The Power of Faith in Our Lives

Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” – James 5:13-15

What’s your first thought when you experience unexpected joy? Who do you call? What do you do? What about when you receive terrible news? Who do you tell first?

Whether we’re experiencing suffering, cheerfulness, or sickness, the directive is the same. Take it to God. Of course, the way we approach Him differs based on what we are experiencing. Crying out to God in sorrow is certainly different than belting out a song of praise, but in both situations, the person’s heart and mind are focused on the Lord, not their circumstances. It’s a beautiful picture.

No matter what we are experiencing, we can share it first with our best friend. If we aren’t doing this, perhaps we should ask ourselves why our heart doesn’t seek God’s when we experience joy and sorrow. Is it because our relationship needs some work? Is it because we don’t think we are good at praying? Is there another reason?

Along with suffering and cheerfulness, James also mentions sickness. It can be tempting to read this passage and assume that calling for the elders of the church is a free pass to getting well, but if the early church leaders had believed the prayers of the elders should always make every sick person well, Paul wouldn’t have given Timothy advice on dealing with his stomach and other frequent ailments (1 Timothy 5:23). He also wouldn’t have left his friend Trophimus sick at Miletus (2 Timothy 4:20).

Yes, we should pray for those who are sick. Sometimes, God chooses to physically heal them. Other times, our prayers provide support and encouragement. As we pray, it’s important to consider that God’s ways are beyond our understanding (Isaiah 55:8-11). Instead of pleading with Him to bend His will to ours, we should ask Him to lead us to pray in agreement with His will. For some of us, this will be one of the hardest things we ever do.

You may have pleaded with God to heal your sick loved one, only to watch them slip into eternity. Yes, God healed them, but not in the way you hoped He would. Sometimes, God says, “no” when we pray, for reasons we can’t possibly understand, and it hurts. Oh, it hurts.

Take a moment to consider your current situation. Are you experiencing joy? Sorrow? Sickness? Bring it to God. Ask Him to help your heart be so focused on Him that your first, immediate response is to turn to Him, no matter what you are experiencing.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.