Beginning a New Day and New Year with Prayer — James 4

In our January IBLF newsletter, “Serving Jesus the King of Kings,” I wrote about praying to Jesus as our King. In the Letter of James, we learn even more about prayer and how to maintain a close relationship with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Think about praying in some of these ways each morning and especially any time of the day or night when you are under stress, facing temptations of various kinds, or must make important decisions.

First, according to James 4:7, we need to prayerfully submit ourselves to God in the Name of Jesus Christ, our King, Lord, and Savior. Tell Jesus you want to be His good and faithful friend and loyal servant throughout the day and night. Tell God that you only want to do what He approves.

Second, as a child of God by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ, prayerfully draw near to God with full confidence. In Hebrews 4:16, we read, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” James 4:8 promises, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”

Third, the Lord being your Helper, prayerfully repent of any sins against God that you have been practicing or are especially tempted to commit. When James wrote in 4:8, “Cleanse your hands, you sinners,” he meant for us to confess and turn from any sins we have committed or are prone to commit. We must turn from sinful behaviors and unclean speech.

Fourth, we must prayerfully and honestly seek Jesus’ help to examine our thought life and what sins we would like to practice if we had the opportunity or what sins we commit mentally but not physically or outwardly. By asking Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help us cleanse our thought life, we “purify our hearts” as James wrote in James 4:8. We cannot purify our hearts apart from help from the Holy Spirit who indwells us and trustful obedience to Jesus Christ according to the Bible.

Fifth, we must prayerfully ask God to help us stop being “double-minded,” if we are. When we do “our selfish will” at one moment and then try to do “God’s will” the next moment, or practice sin some days and not other days, or live self-centered much of the time and then try to be God-centered sometimes, we are being “double-minded.” We need Jesus’ help to live with single-minded devotion and obedience to God all the time throughout each day and night.

Sixth, to pray successfully as James has told us, we must “Humble ourselves before the Lord; for God gives grace to the humble” (James 4:10, 6). It takes humility to pray and ask God to show us how He sees us, warts and all, and then ask God to help us change so we can become the person He wants to see throughout our days and nights.

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May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

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Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
L.G.
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