Bible Reading: James 5:13-16
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Many years ago, on my 18th birthday, I was given a toolbox full of a range of tools that have been essential in various DIY projects over the years; I still have the toolbox. Many of the tools have by now been replaced or upgraded and others have been added as different needs arose, but there is a tool there for most of the DIY situations I am likely to come across.
I think the same is true for prayer. In today’s bible passage it seems to me that James is saying that, whatever situation we are in, there is a prayer to go with it. If we are in trouble we can pray a prayer for help, if we are happy we can pray a prayer of praise, if we have sinned we can pray for forgiveness, if we are sick we can pray for healing, or we can call on the church leaders to pray for your healing and, where appropriate, to anoint you with oil.
What is going on in your life at the moment? What can you praise God for today? Is there something you need to ask for forgiveness for? Is there a need that can pray for? Why not pause now and bring these to God in prayer?
With many jobs around the house, DIY or housework, you often don’t notice when they are done; you notice when a carpet needs hoovering, you don’t tend to notice when it’s hoovered; you notice when a tap is dripping, you don’t tend to notice when it has stopped. Often with prayer we may not notice or be aware of the effect of our prayers, but that doesn’t mean our prayers are ineffective. James tells us that the prayers offered in faith will heal the sick and that the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective.
You may not feel you have the faith to pray for healing, but you only need faith the size of a mustard seed, just make sure you plant it in the garden of your loving Heavenly Father.
And you may not feel your prayers are the prayers of a righteous person. Be assured, if you have confessed your sins to God, you are forgiven through the blood of Jesus shed for you; God sees you as righteous and your prayers are powerful and effective.
And, when we pray, let us not forget to praise God for his many blessings and for the answers to prayer that have gone unnoticed.
Thank you Heavenly Father that, because of Jesus we can pray to you in faith.
Give us the courage to come to you in prayer, the faith to believe you will answer and the grace to give you praise.
Father, hear the prayer we offer