Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 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.
There are a lot of occasions to pray. We all know that we face many things each day, some noted above in this scripture. In these verses, James engages the reader in a personal way. His desire is for them to put prayer into practice. He notes here some of the times when prayer should be a definite course of action.
Here we see prayer in times of trouble with “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray”. I think that you would agree that when we get ourselves in trouble for whatever reason that would be a very good time to pray.
Next we see prayer in times of happiness with “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms”. We might allow ourselves to fall into the trap that prayer is less important when we find ourselves in a season of happiness. I think just the opposite. The psalms were written as songs of praise. Songs of praise are the highest form of prayer. It sets God above all things and He finds favor with that kind of prayer. Happiness is the very time we should be singing (praying) songs of praise. You want to know something? Prayer is an active response to the grace of God and it’s Worship.
And then lastly, James asks, “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”. Again, wouldn’t you agree with me that when we are sick, we are the most vulnerable? When we are sick, don’t we feel defeated and weak? Weakness makes us feel there’s little hope as if there is nothing we can do. Weakness is the very time for prayer.
As you see, we can be praying in all circumstances. In good times and in not so good times. It’s a matter of choice. I know that when I’m feeling sick, I feel comforted when someone acknowledges that they’ve heard of my illness and that they are praying. I know how it makes me feel when brothers and sisters in the Lord come together in corporate prayer for my needs and my sickness. It’s equally as rewarding to both myself and those praying when I can share times of great praise with them when God answers our prayers and He is carrying me on eagle’s wings.
One final thought. The enemy likes to use some of what I talk about here as a scheme. He is a liar and the father of all lies. (John 8:44) He wants believers to think that no one cares when they’ve found themselves in trouble. He’ll lie and say, “Everyone gets into trouble. Why is your trouble any different?” He’ll also tell you nobody wants to hear how sick you are. He’ll say, “There are others who are sicker than you.” And when we want to rejoice in Christ for what He has done for us, the enemy will call you a braggart. THESE ARE ALL LIES AND DON’T BELIEVE THEM.
God desires to hear all of your prayers. (Psalm 65:2) He desires that you find yourself in perfect peace. (Isaiah 26:3) God desires that you are well. God is our Jehovah Raphi, “the Lord that healeth thee.” (Exodus 15:26). And God delights when we give Him praise for answered prayer and all He has done for us. (Zephaniah 3:17) God instructs us to continue earnestly in prayer being vigilant in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2) As James instructs, let’s put prayer into practice.
Heavenly Lord, thank You that You’ve given us Your Word to instruct us. I thank You Lord for all of the answered prayers You’ve given me. I thank You for those who have stood shoulder to shoulder with me in times of need and healing. Forgive me when I stray and believe the lies of the enemy and set my prayers aside thinking they are not important. You desire to our All in All. You desire to answer our prayers. It’s a matter of asking and receiving. Thank You Lord! May we always be sensitive to the need for prayer and remain vigilant in it. In Jesus Name. AMEN.
Don’t believe me, believe God!