - Exodus 30:30, "and thou shalt anoint aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office." So what was the purpose of taking this holy oil and putting it on aaron - aaron who is the high priest? Doesn't that - a symbol for Jesus who was anointed with the Holy Spirit. And when you - there were only a few things that were anointed in the Bible.

Priest - high priest was anointed. There's even a psalm - I forget which one it was - talks about the oil that ran down on the beard of aaron, how precious it is when brethren dwell in unity - what is it, 1 - 133, yeah. Someone'll look that up and you can tell me. The priest was anointed. Who else was anointed in the Bible? Old testament? Kings.

Not just David but several Kings were anointed - that's right - and a sacrifice could be anointed. Is Jesus our priest? Is Jesus our king? Is Jesus our sacrifice? You ever thought about why did mary magdalene anoint Jesus? She anointed him as our king, as our priest, and as our sacrifice. Put it on his feet, poured it on his head - she actually did both, if you read all the accounts - and he was anointed before his sacrifice by this woman who worshiped at his feet. She's like a type of the church. And so, that anointing is a symbol for the Holy Spirit.

Ultimately, what is it that heals? God the Spirit bringing that life and healing. That's a special function of God the Spirit through - 'in the name of the Lord.' Notice that? It's - what right do we have to have any healing? Anoint them, praying over them, in the name of the Lord. When Peter and John touched the man at the beautiful gate - acts chapter 3 - and he was healed. And the people all came and looked at Peter and said, 'wow, John, what kind of men are these?' He said, 'don't look on us as though we have any kind of special power, it is through the name of Jesus that this man stands whole before you. So they always said it was through the power of the name of Christ.

Now, does that mean that it's a special utterance of the name of Jesus, where you pronounce it just right and then there's healing? Or is it saying that because of the person of Christ that name represents, he purchased, with his sacrifice, the right for us to be forgiven and healed. Because what we deserve is death. So why do we get that new life and healing? It's through the name of the Lord. It's through credit because of the merits of Christ. Let me give you another one.

Isaiah 61:1, here the prophet says, 'the Spirit of God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor.' And he goes on and he shares a number of other aspects to that. And then you can read in acts :38, talking still about Jesus being the anointed. "How God anointed Jesus of nazareth with the holy ghost" - there you have it - "with the holy ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him." Now, Jesus is the Christ - he's the anointed. But he said, 'as The Father sent me, so send I you.' When God put his spirit on Saul, did the holy - when he was anointed king - did the Holy Spirit come upon him? When God put his spirit on David - holy sprit come upon him? When Elisha prayed for a double portion of Elijah's spirit, was he anointed with the holy spirit? Then, can we go, as Christ went, anointed with the Spirit? Should we pray for that same anointing with the Spirit? And - that we might go out and heal and to do those things. Now, it also says that you pray for them and he goes on to say, 'if there's sin, your sins will be forgiven.

' We're going to talk more about healing for the soul in the next section. But I just want to read a quote to you from the book 'ministry of healing' - this is in your lesson - page 228, "to those who desire prayer for their restoration to health, it should be made plain that the violation of God's law, either natural or spiritual, is sin, and that in order for them to receive his blessing, sin must be confessed and forsaken. Example: someone calls you up and says, 'pastor, can you please come over, have a prayer and anointing service for my brother, he struggles with alcoholism and the doctors tell him that his liver is failing. Pray to heal his liver.' Well, you know what I would say during that service, if we went? I'd say, 'brother, are you prepared to say, by God's grace, you will never drink again? You want us to heal your liver that is, you know, all ransacked by alcohol. There should be a willingness to humble yourself to the Lord, turn to the Lord, ask for victory, and then we'll pray for your healing.

