Wise Prayer

Opening Prayer

Rest in God’s presence. Don’t use words, but just allow your heart and spirit to commune with God without using words.

Read James 5:13–20

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 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. 15 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. 16 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.

17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Reflect

Do you find it easy or difficult to pray?

The letter of James is all about living life well—a life of wisdom. James opened his letter insisting that life’s hard times are not barriers to a life with God but can bring us to maturity (1:2–4). He highlighted the struggle between our selfish desires (4:1–3) and God’s way, encouraging us to look beyond self in order to live well with others.

Prayer is key to a life of wisdom (1:5). So it is fitting that at the end of the letter we come back to prayer—as a way through both the good and bad times in life (5:13–18).

Clement of Alexandria described prayer as “keeping company with God.” Prayer re-orientates us by reminding us that we are not in control, helping us to submit to the will of a good and generous God (5:11b) who has our days in his hands (4:15).

This passage reminds us that we should pray in all circumstances, and that there are no limits to the power of prayer. That means we should pray for healing (15), trusting that God can do amazing things—although we know that this side of heaven, not everyone will be healed. Verse 15 should not be read as a guarantee of healing, but put in the context of the whole Bible where a loving God hears the prayers of the faithful.

Apply

Start today and create a prayer journal with thoughts, questions and requests to God. Write down God’s answers to you.

Closing prayer

God, I pray that Your Spirit would work to enable me to live a life of wisdom, loving You and Your people with a generous heart.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider