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(un)Answered Prayer

Mac McCarthy

Sep 12, 2021

Bottom Line

God invites us to receive healing when we pray together in faith

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Message Notes

For far too long James has been regarded as an epistle of straw by those who have a strawman view of discipleship.
— Dallas Willard

Bottom Line
God invites us to receive healing when we pray together in faith.

James 5:13-18
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 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. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

James is NOT giving us a magic prayer formula.

At some point our prayers for physical healing will fail us.

James isn’t addressing all the variables that influence prayer.

The faith of the person praying matters

Matthew 21:21-22
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Luke 17:6
He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

The faith of the person being prayed for matters.

Mark 6:4-5
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.

Spiritual warfare matters.

Daniel 10:12-13
Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me…

The amount of resistance matters.

Matthew 18:19
Truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

Other variables that can influence prayer:

  • Faith
  • Spiritual warfare
  • Persistence 
  • Motivation 
  • Sin
  • God’s will 

Action Steps

  • How is God inviting you to go deeper into prayer?  
  • Do you want to come forward to receive prayer?