But if you're just wanting to feel better so you can enjoy sin more, is that the purpose of asking for - many times, not always, but many times when people are sick, it's connected with their sin. How often did Jesus heal a person, he said, 'go and sin no more lest a worse thing come upon you?' And so, part of a good pastoral visit when you do an anointing service, I know Pastor Ross does this, I share this, I say, 'are you right with the Lord? Are you willing to make a complete surrender? We're getting ready to ask for a virtual miracle right now. Are you prepared in your heart to receive that by being fully submitted to God?' And so a person ought to have a humble heart and be really surrendered to God before you're praying for - when you're praying for anointing, you're really asking for a miraculous healing. And I've seen it so many times, where the Lord has done that. I've just seen some incredible miracles.

We had one sister that I went to visit her in the hospital - she was hooked up to life support, the doctors said that there was no brain activity, she had had, evidently, a massive stroke, was found at home, breathing machines, family was there already discussing funeral, estate planning, they asked if I could pray, and so I prayed. And in my prayer - I'm doing this more for the family, really, because I - this is an older sister and I figured this was her final illness. And I prayed, you know, just I don't know why I felt impressed to pray, and I said, 'Lord, now I don't want to put it past you, you could still heal this sister.' And even as I prayed it, to be honest, I thought it was just sort of a zinger, you know, just may as well throw that in and try and encourage the family, 'there's still hope.' The Bible says a living dog is better than a dead lion. Where's there's life, there's hope. She's still alive, who knows? And so I prayed that prayer and then kissed her good-bye and said good-bye to the family and they called a little while later.

They said, 'pastor, have you heard what happened? I said, 'no.' They said, 'mom sat up. They took out her respirator. She's talking. She said she's hungry.' She's still going to our church now in Sacramento. She's at the door greeting.

I mean, I had just totally written her off and it was a miracle. But what it because of me? It wasn't my faith. Maybe the families had faith or, you know, sometimes the Lord answers prayer for the individual in spite of our lack of faith, but God does perform miracles. Alright, 'healing for the soul.' Psalm 103, verses 2 and 3, and someone is going to read - whoever's next is going to read James 5:15 - that'll be in a moment or two. Psalm 103:2 and 3, "bless the Lord, o my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases," - how many diseases? How many iniquities? I left a word out.

All - forgives all your iniquities - heals all your diseases. What came first, healing or forgiving, in this verse? First we need the forgiveness. Now, some of you remember the story in - it's in Mark chapter 2, it's in, I think, Luke. There's this paralytic man who's brought to Jesus - carried by four friends - by the time they get to the house - probably Simon Peter's house there in capernaum - there's just swarms of people all around the house. You can't get near a window or a door because folks are just pressed shoulder to shoulder and - but they carry this friend a long way because, more than anything, he wants to hear Jesus say he'll be forgiven.

He's paralyzed, he's sick because of his lifestyle, and they won't give up. They're hoping he'll be healed. They find a way out back and they climb up on the roof. There's a wall with no windows and no one's there, but there's a ladder and they go up on the roof and those houses in the middle east there, they often had an opening in the middle so when they cooked in the summer it created convection - air came in the windows, smoke went out the top. And so they didn't take an ax, like firemen, and bust up the guy's roof, they just moved some natural tiles out of the way and they lowered this man down right in the middle where Jesus was preaching and teaching.

And probably the scribes and everyone thought, 'what a rude disturbance. But these friends were desperate to get their friend into Jesus' presence. And it says in that story, when Christ saw their faith - now it's not just the faith of the man who's healed, but it's the faith of the friends who bring him to Jesus. So when James says, speaking about healing, the prayer of faith, who's faith? The faith of the sick? The faith of the elders? Or maybe all? Why did Jesus, when he raised up jarius' daughter, put everyone else out except Peter, James, John and the family? Because they were unbelieving. They were laughing and saying, 'oh, the girl's dead.

And so, sometimes, if you have people that are bringing unbelief into the room, it's not coming from God. You might need to say, 'well, you know, you might not want to - we'll come to you later.' And have people who believe that God can answer that prayer. So these four friends, Jesus said when he saw their faith, he said to the man sick with palsy, 'son, your sins are forgiven.' And that's what really bothered the scribes. They said, 'who is this man that speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sin but God alone?' Now, what did the man want more than anything. And, by the way, that's Mark 2, verses 10 and 11, "'but that you may know that The Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins' - he said to the paralytic, 'I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.

