Friday, January 28, 2011
[13 ] Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. [14 ] 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. [15 ] 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. [16 ] 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. [17 ] 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. [18 ] Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit
(James 5:13-18 ESV).
Over the month of January, I have had the pleasure of tackling the Epistle of James. What I love most about this book is that it is bookended by the subject of prayer. At the beginning, we are taught to count it all joy for the trials we face, because they develop perseverance (James 1:2-4). What do we do in those trials, we ask for wisdom, trusting in the faithfulness of God who bestows that wisdom, as he did to Solomon (1 Kings 3).
Here, James says to those who are suffering for their faith to “pray,” those cheerful even in the midst of trails to “sing praise,” and those who are physically sick for whatever reason (regular sickness, sickness that comes from spiritual distress, or even sickness due to unconfessed sin [see v. 15-16]) to “call for the elders of the church” to “pray over him.”
A word here: notice the Scriptures say for those who are sick to call the elders. How many times has it happened that some have been sick, but did not let anyone from their church know of the sickness. Both you and the church were deprived of the blessings of coming together under the anointment of the Holy Spirit (“oil”) to bring us together in Christian fellowship. James is saying that, in some cases, it’s a two-way street.
Whatever our condition, lift those petitions. All who name the name of Christ will be heard (Psalm 66:18; Philippians 4:4-7).
Read John 19.
Pray for yourself and the three lost persons God placed on your heart.
Fast to disconnect from the world.
Journal your journey.