Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (James 4:8)
THE MAN WHO WROTE THE WORDS ABOVE was the half-brother of Jesus and the leader of the Church in Jerusalem. When James was martyred (A.D.62 or 69) and prepared for burial, it was discovered that his knees were callused like the knees of a camel. Thereafter, he was nicknamed: “Camel Knee James.” I just now inserted “camel knees James” into Google and in .46 seconds (half a second) Google had 3,440,000 results. Why not let this man teach us something about prayer?
OUR TEXT FOR TODAY IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE VERSES of Scripture and I think on it often. Name any Roman emperor and this man is above them. This is one of my morning verses. Sometimes I off-handedly say: “I don’t want to see James when I get to Heaven because he might say: “show me your knees!” Of course, I’m just kidding, but I think I would be very self-conscious in the presence of such a praying man. Few men in the Bible have had the influence on my life as this James. He didn’t call down fire from heaven like Elijah, but he must have prayed as much as Elijah, and maybe more.
IF WE WANT TO KNOW ABOUT PRAYER, just read our text over and over. It’s all wrapped up in a few words. Evangelist Paul Ferguson (1916-1996) built his life and ministry on this verse. I interviewed him for six days and made tapes from which I wrote the highlights of his life. Dr. Lee Roberson read the manuscript and supplied the book title: “Paul Ferguson The Fighter.”
PAUL FERGUSON WAS A MAN OF PRAYER like I have never known or read about, covering the last two hundred years. Unusual things occurred in his meetings. He was the welter-weight boxing champion of the south-eastern United States for eleven years. He quit boxing while in his prime and prayed with the same discipline he used when boxing. He studied all the verses on prayer in the Bible and memorized most of them. I asked him why he prayed so much. He said it took him a long time to get himself out of the way, so God could do His will through him.
THREE DAYS AGO, AUGUST 6, was the anniversary date of my family moving to the Homesteads at Crossville, TN (1946). Their two sons owned the Dodge/Plymouth dealership in Crossville. I was twelve, almost. In two years or so, a retired farm couple moved in across the road from us: the Yorks. We bought milk from them when our cow went dry.
DURING HOSE DAILY MILK VISITS, I discovered that Mrs. York had her mind on the Lord and was a woman of prayer. She told me about her first baby and a great answer to prayer. She needed to go to a neighbor’s house across a field from their house to get something for a recipe. She left her baby asleep and hurried to the neighbor’s house.
ALL AT ONCE A CLOUDBURST CAME DOWN. She had just given birth and could not afford to get wet. She prayed: “Dear Lord, please keep me dry…I must get back to my baby.” She set out in a brisk walk across the field. When she arrived at her house, she looked at her dress and it was…dry! Not a wet thread in her dress. Do I believe that? Oh, yes, I believe that. I believed her then and I believe her now. Much more happened in her life but that will do for now. Don’t be surprised at things that happen to praying people. The Lord began putting me in touch with people who walked with Him…early in my life.
PRAYER IS NOT PERSUADING GOD TO DO SOMETHING He does not want to do. Prayer is taking hold of the things God is willing to do if we will ask Him. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13) James, the praying man, said: “…ye have not, because ye ask not. (James 4:2)
HERE ARE THE MASTER VERSES ON PRAYER THAT COVER THE WHOLE BIBLE: And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. (1John 5:14-15)
REPEATING YESTERDAY: you need 20+ verses to help you think when you’re trying to get started talking to the Lord. How did Moses do it? How did Abraham do it? How did Daniel do it? How did Jesus do it? How did James do it? How did Paul do it? Please hang in there and let’s get some verses installed into our praying that will make a difference in how we pray. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
AUGUST 9, 2018 – THURSDAY
A.M. Psalms 85-87 P.M. Romans 9
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
A Good Verse to Memorize:
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. (Mark 1:35) (Write verse on scrap of paper and put in your pocket to memorize.)
Song for Today:
Just Keep on Praying (3:31) (Don & Kim Case)
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