'" And you read in the book 'desire of ages' page 267, "it was not physical restoration he desired so much as a relief from the burden of sin. If he could see Jesus and receive the assurance of forgiveness and peace with heaven, he'd be content to live and die according to God's will." Now, I don't know about you, but if I was suffering like that and I had to choose, which would you rather hear Jesus say, 'get up and walk to sin another day,' or your sins are forgiven and you have eternal life.' I mean, more than anything we want to know that, especially if we're sick, 'am I ready?' And just knowing - if you know you've got eternal life, if you know you're forgiven and you're ready, you can take just about anything if you know it's not going to last - and then you've got eternal life. But all physical healing, while we're talking about prayer for healing, keep in mind, all physical healing is, at best, temporary - until you get sick again. Jesus raised Lazarus, who was a sick as you can get - can't get any sicker than dead, can you? If you can, you let me know about that. I guess the second death is the worst sickness.

But Lazarus was raised up for how long? We don't know - until he got old and sick again. Maybe he died as a martyr, we don't know, but all of the people that Jesus ever healed are dead now. So healing, physical healing, is temporary. The healing that really matters is the one that lasts forever. And so when we gather together to pray for those that are sick and anoint them with oil, we should make sure we keep that a priority - that we make sure their hearts are right with God.

I have - we did an anointing service for a man that had terminal cancer and he told me a few weeks later, he says, 'God just healed me. I went back, they tested me, and the tumors are gone.' He had bone cancer and he was in a lot of pain. Because I - that's what my mom died from. I thought there was really no hope. But we prayed for brother legg - was his name.

And he lived - he was already in his sixties at that point, be he lived, like twelve, fifteen years beyond that, with great strength and health. And God does perform these miracles of healing. So I've seen it. Just on a practical note. Some who are watching may be elders - I'm sure most pastors are aware of this - how do you anoint a person with oil? You know, if you watch the way it's done sometimes on some of the charismatic hootenannies that they have on television, you might get the wrong idea.

But typically, the oil is a symbol for the Holy Spirit. And typically, what I do. And most pastors I know, is you get a small vial, you - it's nice to have something attractive. I actually took an old cologne bottle and cleaned it out real good at one time because it just looked nice. And I put the oil in there and it still had a lingering nice smell to it too.

But you put the oil in there. You want to keep it cool because I once left a bottle in my church - you know, you don't do anointings every day and I went to use it one time and it had gotten rancid. So make sure you keep it fresh. Before you go do an anointing, check your bottle of oil. Don't come to them with a big old thing you bought from the Market and dump it on people.

Since it's a symbol - and sometimes people are dressed - they're at church, they're praying for an anointing, you just take a little bit and you put it on your finger - have a kleenex or something available afterwards so when you're done praying, if there's any dripping, they can wipe it off. They don't have to wear it the rest of their life, right? It's a symbol. Do we all agree? Yeah, and so I'm just being practical because I've seen it done the wrong way and I think sometimes we need to know that. You take a couple of fingers - isn't that right, Pastor Ross? You just put it on their forehead - they may not want it in their hair - and you just put it on their forehead. You pray, and usually during the prayer, while the elders are kneeled, you place your hands on the person, they might be in a bed, they might be kneeling with you, and then during the prayer the elder lead announces, 'now as we anoint with oil,' and at that moment he takes his two fingers with the bottle - you put it on their forehead and - it's not running down, it's just a little bit, and you complete your prayer and it's a symbol and it meets that criteria.

And then you hug each other and you pray that God'll bless - the healing will happen instantly. It may happen over time. It may be a healing process that begins. We'll get to that in just a minute. Alright, still moving down here.

