Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 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 one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, 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 heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. (James 5:13-18 ESV)
I bet you didn’t know that I’m an award winning actor. Well actually the award was from the Missouri district 5 acting competition for high schools… But I got first place, name in the paper and everything. Initially I was afraid to act. I had this weird thought that everyone else at the competition was going to be better. I thought they had all been acting since birth and that as an 11th grader I was late to the game. I really only signed up for the acting class because I thought it would be fun (that was before I realized that you had to memorize your lines). But then my friend Ian and I actually won the duo-acting part of the competition. I went on to star in high school plays, church dramas, and even wrote the script for a church musical before I finally retired from acting.
James says that prayer can be like that. It can be intimidating at first. You can think of all kinds of people who might be better at prayer than you and so you don’t bother, but James reminds us that even the really famous prophet Elijah was human. Elijah had prayed for the rain to stop and it stopped raining for three years! Effective prayer really only requires one thing… a heart submitted to God and ready to be used by him.