Posts Tagged ‘Epistle of James’

I know that the title of this blog caught a lot of people’s eyes. Everyone wants and needs to know how to solve the issues they’re facing, so here it is….prayer. Yip, it’s that simple.

Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray.James 5:13

As James writes, from his pastor‘s heart, to the people of God, his entire letter is full of practical instruction and direct admonition. He does not have a flowery style or a theoretical bent; he is interested only in getting clear, candid counsel into the hands and hearts of believers.

And when he comes to the matter of affliction — gut-wrenching, spirit-pounding, heart-crushing affliction — this practical pastor gives his guidance in only three words: let him pray.

“Is that it?” we might ask. What about formulating an exit strategy? What about checking all our options for circumventing the pain? What about gathering a support group to cheer us up and cheer us on? The greatest therapy, the surest solution, the sweetest healing that we will find, James says, is in fervent and honest and faith-full conversation with God.

James is not suggesting a momentary, fleeting mention of our trial — perhaps in the middle of blessing our breakfast food — as the answer to affliction. The verb he uses is in the present tense: let him, in other words, continually be praying.

Perhaps you know what it is like to be so pressed by a sorrow or pain or trial that you pray, not only as you breath, but in order to be able to keep on breathing. There are times when God’s people truly find Him their only source of strength, of life, of purpose, and of joy. They pray, not because they have to, but because they can’t not pray.

Whether your affliction is earth-shattering or hardly-worth-mentioning, take your trial to God in prayer. And out of the fountain of close communion with your Father, will flow the calming, refreshing, restoring waters of spiritual renewal.

churchYou can always count on a church or christian organization to arrive on the scene when there has been a natural disaster of some sort. Hurricane Katrina was a great example of this. Churches continued helping in New Orleans by cleaning and rebuilding years after the storm struck. Why does the church live this way? Why do Christians spend their money and time to help others in trouble? There are many reasons for this, but a great component is the comfort we receive from our Father in heaven when we are in need of it. A person who has truly experienced the grace of God in these events simply cannot stand back and watch others suffer. Especially after they have experienced the comfort and peace that comes from none but the Almighty God (Philippians 4:7).

We do not only provide a physical comfort to those who are suffering though. The Christian’s is a comfort that cannot be matched by food, money, a new house, or anything here on the Earth. The early church actually grew, in many ways, because of the manner in which Christians treated and helped non-Christians in their time of need. There is something special when a person helps someone who is not of their family without expecting to receive anything in return. Remember the words of James, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV)

soulConfess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.—James 5:16

Have you ever been wrong and refused to admit ot confess the act? I have recently been put into the position where I am being persecuted to the point of disbelief. I watch these people accuse me, then refuse to admit they were, or did, anything wrong. While I wish I could get an apology from them, my biggest concern is for the damage they are doing to themselves by not admiting their sin.

No one enjoys admitting they are wrong. We hope our spouse or kids or friends will overlook our shortcomings and not call us out on the mistakes we make. We want to preserve the appearance of having our life pulled together. No one wants to say, “I was wrong, and I’m sorry!”

But by avoiding those painful words, we miss the blessing that follows. When a wound is cleaned, the healing can begin. If we live with sin festering in our life, we miss the healing and wholeness that God has made available to us.

James tells us the next step after confession is also important for healing—we must also pray for each other. It’s hard to be angry with someone for whom we are honestly praying. By asking God to work through each other to advance his kingdom, we might find we can forgive as we have been forgiven.


Gracious Lord, grant us the courage to admit our failings and to confess them to one another. Help us to forgive each other and to pray for those whom you have placed in our lives. Amen.

th_JesushealsgirlOn another Sabbath, he entered the synagogue and was teaching, and a man was there whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and the Pharisees watched him, to see whether he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they might find a reason to accuse him. (Luke 6:6-7 ESV)

It was the Sabbath, a day to be kept holy (Exodus 20:8). The people had met faithfully, sitting around a pulpit where they would be lead in prayer, in reading, and the teaching of Scripture. Here, Jesus was standing in the middle of sthis assembly not only teaching the Bible but living its truth and shining its light. That Sabbath day, there was a man with a deformed or withered hand. Jesus would go on to heal the man’s hand, literally healing his body on a day intended for bodily rest and man’s good (Mark 2:27). The Lord had compassion on that man, had mercy on him and lovingly healed him.

This healing was  beautiful, right, holy and just, as everything Jesus did in his lifetime was. But in that same Synagogue there was also an ugliness, and that ugliness was displayed by the “believers”, the scribes and Pharisees. Ugly religion doesn’t look to love and heal those around them, ugly religion seeks to accuse others and show how they are wrong and inferior. Follow in the Master’s footsteps today by being merciful and compassionate instead of trying to display your own glory through your ugly religion. Rather, display Jesus’ glory by walking as he walked.

Remember the words of James: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27 ESV)