James was the brother of Jesus and followed Him and learned many things from his older brother before Jesus returned to Heaven. He then became the pastor in the first church in Jerusalem. I think we should remember that he probably was a lot like your pastor. He had many people that were from different walks of life and heard many things about praying. They probably asked many questions and he had to give good, thorough answers to them about prayer. Let's look at six things he says about prayer.
1. Prayer is work
James 5:16-17 says, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain." Notice three words in these two verses: Effectual, fervent, and earnestly. This does not sound like something that is easy. How many times have you talked to God and poured out your heart to Him about a problem in your life and thought to yourself, "Wow, that must have been like 45 minutes I spent in prayer to God" only to realize it was 5 minutes. Prayer takes WORK to do. Prayer must have a scheduled time, just like you have a time that you work at your job or at home on things. Haphazard prayer is usually not prayer. Prayer should also be organized. Could you imagine going to a presentation about something important and the person getting up and not have his notes, charts, or power point organized? You would think he didn't take it seriously or he doesn't care. Is that how you treat prayer? It should also be consistent or a habit to do. Shouldn't talking to someone who loves us and who we say that we love, be consistent and habitual? Could you imagine how your marriage would be if you talked to your wife as often as we talk to God and also how we talk to God?
2. Prayer is a network
James 5:13-14 says, "Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? 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." Notice two words: Elders and any. We should use others to help us in our prayer for our needs. We should pray for them ourselves, and then get others on our team to help us. This also will encourage others to continue praying when they hear that God has answered our prayer.
3. Prayer is powerful
James 5:17-18 says, "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." Notice that Elias (Elijah) prayed that it would not rain and it didn't and then it returned when he prayed again. We hear this and think that Elijah was special to God and we are not. But notice that he was a man subject to like passions as we are. This means he was just like you and me, and God answered his prayer. Why do we not use the most powerful person (God) with the most powerful tool (prayer) and ask Him for things?