Speaking to the Soul – September 9

You should pray

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. James 5:13-14

I love these verses. Basically, James is saying that whatever is going on in your life at the moment, it’s the right time to pray! Many people seem to see prayer as a religious activity that needs to be confined to particular times or places. Churches are well known as places to pray, and many people set aside a special quiet time each day so that they can bring their prayers to God. This is all splendid, but we still need to hear James’ encouragement. It is always the right time to pray – whether you are in church or not, and whether it is your special time to pray to God or not. James is introducing us to the idea that prayer is a way of life in which we share whatever is going on with a God who cares about every aspect of our lives.

James’ letter contains many indications that the churches he was writing to were going through a hard time. The people were under pressure from the authorities and probably from their neighbours and employers, too. They needed to pray to God about their difficulties continually. They probably didn’t need to be reminded of that however, because even people of little faith are inclined to pray when times are hard.

But we can be much less inclined to pray when we’re happy. James reminds us of the need to turn our eyes to God when everything is going well. Everything we have and are is a gift from God, and so it is only right that we are continually thankful for all he has given us.

Praying for the sick should be a crucial part of every church’s life if we are to continue the healing which was so integral to Jesus’ ministry. James encouraged the elders to be involved in anointing the sick, but the whole church can also pray for those who were unwell.

How much of your daily life do you pray about?

Loving God, thank you for the privilege of prayer. Help me share more of my life with you day by day. Amen