Lesson 24

Scripture is full of wise words and directions on how to lead an effective and fulfilling life.  Have you ever wondered what to do when you were in trouble?  Or happy?  Or sick?

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. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:13-16 NIV)

You should pray.  You should sing out.  You should have others pray for you.  Wow!  Never thought there was direction on what to do when you sing, did you?

When we are in trouble, why should we pray?  Why should we turn to God?  After all, He is only the one who can control nature or perform such miracles that all the heavens shout.  That’s the guy I want knowing when I’m in trouble.

When we are happy, why should we sing out?  It doesn’t matter if you have a voice like an angel or a bull frog.  You don’t have to literally sing here.  But you should express that happiness by letting God know how wonderful He is.  Let others know that you have a happiness in you that comes from a very unique source.

When you are sick, why should others pray over you and anoint you?  Prayer like this does not heal you.  The oil does not heal you.  Only God can do that.  But it brings His children together for a common purpose and a common concern when they acknowledge that He is the one to turn to.  When you can humble yourself before God and call on His strength for you, He will answer.  It might not be in the manner that you were expecting, but it will happen.

Confessing sins to each other is not telling you to bare your soul to every single person at every single event or call each other every day and come clean.  What James is saying here is for you to be honest with each other and specifically with the elders of the church so that they know that you need prayer and what it is about.  It is not because if they know about it something magical will happen.  They are not closer to God then you.  But we are one family and we are His children.

A righteous man’s prayer does not over time develop special powers.  But a righteous man’s heart begins to change and come in line with God so that whenever he opens His mouth to pray, it is always in accordance to God’s will and not his own human nature and desires.  His words become pure and his heart becomes humble.  That is what makes his prayers so powerful and effective.  He is walking with God is such a way that selfishness does not enter the picture and only submissive love abounds.

Do you pray when you are in trouble?  Probably.

Do you sing out when you are happy?  Why not?

Do you call on others to pray for you when you are sick?  Sometimes.

Do you confess your sins to a trusted child of God?  Why not?

Do you pray for others?  Why not?

Today and all the tomorrows you have left need to be answering these questions and getting the answers to become resounding “YES”!