Sunday, February 22, 2009

February 22nd - Christian Living

Prayer Requests
Pastor Aaron Fever
Leon Preaching
E-Team - Dream Come True outreach
Superbowl Efforts at Home and in Tampa
Marriage Seminar

Praise Report
Michelle Sloan new job

Text - 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

Before we start, I want to tell you a little about the Superbowl and then clarify some things from about a month ago. We had 110 people with our group, ranging from age 6 to 80, every type of person too. We handed out over 100,000 Gospel tracts, mostly "Superbowl Trivia", but a lot of others too. Many stepped out of their comfort zone to do things they had never done before. Some had never handed out tracts and they did, some had never had a 1-on-1 conversation and they did for the first time, some had never open-air preached, and they did for the first time. It was really neat to see people growing in Christ. Evangelism is the best way to grow in the faith, it's not the only way, but it is the best way. Paul wrote to Philemon, "I pray that in the sharing of your faith you become efficient for every good thing that is in you for the sake of Christ."

I think I preached 35 times, I lost count though, during so I got heckled, had a cigarette thrown at me, and was cursed at by a drunk pastor. I don't think she was saved, actually I'm quite certain of it. I lost my voice on Friday night, and it came back, then again on Saturday, and it came back, then on Sunday, and it came didn't really come back on Monday, but it did sort of come back and I went to KSU with Erin Oakley and preached there, my voice kept squealing, and that actually helped to draw a crowd. I want to share my sermon with you just so you can get an example of how I preach in the Open-Air.

Folks, can I have your attention for just one moment, as you can see by my Diamondbacks shirt, I’m from Phoenix. Somebody told me the D-Backs have a better chance of winning the Superbowl than the Cardinals, pretty rough...but I don’t really care about that, but I do care where you spend eternity.

I’m not out here to judge you, but I do ask you to judge yourself. The Bible says good people go to Heaven, and bad people do not. It is imperative that you make sure you’re a good person, and if you’re not, that you do something about it. Test yourself and find out…If you’ve told one lie, in the same way that murdering one person makes you a murderer, telling one lie makes you a liar. If you’ve ever stolen anything, then God sees you as a Steeler…wait…that’s not right…he sees you as a thief. When you take God’s name in vain, you set your mouth against Heaven, you declare war on the God who made you.

Here is the one that got me, you’ve heard it said of old, thou shalt not commit adultery, but Jesus said, “Whosoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

If you’re honest, you’re just like the rest of us, you’re not a good person, but a bad person, a sinner, and in God’s eyes you are a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart…pretty heavy, huh?! All liars will have their place in the Lake of Fire, all thieves, blasphemers, and adulterers will be excluded from the kingdom of Heaven. I am the chief of sinners, I am the least of saints.

So how do you become a saint? How can you be forgiven? God, with the great love that he has for us, sent his perfect sinless Son to die on a cross bearing your sins so that you might be forgiven. You broke the law, Jesus Christ paid your fine. Now you can go to Heaven when you die, not because you are a good person, but because you are a very bad person forgiven by a very good God who paid your fine on the cross. So Repent towards God, and Trust in Jesus Christ, that his payment on that cross was entirely sufficient to pay your way into Heaven. I implore you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, be reconciled to God! Have a nice day, enjoy the game, go Cardinals!

So, two things I want to correct, apologize for, and use for training in righteousness are from our lesson on purity from January 11th. The main reason I want to go back over this is because I think I might have made it sound a little too easy, I want you to know that purity and fighting against sin is hard, it is not just an easy choice where you say, "I'm just not going to put myself in that situation and therefore won't have to worry about it." Because the situation will find you. I was witnessing 1-on-1 and sort of got separated from my group, I could see my group from where I was, but they were a ways off. I noticed a young-lady standing outside of a bar and looked at her with the intent of witnessing to her, she saw me look at her and she initiated the conversation.

I talked to her for a while about where she worked and other stuff, the reason she had left the club was because someone had touched her inappropriately, which is another reason you shouldn't put yourself in situations like that. After a while of talking to her, I asked her if she went to church anywhere. That's usually a pretty good ice-breaker to switch to spiritual things.

Up to this point she was tipsy, but not drunk, but she must have finished her drink before she left the club, because all of the sudden she wasn't sober anymore, but quite drunk. I was witnessing to her and she said, "I don't want to talk about this anymore," and stepped forward and kissed me, right on the lips.

