James - An eye to the present

Housegroup Leaders Materials

Sermon: 15th June 2008

Text: James 5:13-20

Key Verse

"The prayer of the righteous man is powerful and effective" James 5:16 


James calls us to faith in action, but that involves the whole of our being, thinking, speaking, acting and praying.


What’s the most troubling thing that has happened to you recently? What did you do?

  • Before people arrive, set a bowl of water in the middle of the room. On one piece of paper write down in felt pen five or six different areas of your life (work, family, church, gym etc) and then cut out those words. Explain that you are going to be looking at how James calls us to an integrated life. Tell people your words then place your words in the water. Pray and allow some quite reflection time. (Or worship very loudly you know what you need!) Over the words should have begun to fade and the paper become soggy.
  • Read James 5:13-20
Word (head)
  • For four and a half chapters James has been calling us to action. Why then does he close by calling people to prayer?
  • James only mentions Jesus twice (1:1 and 2:1), why?
  • What does James 16b show about James approach to a life of faith? (look at righteousness from 2:23 and 5:16b, prayer and action are linked)
  • You might like to introduce the Jewish idea that allows James out working of faith to be so complete: Shalom is a Hebrew and Jewish word meaning peace, nothing missing, nothing broken, wellbeing, and complete.

Word (heart questions)

  • James offers a number of measures of church or group Shalom. Discuss how you would like to work these out in your group.
    • Praying for healing for those sick in your group.
    • Confession and forgiveness of sin.
    • The powerful prayer of righteous people.
    • Being people back to the truth, do you have permission to do this with one another?
  • Ask people in groups of two or three to summarise the book of James in a sentence. Give people time to scan through the whole book of James.
  • What have you found most challenging?
  • What are you going to do differently as a result of looking at James?
  • Pray for one another as you seek to live out your faith.

NB: These notes are suggestions, not a text for your session, please be creative. Ensure you listen to God and allow him to lead you. The items in italics are extra materials, use where appropriate.

Mark Searle, 14/06/2008