If you were to find yourself in some dare strait and in need of serious relief, would you seek prayer? Would you handle the situation with your own prayers or would you seek prayer help from others? If you sought “prayer help” from others, who would you seek to pray for you or with you? Would it be just a friend and close confidant, or would it be a person who you believe to have a reputation of spiritual righteousness and faith? If your friends are full of faith and righteousness - all well and good. However, we should take care of who we ask to pray for us. We are instructed to seek the godly person to pray for us.
Would it be surprising to you to realize that many people do not trust others in their own church congregation to pray for them. This distrust reaches out to include some deacons and pastors in the church. There are many reasons why this is, however, it shouldn’t be. If this is the case with you, then our enemy has done a good job of eliminating trust and confidence among the brethren in the church. This creates an ungodly atmosphere in the church.
Is it not true that some Christians would prefer sending off money to a television ministry miles away seeking prayer, than to look out among their own members in church and request prayer? Did not our Lord encourage us to pray for one another? (James 5:16).
James, the brother of our Lord, teaches us to seek the “elders” of the church, men of proven faith to pray for us when we are sick and in need. The word “elder” may be confusing to some in that this qualification changed somewhat between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Originally these were older men in the community who governed and made all major decisions therein (Ex. 3:29; Num 11:25). After the return from exile the elders made up the Sanhedrin, the governing council of the Jews. Matthew 27:12 tells us that the elders, priest and scribes joined together against Jesus. When the church came into being after Pentecost, elders were appointed to each congregation (Acts 14:23). Elders were called “Bishops” (an overseer) in St. Paul’s day. These men were required to be blameless in their lives and obedient to the truth in their faith (1Tim 3:1-7, Titus 1:6-9). â€œHolding the mystery of faith in pure conscience (1Tim 3:9). Here we see the New Testament qualifications of a Bishop (elder) has been redefined and is the same qualifications of an appointed deacon in the church.
Titus, like Timothy, was a younger man than Paul. Yet, Paul sent Titus to the island of Crete to ordain elders and pastor the church there (Titus 1:5). Elders at this time were seen as a more spiritual person with a reputation of faith, more so than just being an older person with leadership skills.
In a sense, every Christian today should qualify as an elder; to be deeply religious and have a strong reputation in faith among those who know you. “And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven” (James 5:15). This is -the kind of person I want praying for me. This is a true picture of “the righteous man or woman”, whose reputation of faith with God is well known within the community. Can you pick one out in your church. If not, this speaks to how well the devil is destroying your church and its spiritual prayer power. Keeping in mind we are to pray one for another. And we must pray with power and assurance as our spiritual tool to accomplish good works. We should not seek prayers from ungodly people, whether they be your friends or in church. Your job as a Christian is to identify the righteous among you.
The Psalmist defines it right as to who has prayer power and is righteous with the Lord (Ps 1:1-6). The ungodly does not live by and Godly rules, and is led by lust and temptation. The righteous does not follow the sinner, nor take his advice, even if he/she is a friend of family. For they scoff at religion and rebel against God. The faithful studies and follows the laws of God as best they can with the help of the Holy Spirit. And in doing so God prospers him or her in their daily existence. And whatever this person does will prosper others as well as him/herself.
This is not true of the ungodly. They will be separated from the company of the faithful and they will not prosper in their lives. They will end up like “chaff” being no good for nothing and is blown away by the wind of change.
God keeps an on-going account of those who practice faith and righteousness. These are the people you want praying for you. The ungodly are not so!