The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225


Church of Christ




Prayer 101... Reasons To Pray

"Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord" (Jas.5:13-14).

Today's devotional on prayer might be a very basic one, but James tries to give us reminders of the reasons why one ought to pray. First, he associates a person who is in some sort of trouble with the need to pray, and then he goes the other way, as he joins prayer to happiness and song... Singing is well-adapted to celebration and joy, and prayer, well-adapted for grief and emotion. Neither singing or praying should be limited to just one emotion... In Lk.1:46-55, where Mary came to Elizabeth, her song was a prayer. A bit later on, (Vs 68-79) Zacharias' song was the same. The writer of Psalms 137 expresses lament, while 138 is a song of joyous praise. Prayer is such a wondrous vehicle, as it can express everything from praise to thanksgiving, to joy and lament... Maybe it is being viewed by James as man's concession to his or her own weakness, as he associates prayer and suffering. Only once in his epistle does James refer to elders and to the church, but when he does it is in the context of prayer. If sickness strikes, he wrote, he should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil... In addition to this passage about anointing with oil, we can turn to one of the gospels and find something similar. When Jesus sent out the twelve (12), here's part of what they did; "They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them" (Mk.6:12-13). The anointing with oil was not a strange habit to them, as the Good Samaritan who stopped to help the wounded man, poured oil on his wounds in Lk.10:34. Lastly, confession and prayer are to accompany one another. It is appropriate for Christians to confess their sins before God, as the first step in turning from sin is the recognition and confession of a problem. I end today's devotional with some of the most powerful words about prayer ever written.... "The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much..." (Vs 16)

Have a great day.... Do some good things and give God the credit.... Love mark Phil.4:11

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