Curriculum

Dive Deeper

Advice from a Great Pastor (Part 2)

Rhordan Wicks

INTRODUCTION

One of the pillars of the early church, James led the church in Jerusalem for many years until he was tragically murdered. He was also known as a peacemaker who led with wisdom and courage. The book of James was written to the Jews dispersed around the Mediterranean and they were living in troubled times. 

In part two of this sermon series, we focus on James 5:13-18. Let us pay attention to the words of this great pastor. What is our role in this global COVID-19 pandemic? 

There are many things we can and should do, but we cannot miss the one thing we must do. The part we play is to pray. This is the second piece of advice from James to act on during difficult times.

DISCUSSION

  1. How much attention have you been giving to the COVID-19 news? How often have you been going to God in prayer in this moment? What have you been praying for, and why?

  2. Read James 5:13-18.

    a. What is one thing that makes prayer difficult for you? (e.g. having different priorities; too many commitments; easily distracted) What practical advice can you give each other to overcome such difficulties?


    b. James uses Elijah as his model of a righteous person of prayer. Read the story of Elijah and the drought in 1 Kings 17:1; 18:1-18, 41-46 and write down your insights.


    The qualification for prayer is a righteous life. What does it mean to be a righteous person? Although Elijah had taken on almost legendary status among the Jews in James’ day, he had his flaws. After he had demonstrated God’s power in front of worshippers of Baal (1 Kings 18:20-40), he fled out of fear of his own life and was depressed (1 Kings 19:1-4). James’ point is that if God would answer Elijah, “a man with a nature like ours” (James 5:17), he would answer us too.

    How would you advise a Christian who said that he/she didn’t feel worthy to pray?

    c. James 5:16 says, “
    So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness.”

If we are aware of unconfessed sin in our hearts, we will not feel confident in drawing near to the holy God. The psalmist says, “If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” (Psalm 66:18 NASB)

Examine your heart. Talk to God about areas of your life of which you need to repent. Confess them and turn from them so that you do not risk the loving hand of discipline from your heavenly Father. Write down your response to Him in prayer. 

If there is a sin that you should confess to your LifeGroup leader/a mature brother or sister in Christ so that he/she can pray for you and to hold you accountable, do it this week.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO

Prayer should be our first response, not our last resort. Prayer reminds us that we are not in control but God is. Prayer puts us in a position of humility. So let’s play our part and pray. 

Would you spend some time in prayer each day, even if only 5 minutes of undistracted time? You can ‘wash and pray” during this season. As you wash your hands each time, pray for 20 seconds. 

  1. Pray for yourself (James 5:13).
  2. Pray over others (James 5:14-15). Take time to seek God on behalf of those under your care.
  3. Pray for one another (James 5:16). Write notes to those who need encouragement and forward to them your notes and prayers.  

MEMORY VERSE

“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 5:16