Hebrews, speaking about Hebrews :12 - talking about healing for the soul - "therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed." God wants us to be healed. You can read in 1 Peter 2, verse , "who himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls." During an anointing service it's a good idea for the elders to take turns praying - before you pray, read some of the promises of God that are going to be calculated to encourage faith in the person. Talk about repentance from sin - make sure they understand that - talk about the promises that God says he will heal - because you notice how often it emphasizes the prayer of faith? So there are things you can actually say and in your prayer to encourage and inspire faith. You remember when a man came to Jesus - well, actually brought his son who was possessed by the devil that threw the boy in the fire and the water - two opposite extremes - to kill him, and he had a convulsion there and the disciples couldn't heal him and Jesus healed him.

But The Father came to Christ, he said, 'Lord, if you can do anything.' And Jesus said, 'if you believe, all things are possible.' And so Jesus often had to say something to encourage faith in a person who was about to experience a healing. When jarius got word that his daughter had died, someone said to jarius, 'don't trouble the master anymore, your daughter is dead.' Jesus saw that his faith was sinking and he said, 'don't stop believing. Let's go to your house, but only believe.' And so you need to maybe encourage the people - believe the promises of God. And faith - it's everything to Jesus, amen? Alright, now someone's going to read for me James 5:15 that deals with that. "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick and the Lord shall raise him up.

And if he hath committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." Amen. Now that's one encouraging thing, if a person does receive an anointing service, and they're healed, you can almost be sure that they're also forgiven, because it's connecting the two that I'm going to forgive you and I'm going to heal you. But you notice what kind of prayer? The prayer of what? The prayer of faith will save the sick. Let me just give you some of the other verses in the Bible that help illustrate how important this is to God. James 1:6 through 8, "but let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.

For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord." - Wow, that's not only saying ask in faith, nothing wavering, if you don't ask in faith, don't think you're going to receive anything from the Lord. In other words, have faith you're not getting anything. If you don't pray with faith. - "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

" And then you can read where John says - 1 John 5:14 - "and this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us." A couple more verses on that theme about the importance of faith: Jesus said - Matthew 21, verse 22 - "and whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." Wow, that's almost like a blank check from Jesus. Are there some criteria for that? 'If you ask anything believing" - well, of course, James just said 'according to his will.' It needs to be in harmony with his will, but boy, is there an example in the Bible of anybody Jesus ever attempted to heal that was not healed? The closest you're going to get is a man that Jesus went to heal him of his blindness, and when he opened his eyes he still saw things - he saw men as trees walking - that means they were blurry - and then he went through a second stage of the healing and then he saw all things clearly. But everybody that Jesus ever attempted to heal was healed. Why? Christ always had faith. He never failed.

You know, if you read in the old testament, Elisha, who was a type of Christ, can you name anybody in the Bible that ever came to Elisha for healing that was turned away or that didn't get a miracle? Everybody who ever brought a problem to Elisha, he performed a miracle for. At least all that are recorded. Matter of fact, it seems like he did twice as many as Elijah, which makes sense because he had a double portion of Elijah's spirit. Let me read another one, John , verse 7, "if you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." That's red letter - these are the words of Jesus. So criteria also is praying in faith, praying according to his will, and abiding in Christ, right? Alright, now what do you do though - well, let me read one more.

There's a lot of verses on faith I could read you, you know that. Mark 9:22 - Jesus said, "...all things are possible to him who believes." Alright, what happens when God says 'no' - or it appears that God is saying 'no' to a prayer for healing? You've probably heard about anointing services where maybe it wasn't followed by a dramatic miracle or a healing and the person still got sick and died. So what do you do? How do you process that? Does that mean we don't have enough faith? Is there an example in the Bible of somebody filled with the holy spirit, working for God, that got sick, that wasn't healed? Who went to heaven in a fiery chariot? Elijah. Who had a double portion of God's Spirit? Elisha. How did he die? A lingering sickness.

