Jump Start # 3260
James 5:16 “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
I love our verse today. Prayer works. It’s more than a mental exercise to release stress. Prayer is actually talking to someone who not only does hear you, but loves you and can do something. God can do what others can’t. When the night seems so dark, the day dawns and the Lord is there.
Contextually, the passage surrounds the idea of forgiveness and healing. Often sin and sickness are connected. Often one leads to the others. The sickness of the body and the sickness of the soul have many parallels. Heal the soul first. Heal the soul through forgiveness.
The prayers to God from His children are powerful. God can do what no one else can. God can do things when we can’t be there. God can work in ways that we will never understand. Prayer should not be the last step but the first step in our walk with the Lord. Don’t exhaust all other options before you turn to prayer. Put prayer at the top of the list. Be a person of prayer. And, don’t only pray about what troubles you. Be a person of thankfulness. Be a person of praise.
In a recent Jump Start I mentioned a serious health issue facing our son Jordan. The word cancer was being used by the doctors. Appointments with oncologists who spoke of months of intense chemo were made. Plans were mapped out. A lot of fear and unknown filled our hearts. Then the family of God prayed. And, they prayed. And, they prayed. We heard from hundreds and hundreds all over the country who said that they were praying for us. I prayed like I never had before. A phone call came early one morning from the surgeon. Tests showed no cancer. Plans shifted. Surgery would take place. Hope, thankfulness and joy filled the air.
Here are a few things I learned:
First, as a parent you would much rather have the pain and suffering than your child, no matter what age they are. It’s hard to see your children suffer. Why some things happen, we may never know. Why now? Why this person? Why this way? Questions and questions and questions. And, questions fuel more uncertainty.
Second, not only does prayer invite God into the situation, knowing that others are praying brings a peace and calm to a hurting family. Others care. Others are thinking about you. Others are with you in spirit. You do not walk alone. You do not face these giants alone. God’s mighty people are there.
Third, prayer helps you keep the spiritual perspective. Prayer keeps God in the forefront. By talking to God we are reminded of our place and our hope in the Lord. When we forget this, or lose this, we are likely to turn to bitter attitudes, angry words, and become a people who live without hope. God changes all of that. God keeps us close to Him and we need to stay just as close to Him.
Notice, the qualifiers in our passage today. It’s not just for anyone and everyone. Just pray and great things happen—that’s what the world wants to hold on to. Ignore God. Disobey God. Use God. But when trouble comes, pray and blessings flow down from Heaven. Unfortunately, the passage doesn’t say this. The accomplished prayer comes from a righteous man. A man who knows the Lord. A man who walks with the Lord in righteousness. Such a man talks to God often. He loves God. He longs for God. He wants to be with God. He has a strong and close relationship with God. God is ever present with this righteous man. He is righteous because of God. He seeks to be righteous. He is a man of moral fiber. He is a person of godliness.
What a wonderful, wonderful blessing to be able to talk to the Lord, anytime and from any place. You don’t have to be in a church building to pray. God is always there for you. God is not limited. God is not confined nor placed in a box created by us.
Thank you, dear God, for allowing us to talk to you. Thank you for not being too busy for us. Thank you for not thinking we are too insignificant to you. Thank you for not being bothered by us. Thank you, for hearing prayer. Thank you for hearing our prayer. Thank you for hearing my prayer.