We had a wonderful gathering last night at our house to kick off another season of Bible study. We discussed James 5:13-20, “The Prayer of Faith” and it was a great outline for our gathering. We enjoyed a wonderful meal, so huge thanks to Mandee and Kim for keeping us fed so well!
We shared testimonies as a group of our sufferings and rejoicings that we had gone through since pour last gathering — and how powerful we have seen the Lord moving!
We then broke up into the men gathering downstairs and the ladies upstairs and we confessed our sins to one another, shared intimately with each other, and prayed fervently for each other.
Finally, we came back together to wrap things up and come into unity of purpose and direction for the week ahead. We are so thankful for friends that are truly “family in Christ” and we love the opportunity we are given to walk through this life together, being there for each other, in prayer, encouragement, accountability, love, and service to each other.
I encourage you with this song this morning: https://youtu.be/5rvuDYP_jLY
Also, for study this week, let’s read Psalms 65-68.
Pray for the Lord to reveal His wisdom to your heart and spirit, not for you to just acquire knowledge in your mind. And pray that you won’t doubt and that it won’t be stolen away. Trust Him. He is faithful and true.
Keep a journal by your side while studying and take notes in it – not just of the answers, but anything that jumps out to you while studying.
Read through each Psalm once, all the way through.
Then ask yourself the following questions:
NOTE: With the first three, we are trying to intentionally and consciously paint a picture in our minds (or walk out a play or movie in our minds) that activates our senses and draws us in like a good movie does. This is a creative exercise for our minds, like a child’s faithful “make believe” game, not just a factual/academic exercise.
Who are the people or groups of people involved in this (author, spoken of, spoken to, playing a part in it, etc)?
What is the background/stage/ environment for this text? What would it have looked like, felt like, smelled like, sounded like or even tasted like? If you were going to make a video to recreate this Psalm, how would you set up the stage for the actors?
Can you summarize and picture what happened and the sequence of events? If you were writing out a script and recreating this as a child would in a play or game, what is the general order of events?
NOTE: Now we have stepped through the above, we will step past “just the facts” and surface level written letter “meaning” of the passage and move on to application.
“The why inside them”
What is an underlying message or theme the people “inside the story” or the author would have been learning or teaching through this passage?
“The why through Christ”
How does knowing what we know today about the life and teachings of Christ reveal something new or additional or parallel to this passage? Is there a way that we can understand or find parallels in this passage?
“The why inside me”
If we are truly Christians at heart and not just claimed by name, we have the spirit of Christ in us. Knowing this about ourselves and knowing our identity in Christ, what does this teach us, or stir up in us, or convict us to repent of?
NOTE: This is a method of study that I use with my daughter as we read through the Bible together, and it is one of the primary and most profitable ways I have found to approach studying scripture in a way that makes it real, makes it memorable, and makes it effectively applicable for my day to day life.
This approach takes time that is still, quiet, and focused on the Word of God. I know that many of us have busy lives where God may only have had access to our left overs in the past. This is not me judging you or condemning you, I’m just speaking the truth about many times in our lives when we have let other things take priority over God and we have missed out on blessings and growth and kingdom opportunities as a result. I promise that this approach will bear riches for you of you try it. And quality is king here, not quantity. It would be better to dive into this fully committed to the method and to seeing just one passage “come alive” to you — rather than rushing through it like a last minute homework assignment so you can say to yourself that you finished all four Psalms before time to turn in your work.
If you feel stuck or stumped, walk away from the book and spend time praising the Lord for the wisdom you know He is planting in your heart through time in His Word, even if you can’t yet see the fruit of it in your mind, etc.
And let’s stay in touch with each other this week and actively pray for each other. God bless you, dear family!
Extra Credit: If you make it through this process and are still hungry for more study, feel free to then look at the questions in the Wiersbe Study guide lesson 4 to see what Wiersbe has to share with you about these four Psalms.
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. 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.
James 5:13-20 ESV