He got sick and he got old and he died. Matter of fact, the King of Israel came to see him when he was dying and said, 'oh my father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen thereof.' And Elisha worked a miracle and made a prophecy right there on his deathbed. And Elisha was so full of the spirit of God, that even after he died and he was buried, that it tells us that some other men, some months later, came to the same cemetery to bury another man, and right about then the moabite raiders came through the land and they had to run for their lives. And they said, 'but we've got this body, what are we going to do?' And they said, 'well, let's just drop it into the tomb of Elisha.' And when they dropped this man's body and his body touched the bones of Elisha, he came back to life. Elisha even performed miracles - after he died from sickness he healed somebody.

So he had - but God let him die. What about Paul? Corinthians 12:9 - I'm sorry, second Corinthians 12:7 through - Paul said, "and lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the Revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure." - He uses that term twice, 'exalted above measure.' Now what does that mean? Paul was caught up to the third heaven. He saw things and heard things that people don't hear. He actually saw Jesus in his glorified state appear to him. Paul had an abundance of Revelations.

About half of the new testament is written by Paul. You ever think about that? I mean, this man had the holy spirit without measure and he said, 'lest I be exalted above measure.' God said, 'in order for me to keep you where I can use you, you're going to have a physical problem to keep you humble.' Some of you know the story about Ellen white. When she was called to the prophetic office she was very frightened. She said that, you know, 'I've seen things that are wonderful and I'm afraid of pride.' God says, when you're at risk of that, I'll afflict you so that it keeps you humble. And several times in her life she was - went through some spells of just terrible pain and struggle and suffering and even recovered from a stroke at one point.

And she knew that these were things that God was using to just keep her on track. Sometimes God doesn't heal us from afflictions because we might need it and Paul said - let me go on - he had this thorn - he doesn't tell exactly what it was - "in the flesh, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord" - that's as strong as it gets. He's pleasing with the Lord - "three times that it might depart from me. And he said to me, 'my grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Therefore'" - Paul said - "'most gladly I will rather boast in infirmities,'" - that the power of Christ will rest upon me. If that's what it takes for God to work through me - for me to have this malady, then praise the Lord. You know, as you read - and those of you who are afcoe students, this is probably a practical point to remember: when you read the personal lives of many of the great preachers and evangelists, you'll find that almost without exception, they were all afflicted in some way. Did you know that george whitfield was so frightened before he preached that he said he would vomit every time. Boy, that'd be tough if that happened to me.

But he was just so - and it wasn't that he was so much afraid, because he was an actor before he was a preacher - he was - a tremendous voice - he was called 'the trumpet of the Lord - great voice. But when he thought about the burden of souls - when he thought about 'what if I don't say the right thing? Lord, I'm afraid I'm going to not be able to reach these people - that the stress of preaching the Gospel - that he was called to do - just overwhelmed him. It made him nauseous virtually every time he preached. And you could go down through the lists of the different preachers and they all had a variety of struggles and God sometimes needed to do that to keep them where he could use them. So sometimes God doesn't heal because his strength is made perfect in weakness.

Alright, some models of prayer that we've got here. And someone's going to read for me now, James 5:17 through 18 - who has that verse? Okay, you'll be next - right after this Scripture. In 1 Samuel - here's someone who's a great model of prayer - 1 Samuel 1:10 and 11, "and she" - who's that talking about? Hannah - "was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, 'o Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your maidservant and remember me, and not forget your maidservant, but will give your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head." God worked a miracle for her, but she pled with the Lord. She was praying so hard and so fervently - it talked about a fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man or a woman - she was rocking back and forth, swaying - just overwhelmed with the agony of her petition so that - what did eli, the high priest, think? He thought she was drunk.

So you see someone who's come before the Lord in the place of prayer in the courtyard and they're just rocking back and forth with intensity and he thought, 'wow!' Can you think of another time in the Bible when someone spirit-filled was thought to be drunk? Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came on them. Now, I'm not suggesting you all stagger out of here, I'm just saying that, you know, the holy spirit sometimes - when you're just filled with the Spirit - you're just pouring out your soul. Alright, go ahead, read for us James 5:17 and 18. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

" Alright, so there are a number of models of prayer. James is taking one that every jew knew - it says elias in the Greek - it's Elijah who prayed. And this tells us something. He prayed that it might not rain. Why did he pray that it wouldn't rain? We just think about praying for blessings.

He - the people were estranged from God. They were worshiping baal and he thought, look, if the only way to bring them back to God is to give them a drought, then send a drought. We're having a pretty serious drought in California right now. It's several years into it and I'm wondering if the Lord's not trying to get our attention and bring us back to him. But you know what I really love about this verse? It says, 'he was a man with a like nature as ours.

' We always think about these Bible prophets and these apostles and we think that they are just head and shoulders spiritually above everybody else but they struggled with the same passions and that means that if a normal person can become an Elijah through prayer, then all of us can. That's what James is saying. He's pointing to these people that are these giants of faith in the Bible and he's saying they were just like us, but through the Spirit of God and through faith, they became giants in Bible history. Who were some other great examples? I'll just let you call out and I'll repeat after you so that people listening can hear. Who were some other great examples of prayer in the Bible? Who'd I hear? Nehemiah.

Oh yeah, he prayed that the enemies might be held back - that the walls might be completed - and they were. God held back the army. I heard David - David, another great prayer. Can you think of some specific prayers that David prayed that were answered? Well, the Psalms were filled with - the Psalms, that's right - are filled with prayers. I remember when David was fleeing from his son, absalom, and the wisest man in the kingdom was called ahithophel, and David prayed and he said, 'Lord, I pray you will confound the wisdom of ahithophel.

' And God did - and the counsel of hushai, the archite, preceded it and it brought the Kingdom back again. There were many prayers. Now who - what's another name I heard? Daniel, yeah, one of the most beautiful prayers you're going to find in the Bible is in Daniel chapter 9. Daniel prays and an angel comes - and that was the prayer that really was like the threshold of things changing where darius ended up - I'm sorry, cyrus ended up giving the children of Israel a passport back to the promised land. I heard another one.

What - one at a time, now - Esther, yeah, she was praying. They didn't - do you know the word 'prayer' is not mentioned in the book of Esther? It says that they fasted for three days. Do you know the word 'God' is not mentioned in Esther? Did you know that? Do you know why? They wrote it while they were in persia where they worshiped other Gods, so they wrote the book sort of in a code where every jew knew, when she said 'don't eat or drink for three days' they're talking about what? Praying when they were fasting. And so she fasted and prayed, but she didn't use the word 'prayer' and they didn't use the word 'God.' But we all know what they were praying about and who they were praying to. One or two more, I heard some other names.

Elisha - Elisha - oh, his prayers. Yeah, well he prayed for a double portion of Elijah's spirit. Yeah, absolutely. And did I see another hand? Jephtha - yeah, he prayed for a victory in battle and he got it. Of course, he made a vow that we all are troubled by, regarding his daughter.

Yeah, Moses' prayers. Which one? The prayer of jabez, yeah, hezekiah - hezekiah prayed and - you know what I think was the most important prayer? Not that the sun would go backwards, because that was the prayer of, really, Isaiah. Hezekiah, he just said, 'oh yeah, backwards would be better than forward.' But when hezekiah prayed, the whole assyrian army had surrounded the Kingdom and they said, 'your God can't deliver you.' He took the letter and the threats from the King of assyria and he brought them into the temple, laid it before the Lord - that's one way of praying - say, 'Lord, here's what they're saying. Can you read this?' And he prayed. You know what happened that night? ,000 Of the assyrian generals died in their sleep and the army was turned back to - to retreat.

Lot of great stories of heroes of prayer and faith in the Bible. And then Judges - 'and sampson called to the Lord and said, 'oh Lord, remember me I pray, and strengthen me I pray, only this once, God, that I might be at once avenged of the philistines for my two eyes.' And he wasn't just praying for his physical eyes there, he realized he had had problems with the philistines. He had taken his eyes off God. And God had a plan for sampson's life and he kept - got in trouble looking at the philistine girls. And in almost every case, that's what it was.

