Growing a Faith that Works – A Study Through the Book of James – James 5 – Part 22

The Power in Prayer and Praise

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13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.”  James 5:13 NIV

James gives words of wisdom for those who are “in trouble,” and to those who are “happy.”  To the suffering, James says to pray… take it to the Lord.  To the cheerful, he says to sing songs of praise… take it to the Lord.  In both cases, James puts the initiative on the person in need.  “Let them pray,” James begins for those who are facing trouble.  He concludes to those who are happy, “Let them sing songs of praise.”  He urges us to turn to God – whether we are doing well or suffering.  While those instructions may sound basic to us today, it is important to pose the following question:    

What if we really believed the words of James?

What if took the words of James here and really applied them… literally?  What if we took his instruction seriously – and though they sound simplistic – we gave serious effort to apply these words?

What if we really prayed? – I wonder how different the church would be if when we suffered and faced challenges or persecution, we didn’t complain to others or hold grudges about it, but we prayed?   It seems like a simplistic idea, but what if we did it?  I wonder how different the church at large would be if we sought God in prayer more often?  I wonder how differently my church would be, if we contended with God in prayer when we struggle?  I wonder how different my life would be if I held a stronger commitment to be in prayer for every trouble that came my way.   What if I were to humble myself and pray?

It is interesting that our natural tendency is not to pray, when we struggle, but to question God.  We question His goodness.  We question His love.  We question His intentions.  Maybe we should pray… Maybe we should lift up our voices to God.  Maybe we should   

What if we really praised? – What if, when we are doing well and are happy, rather than going out to buy something for ourselves to celebrate, or eating something special, we actually sang praises to God?  What if we actually paused when we are feeling good, to sing some praise to God?  I wonder if our attitudes would be different.  I wonder if we would give Him more credit and give ourselves less.  I wonder if it would humble us.  What if I were to humble myself and praise Him for every blessing in my life?  The roof over my head. Praise be to Jesus.  The car I drive.  Praise be to Jesus.  The family I live with.  Praise be to Jesus.  The clean water I drink.  Praise be to Jesus.  The food that I eat.  Praise be to Jesus.  The bathroom I go too.  Praise be to Jesus.  The fact that I can go to the bathroom on my own.  Praise be to Jesus.  The next breath… and the next… and the next.  Praise be to Jesus.

When things are going well in my life, I have a natural tendency to take the credit.  I am blessed because I am a hard worker.  It is because I have not given up when things are hard.  It is because I have learned to persevere.  It is because I am that righteous.  What if I learned to give praise to Jesus for every victory in my life rather than taking the credit myself?  How different would my life look if I were committed to giving God the praise for every breath I took?    

As I breathe in… I thank You for this breath Jesus.  As I breathe out… I praise You Jesus for the day before me.  As I breathe in… I thank You for this breath Jesus.  As I breathe out… I praise You Jesus for the day before me.  As I type at this keyboard… I praise You Jesus.  Lord I believe in You.  I praise You for the blessings You give.  Help me to believe more… to be thankful more… to pray with consistency and power more… to submit myself to You more.  In Your Matchless Name, amen.

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