I pushed her away, and tried to continue the conversation, but she didn't want to, and she decided to leave. I put a tract in her jacket pocket. When she kissed me I instantly remembered that I had said, "I'm not kissing another girl until she's my wife."

Besides that, I also told you I wasn’t dating another girl except with the intent of marrying her. Well I wrecked that too. There is a young lady here at Summit that I’ve been praying about, talking to, hanging out with trying to figure out if it would be worthwhile to go to the next level, well things got a little complicated between us. Fortunately I didn’t kiss her too.

I also want to share something I’m seeing, mostly in the high school, and remember from being your age. Fortunately this slightly gets better as you get older, but you might meet someone and all of the sudden all of the love in the world doesn’t matter to you if it’s not from that person. If this happens, just remember that you are loved by all sorts of people, your parents, your pastors, your friends, and your God; and one person not loving you isn’t the end of the world.

I also wanted to share with you that this sort of thing isn’t easy, you have to make a stand to remain pure, and when you fall out of purity (and beloved, I pray that it doesn’t happen, but it has a good chance of happening) that you don’t just give up, but that you stand back up and continue forward towards holiness, press forward for the glory of Christ, know that for those in Jesus Christ, there is now no condemnation.

I think this is an excellent example to lead into 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12, not that we’re working our way to Heaven, because we can’t do that, but me, as the chief of sinners, and you guys, have been made the least of saints by Christ’s work on the cross. Our response is not to earn our way to Heaven, because where sin increases, grace abounds all the more, our response is to glorify God.

1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

v. 9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you,

So, what’s the difference between brotherly love and other kinds of love? Brotherly love is expressed between Christians, it is sacrificial, not expecting repayment, nor having any end. Say one of you had something you needed to talk to Dave about that was important, and after you talked to him on the phone for an hour he said, “Ok, every student gets 1 hour of talk time a year with me, your hour is up, talk to you next year.” Would that be very loving? No, not at all!

The Thessalonians weren’t doing anything of the sort, Paul commended them for having nothing to be corrected on. The rest of the verse tells why:

v. 9-10 for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia.

Their being taught by God indicates the new heart they received when they were saved. Their old stony heart removed and a new heart of flesh installed. Heart is how the Bible describes the emotions, it is not physically the organ in your chest that pumps blood, your heart change wasn’t accomplished through open-chest surgery, but by a supernatural work of God.

The proof of that heart change isn’t just in word, saying, “You’ve been given a new heart that seeks after God,” but it is proved by what Thessalonica was doing for all of her brothers throughout Macedonia.

At the Superbowl one of the great moments was seeing a lot of my friends from all over the country who our only point of similarity is Jesus Christ. And also another great moment was meeting Christians I’d never met before and the instantaneous bond we had together. This new heart is capable of knowing the truth when love is happening and when it is not.

Now, imagine a blind person walking along, minding their own business, when out of no-where a football player tackles them. Is that very loving? Doesn’t seem like it, does it, you should never just tackle someone.

But wait, now imagine that blind person was one step from walking over a thousand-foot-cliff to their death on jagged rocks below? Now is it loving what the football player did? Yes, much more so, because he saved them from certain death.

James 5:19-20 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

So the Thessalonians were probably being loving in a lot of ways, not just in supplying food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, shelter and clothing to the needy, but also in preaching the Gospel so that more would be saved.

There are a lot of ways to show love, and sometimes these are subtle. Not to boast, but just so you know, these lessons take a long time to prepare, usually about five hours. I get a lot out of preparing them, but I’m not doing it for myself, I’m doing it for you guys, I feel like it’s the best way to demonstrate my love to you. Still, I know that sometimes this doesn’t fulfill whichever need you may have, so if you need something else, what you’ve gotta do is ask. Say you want someone to come to a piano recital, or soccer game, or whatever, I’d love to do that, or maybe you just want to talk, but how am I going to know about these things if you don’t ask. One thing I’m hoping to do, if Dave approves it, is go to a Braves game in the middle of May.

Finally, an excellent way to demonstrate your love for someone, in a way that they may never know, is through prayer. I’d really encourage you to go to your parents and make sure they are praying for you and that you are praying for them. Prayer is such a big subject that I can’t emphasize how important it is.

v. 10 But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more,

Keep doing it, get better at it, don’t stop. Paul goes on to give an example of how to do it more and more.

v. 11 aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands

In aspiring to live quietly Paul means not to gossip, not to cause unneeded problems, to resolve problems without suing one another. Paul was writing from Corinth, which had all sorts of problems between neighbors, both in Christians and non, but the Christian should not be constantly having petty squabbles with other Christians.

Minding your own affairs means to take care of your household and problems before trying to fix other people’s problems. Jesus said, “Judge not, lest you be judged.” Then he goes on to give instructions on how to judge others. He pretty much said, “Work out your own salvation before you worry about others salvation.”

Working with your hands is almost an afterthought it seems like. Paul didn’t give a lot of thought to this one, but it would become a major issue in Thessalonica, they would quit their jobs waiting for Christ’s return, but at this moment it was a non-issue and Paul spent almost no time on it. Paul was a tent-maker by trade, he didn’t have to beg for food, because he had goods to sell, a trade to make money.

v. 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

Here is the purpose, the application, so that you may rightly represent Christ to unbelievers, not having to beg for food or shelter. A church that is always suing, always involved in vain-politics, always being contentious is going to earn a bad reputation for menial things. The world is going to hate the church for being the salt that stings their open-wounds, we don’t want to give them more reasons to hate us or to be offended at anything other than the cross of Christ.

The Application for you is to avoid gossip, seek to live at peace with everyone as much as possible, and to work hard at school and college and/or your apprenticeship so that you are able to support yourself. There is a joy in working with your hands that you won’t receive in working as an engineer or architect, but that doesn’t mean that those jobs aren’t worthwhile for you to do. However, pay attention while on Builders for Christ trips, or help your dad change the oil in the car, learn how to work with your hands. If you learn basic mechanical skills on your car it will save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime doing your own basic maintenance. Know also though that it isn’t terrible to go to an expert. I had a minor plumbing issue in my house that I started to work on, which proved to be a major plumbing issue, but my pride got in the way and I continued to do it all on my own. I got it done, and done right, but the time and frustration wasn’t worth it.

I think our joy derives from being created in the image of God, the Imagio Dei, that God created everything, and in working with our hands, we arrange things into an ordered structure that reminds us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Sometimes we think that God has hands because we have hands, that he has ears because he has ears, that he created things because we create things…but that is exactly backwards. We have hands so we’ll understand what God means when he says he holds us in his hand, we have ears so we’ll understand that God hears and understands, we create things because God first created things.

So, love one another in a brotherly fashion, sacrificially without expectation of repayment, love isn’t always ushy-gushy or without pain but sometimes has to involve admonition and correction. Also don’t gossip, don’t meddle, take care of your own household first, and learn how to support yourself apart from state-sponsorship.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

February 15th - Prayer

Prayer Requests
Superbowl Efforts at Home and in Tampa
Pastor Aaron & Family & Summit on Prayer
Ben, Holly, and Cecilia
Students & Families Traveling
Bethany's friend's health from school
Michelle Sloan Job

Text - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-20

Summit is having a “Prayer Sunday” today, so I’ve skipped a few verses much to my chagrin, since now we’ve skipped two sections of this Epistle. Next week we will definitely get to chapter 4, verses 9-12.

The section we’re going to look at is on prayer. Paul started out this Epistle in prayer, and now he’s finishing it up in prayer, plus there was some prayer in the middle. Prayer is important. Do you remember what the five types of prayer are?

Petitioning – Asking for something for yourself
Intercession – Praying for God to do something for someone
Supplication – Asking God to do something through someone
Thanksgiving/Praise – Thanking God for doing
Imprecation – Asking God to squish someone

So, lets read our passage, everybody turn to

1 Thessalonians 5:16-20 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.

The first thing we see is some of the silly numbering of verses in this passage, look at verse 16, Rejoice always, verse 17, pray without ceasing, then they get to somewhat normal length.
Lets look at some others real quick,

Job 3:2 And Job said:

John 11:35 Jesus wept.

Esther 8:9 The king’s scribes were summoned at that time, in the third month, which is the month of Sivan, on the twenty-third day. And an edict was written, according to all that Mordecai commanded concerning the Jews, to the satraps and the governors and the officials of the provinces from India to Ethiopia, 127 provinces, to each province in its own script and to each people in its own language, and also to the Jews in their script and their language.

Now everybody flip to Mark 7:16, whose Bible has it? The problem with the chapter numbers and verse numbers is that they were put in place by one man, Robert Stephanus, and everybody followed him. He didn’t have the best manuscripts, although he did have some pretty good ones. By the time they realized he had made some mistakes it was too late, and fortunately every Bible you find will match up, which is why I can tell you to look at a certain chapter and verse and we’re always on the same page, no matter the translation.