And did God answer his prayer? Was he filled with the Spirit? And sampson is a type of Christ. He killed more by his death - of the enemy - than he did in his life. That's like Jesus: through his death he did more to defeat the devil than he did in his life. Sampson stretched out his arms - Jesus stretched out his arms. Alright, talking about restoration and forgiveness.

This is the last section. And someone's going to be reading for me in a moment, Galatians 6:1 - who has that? You'll be ready? Okay. And now we're reading the last verses in James - James 5:19 to , "brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins." That's very important. I remember in New York city one time, it was rush hour - we were actually doing the net 99 program - and all the people kind of gathered at the lights, you know, there's little streets every, you know, sixteenth of a mile on a city block, and you stop and you wait for the cars and there was this kid there - I don't know what he was doing. He was reading something, he was ahead of me - I didn't know him, he was a stranger, and he just was walking right out into the street.

I didn't know that he knew the light had changed and a taxi was careening down the street and I grabbed him and I pulled him back in as the thing honked it went by and you should have seen the stunned look - and I felt like 'I just saved his life.' He was going to walk right in front of the thing. He wasn't paying attention. And who wouldn't do that? I'm not a hero, I mean, everyone would do that, right? If you saw it happening. Would you ask permission first? Would you ask the parents' permission first or would you immediately do something because it's a life and death decision. Why don't we feel that way when we see people wandering from the faith? You notice it uses the word 'wander?' Wandering is not like jumping out.

Wandering is kind of like backsliding. Sliding is something that's kind of gradual. You can be sliding and not even know it, right? It's not called back jumping or hopping or skipping, it's backsliding. It happens slowly. Sheep wander.

You know how a sheep gets lost? They're just nibbling grass. They only see the next tuft of grass ahead of them. They say, 'oh, that looks like a good one. I'm going to nibble that one. Ooh, there's another one over there.

I'm going to nibble that one.' Sheep do not stand up on their back legs and say, 'I'm going to make a run for it.' Sheep nibble their way into being lost. And all of a sudden, after nibbling for a few hours, they look up and say, 'where are the other sheep? Where's the shepherd? How'd I get here?' They do it by just one little tuft of grass after the other. And people do that in the church. They start watching the wrong things, they miss a week, they start listening to the wrong things. They start hanging out with the wrong friends.

They start losing interest - and it's usually a wandering. You notice it says, 'a wandering from the truth?' Sometimes they get other ideas or they're reading the wrong material and they start losing an appreciation for the biblical truth and they're wandering. James says they're dying. They're going to walk off a cliff and we need to recognize - it's very important - sometimes, in evangelism, we're really interested in catching new fish, but we don't care very much about the ones that are caught and they wander out the back door and we say, 'oh, as long as we got them baptized we'll leave their names on the books. It still looks good.

You know, we got the number.' And we don't care about the soul. Should we care any less about bringing back a soul that is wandering than one that is caught fresh? No, matter of fact, in some ways it should be easier. They already know, they're just losing faith. And so, we should be just as interested in evangelizing backsliders - we did a series with Amazing Facts back at the general conference a couple of years ago called 'reclaim your faith' and the whole thing was focused on trying to get people that once knew the Lord to come back again because that's just another whole field - bring them to revival. Alright, go ahead, read for us then, that next verse in Galatians 6:1, I think.

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the Spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." You know, that's very important. If you're going to approach a person that you sense is backsliding - whether you're a pastor, elder, or church member it doesn't matter - and you go visit them, for one thing, we're reluctant to do that because the most common accusation you hear when you talk to a person about 'how are you doing with the Lord?' It's 'are you judging me? What makes you think I'm not doing well?' And so a person misses a couple weeks you call them up and say, 'we noticed you weren't here.' 'Oh, you're watching me, huh? Spying on me?' So some - we're afraid that people are going to be offended. But we ought to be watching for people. Doesn't the Bible tell us that if a shepherd comes home - he's got a hundred sheep and one is missing he goes looking for it? How does he know that one is missing? Because he counts them. It's okay to count your sheep.

