James – Jan 30

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“Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.” James 5:16-18   This is a hard Scripture. Is it saying that we’ll get whatever we pray for? It seems to say that, doesn’t it? But we all have examples of praying for something specific, and then things turn out a different way. That’s been the cause for many people to doubt God’s very existence, or at the very least to doubt the importance of prayer. But notice that it says, “The prayer of the RIGHTEOUS…” In my mind, being righteous is to look exactly like Christ. He is the only truly righteous person who has ever taken steps on this planet. So long as my heart, mind, and soul don’t perfectly mirror Christ, then it’s hard to imagine my prayers perfectly mirroring his prayers either. The more Christ-like we become, the closer our heart comes to Christ’s heart. The closer our minds come to his mind. The closer our souls come to his. AND the closer our prayers come to mirroring his. Our motives change. Our focus changes. Someone who is truly Christ-like will pray for different things -- and in a different way -- than someone who is treating God like a cosmic Santa Claus, with prayer being the gift list. One way to become more like Christ? Practice! Confess to one another that you fail. Shed light on the dark places in your soul. Invite others to help you become more like him. Rev. Brad Greene