Other religious books aren’t this way, for a little while I had the idea to convert Muslims, it was an extremely difficult ministry, with very little fruit, but one of the things I’d find is I’d tell them to look up something in the Koran and they’d say, “That verse has nothing to do with what we’re talking about.” So I’d read or post the verse, and they’d say, “oh, that’s not verse 9, that’s verse 17…” It made it very difficult to communicate from their book.

The chapters and verses are in most places very well placed, in others they are horrendously placed, for example, the break-up between Hebrews chapter 4 and 5, and 5 and 6 are terrible, as well as Genesis 1 and 2. These verse break-ups have wrecked theology too, consider

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

It sounds like it stands alone, but this verse was never meant to stand-alone, lets read it in context

John 3:14-18 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Now it makes sense, just as in Israel when they were beset with poisonous snakes, the only way for them to be saved if they got bit was to look to God’s sign, which was a serpent which Moses had lifted up in the wilderness on a stake. Therefore Christ was saying, if anyone is poisoned with sin, the only way they will be saved is to look to God’s sign, which is the Messiah, lifted up in the wilderness on a cross.

So, that took us a little off topic, but it was important enough that I wanted to share it. The chapters and verses should never be read alone, but in context. A great one that people think deals directly with prayer is

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

Sounds like if there are two or three of us gathered in Christ’s name, then he’s with us? So he must be here?

What about the poor Apostle John exiled on the island of Patmos all alone? Was he without God? Or what about Daniel in the lion's den? Was he all alone? Esther by herself in the palace? All alone? Of course not!

Micah 7:8 Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.

Matthew 28:20 Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Hmmm…if we're all alone, should we cry out, “God would be with me if there were two or three of us…but woe is me…I’m all alone!” God is with you always, even to the end of the age, you can pray anytime you want, anywhere you want, with anybody you want, alone if you want to or in massive groups.

Lets read Matthew 18 in context real quick, then we’ll get to 1 Thessalonians 5.

Matthew 18:15-20 If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."

Christ is giving directions on how to judge someone in the church. If someone is sinning, the first thing we do is approach them by ourselves. Say Dave Snyder won’t stop cursing, I go to him and say, “Dave, I’m worried about your soul, because out of the mouth the heart professes, and your cursing is inconsistent with a regenerate soul. So if you’re saved, you’ve gotta stop, if you’re not saved, you need to get saved.” If Dave would turn right there and stop sinning, saying maybe, “Wow, I didn’t realize I was doing that,” or “I didn’t know that was disrespectful to God and misrepresenting Jesus Christ so I'll stop,” then the issue would die. But if he said, “Nope.” Then the next step is I’d grab a pastor and two or three of us would approach Dave. If he still wouldn’t stop, we’d present it to the church. Dave’s choice would be to stop cursing or to be disfellowshipped until he did. We wouldn’t do this to be mean, but to keep blatant sin out of the church, and to let Dave know that we’re serious about his soul, because if we said it was alright, somebody with a major sin problem might think they’re alright, instead of working out their salvation with fear and trembling, repenting towards God and trusting in Jesus Christ that he alone is good and able to save their soul because he died on a cross to pay for all of their sins. We’re looking for fruit keeping with repentance, we’re not going to call out every sin, but look for the big ones or ones that seem to keep recurring.

So the verse that everybody thinks is about prayer is really about bearing witness against a sinning or false brother, that if two or three saints are in agreement with the Bible and confront someone with it, then the Holy Spirit will be there also testifying with them.

So, that was a long ways to say two things;

1. Read everything in context.
2. God is with you in the largest of crowds or the remotest desert island, and he hears your prayers whether you’re with two or three others or all by yourself.
3. Also…call people out when they use this verse wrong, because it really misrepresents God pretty badly to say he will only show up for crowds and not for individuals.

