Day 12: James 5:13-20
James ends his letter with a reminder of the power of prayer and encourages us to pray in all circumstances:
- If you are hurting
- If you are feeling great
- If you are sick
- If you have sinned
There is no automatic link between sin and sickness. However, James didn’t rule out the possibility. Confessing our sins to a Christian brother or sister and praying for each other helps in the process of healing and restoration.
Elijah was a man just like us (verse 17). You would probably disagree and say you could never be anything like that. Look more closely at his story. In 1 Kings 18 we read of his greatest triumph to show who is the true God where he calls down fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice, followed by his prayer for rain after the three and a half year drought. The very next thing we read in chapter 19 is that he is on the run because Queen Jezebel had threatened to kill him. He sits under a tree and asks God to let him die because he’s had enough. Does this makes him sound much more like us?
James encourages us that we too can pray like Elijah and see miracles happen but note the emphasis on “prayed earnestly”. We can see in 1 Kings 18:42-44 that the answer to prayer was not immediate, seven times he sent his servant to see if the rain cloud was in sight, each time he prayed again until the answer came. How often do we give up after one, two or three times and tell ourselves maybe “it’s not God’s will”; “I hadn’t heard from God right”; “it’s not God’s timing” or some other compromise.
Earnest prayer is passionate determined prayer, where in your spirit you can see the answer and are prepared to petition God till you know it’s done.
Watchman Nee wrote, ‘Our prayers lay the track down which God’s power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails.’
James letter reads almost like a user guide, full of information and guidance for the Christian life and even includes some common problem solvers, Do you lack wisdom? Is anyone of you in trouble? Is any of you sick?
It’s clear, direct and pulls no punches, very much “this is how you should be doing it”. James urges the readers to be not just hearers but doers of the word. There is also great encouragement from James that as we develop our relationship with God on our journey of faith we experience His power that is at work within us. This power makes us more like Jesus and enriches our lives until the day we see Him face to face.