TUESDAY, MAY 5
SCRIPTURE: JAMES 5:13-20
Author: Jeremy Witt
Prayer update: Brandon Kalicki’s kidney numbers improved somewhat. They took a lot of fluid off the lung with pneumonia, so that should make things better for him. The next 24 hours will indicate his prognosis. So please keep praying.
I apologize for the lateness today. Tuesday’s are staff meeting mornings, and we have quite a bit to discuss as we try to prepare for the coming days. The “new normal” is going to brings changes and will require all of us to be flexible, adaptable, and changeable. I am learning how much I struggle with some of this. We could use prayer as pastors, but also simply as a church in 3 locations. It will cause all of us at all three locations to improve at this.
Ironically, James 5:13 tells us to pray especially when in suffering and hardships. We should sing praises during these times and even when in prison as Paul and Silas did in Acts. We should sing praises to our LORD. James covers sickness and asking church leaders to pray over you. He includes the use of oil in anointing a person’s head. This served two purposes. Oil was used medicinally, (see the parable of the Good Samaritan how oil was used for healing) and oil was used to show the spiritual as well. (Anointing of kings in 1 Samuel 16 and in setting apart of people as holy as in Exodus 30:29 and even in fasting as in Matthew 6:17)
James covers the confession of sins and praying for others to be healed. The bottom line for whatever we encounter is that we should pray for others. When we pray, we should be praying in faith. Does this mean for the person whom we are praying for? Yes, they need to have faith in God, but specifically, here, it is referring to the ones praying. When we pray for others, we should pray in faith and the only One who can do the healing. Does faith heal on its own? No, healing only comes from God, but faith is part of the “tool” that brings healing. How can I say this? God is the only One capable of healing. He is the Great Physician. Can God heal without our faith? Yes, He can. Can faith heal without God? No, it cannot. Does God use faith? Now, do I really need to answer this? Yes, God uses faith. It is impossible to please God without faith. So what is the point, Mr. Witt? If we want our prayers to be answered, we must pray in faith that God can. Whether He does heal is not our call, however. We must pray in His Will and for His will, and have faith that God can if He so chooses. Remember Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego? How did they pray? They prayed in faith but also confessed that if God does not choose as they were asking, they would not bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image. James then refers to Elijah in verse 17-18 to support what can be down in prayer of faith. For a Christ-follower, our prayers of faith draw us closer to God first and foremost, and praying to God directly is one of our greatest gifts. Through our prayers, we can accomplish greater things than we could ever imagine all due to our trust and faith in the LORD Jesus via the Holy Spirit.
Remember that James tells us to put our faith into action. The last two verses are given to encourage us to reach out to help those who have fallen away. It might be due to sin in their life or due to fear and persecution, they have given up. Our role to walk beside them and lead them back to Jesus. This requires us to put our faith into action. We must live out our faith in how we live. A shepherd would go over the lost sheep, injured sheep, and unfocused sheep. It might be a salvation issue, a persecution issue, or a “life happened” issue, but we are to be helpful, encouraging, and actively living out our faith.
As we follow Jesus, let us help others to follow us to our Great Shepherd. Take our faith to the streets.