So lets go on with the lesson, now that half the time is up…verses 16 and 18 go together, so I’m going to read them together. Verse 17 will get more focus in a minute.

v. 16,18 Rejoice always, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

We find it easy to rejoice in good things, but hard sometimes in bad things. You guys remember I was told you I wasn’t dating another person until I was certain that was the person I was going to marry? Well I thought maybe I’d found her, truthfully I haven’t known her very long, maybe four months, but I was excited that we became such good friends so fast, I wasn’t sure and was going to continue being friends with her until October when I graduated, then thought I’d start dating her then. Then we went to lunch, just as friends, and she told me she is moving soon…far away…her mind is pretty made up to move, but we had a nice talk about us dating and stuff and decided it just isn’t right right now. Ouch. It’s good in a way, because there is no way I could devote any sort of attention to someone right now in school, but it still hurts.

Or let me give you a much worse scenario, say someone you love a lot dies.

So how do you rejoice in circumstances like that? Well first you cry a little…because nobody says you can’t be sad, but remember we don’t mourn as those who have no hope. But we remember that God is in control and the he has promised to use all things for good to those that love him. (Romans 8:28)

One of my friends was on a missions trip to Africa, and a little four year old girl got really sick. The family had just been converted to Christianity and they asked him to do a miracle of healing on her. Healings are fickle things because it’s totally up to God and he knows what he’s doing. My friend was terrified to pray over the girl because he didn’t know what would happen if she didn’t get better. Lots of people came, both Christians (very few) and Muslims (very many) to hear and watch him pray. The girl didn’t get better and died a week later. The father of the girl wasn’t angry and didn’t reject God, because he knew his little girl was in Heaven and he would see her again.

Where does the rejoicing come in? At the funeral the whole village came, 90% or more Muslim, and they saw that the family did not mourn as those who have no hope, but trusted in God who raises the dead. Several Christians preached about the hope that is within them because Jesus Christ came and died for their sins and defeated death on the third day, and most of the crowd was converted to Christianity at the funeral of this little girl. God was and is and always will be in control.

A lot of things that will happen to you will strengthen you to minister to others or will force you to rely more on God, and in that I rejoice. For example, now when one of you gets a broken heart, and it’s bound to happen, I’ll know better what you’re going through. A much bigger example is two of our members lost a baby, and in seeking answers went to church and got saved. Not only that, but they are both now exceedingly equipped to minister to both Christians and non-Christians who lose children, which unfortunately is a major problem, it is estimated that 1 in 5 babies won’t survive to be born and that’s not even counting abortions.

Wow, this took longer than I expected, I’m going to go into prayer now since we’re running out of time. The beginning of this Epistle was super easy to go verse by verse, the end is not so easy, a lot packed into these verses.

v. 17 pray without ceasing

Other translations may say, “Pray unceasingly.” Does this mean that right now because we’re not all praying we’re wrong? No, it means to have a constancy of prayer about you, pray frequently, there shouldn’t be big blocks of time where you haven’t prayed.

Sometimes things will happen that make you not want to pray, this is the most important time for you to pray. I really didn’t want to pray after everything happened with that girl and finally I did and I felt a lot better afterwards. Sometimes a prayer should be long, sometimes short. I think the shortest I’ve ever prayed was on the way to YEC when a car behind us did something stupid, coupled with me doing something stupid, and he almost hit us and my prayer was, “Help!” There was nothing else I could do, and that car missed us by inches.

I remember a story I heard at a church I went to with a friend where the pastor said as a little boy he used to need to talk to God so he’d sprint home, fly through the living room, down the hall, and his room had a hard-wood floor so he’d slide in on his knees up to his bed and pretty much say the same thing I’d said, “God, I need help!” He’d been so trained by his parents to pray before bed that he thought that was the only place he could pray from. You don’t have to be on your knees or by your bed or in any sort of configuration to pray, but you do have to be a Christian, because God only hears righteous prayers, (1 Peter 3:12, Psalm 34:15-16) and those prayers, as you remember, are made righteous by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:26)

Finally, as we’re out of time, Israel in the Old Testament really wanted a king, they wanted a king because everybody else had a king. God said it wasn’t time for them to have a king yet, but they wanted one. Samuel, the prophet at the time, yelled at them,

1 Samuel 12:19-24 And all the people said to Samuel, "Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king." And Samuel said to the people, "Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the LORD will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king."

They were under a different covenant, they had to keep their salvation, we’re under a New Covenant, Christ has purchased our salvation once for all on Calvary’s cross.

But notice that Samuel said, ‘I will not sin by ceasing to pray for you…’ One of the reasons is because that is a duty of a priest, and we are a priesthood of believers. Our prayers will draw us closer to God, make us look more like God, and help us to trust in him more. Finally, one of the greatest prayer verses in the Bible,

James 5:13-18 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.