How are you going to know your flock's growing if you don't ever count your sheep? And so, you've got to keep an eye on them. And so, if you notice, a good pastor and elders and leaders in the church, we ought to spot when people - 'hey, where have they been?' Make a call. You don't always have to call the pastor or the elders and have them do it. Say, 'oh, brother/sister are you okay?' And there's nice ways of asking. Say, 'I didn't see you there today.

' Or 'can I come by and visit?' And go to their home. You know, sometimes you don't really know how a soul is doing until you get to their home. You can learn a lot. And I'll tell you a little trick - a little inside secret - if you're a pastor and you're visiting with people - whether or not you're a pastor doesn't matter - ask before you leave, say, 'is there anything special you want me to pray about before I leave?' You can find out in that one question what's really going on in their life. They'll tell you things and you say, 'wow.

' If they say, 'yeah, can you pray for our marriage?' 'Your marriage? I had no idea there were real problems there.' And just that one thing, all of a sudden - or they might say, 'you know, I got a lab report and the doctor says I have cancer. Can you please pray about that? 'Oh, no wonder there's been a problem!' And so, in your praying for them you'll learn all kinds of things. Sometimes you need to plead for their souls and say, 'how's it going between you and the Lord?' And encourage them to come back and give them the admonitions from the Bible. Sometimes - you know what 'to admonish' means? Sometimes that's strong language, but you might need to just tell a person, 'hey, you know, you're heading the wrong way right now. Is this really what you want to do? Are you going to find what you're looking for out in the world? Do you remember what it was like out there with the devil? And you can appeal to a person.

The Bible says when you do that you let - you know he that turns a sinner from the error of his ways, whether it's a new sinner or someone backsliding, it doesn't matter, will save a soul from death. So Christians need to have a passion for reaching souls that are lost and cover a multitude of sins. Do we cover their sins or is it saying and pointing to Jesus a multitude of sins are covered? That's a wonderful thing. By the way, when you bring a person to the Lord who was turning back to a life of sin, you're saving the world from a lot of sins that they would commit when they had given up a holy life. They're going to bring - when they turn from the Lord they're bringing all that sinful living back into the world and when you bring them back to Jesus you're actually making the world a better place to live in because you're covering a multitude of sins by leading them to Christ.

Alright, one or two more thoughts here. You know what the message of John the baptist was? Luke 1:16, "and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God." They're already children of Israel, but they've wandered from God. The message of Elijah, which is a message for our day also, is to turn people back to the Lord. He will go before him in the spirit and the power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the father's to the children and the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just to make a people ready, prepared for the Lord. I think this work of reconciliation - bringing people back into the church and revival and restoring people is something that will be happening more - what James is talking about is something we should be doing - reclaiming lost souls before Jesus comes back.

That's part of the Elijah message, right? When pentecost happened and the former rain was poured out, Peter preached - who was he preaching to? The church. And they said, 'what should we do?' And what did he say? "Repent and be converted that your sins might be blotted out" - this is acts 3:19 - "that the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord that the Holy Spirit might be poured out again." And there's a message that needs to go to the church - one of revival, one of restoration, of returning to the truth. Notice what James says, 'if you know someone who's wandered from the truth' - does that happen in the church? Do individuals backslide? Do entire churches sometimes backslide and wander from the truth? Well, I think we're out of time for today's study, friends. We're glad that you were able to join us here. We're in albuquerque, New Mexico one time, finishing up our 'landmarks of prophecy' series and we have a free offer.

You'll see on your screen it's called 'teach us to pray' and if you call that 866-study-more number, make sure and ask for the offer number that you see on the screen there. We'll send that to you for free. I hope you read it, share it with your friends, and God willing, we'll study His Word together again next week. We'll be in a different location. God bless you.

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