The late evangelist Billy Graham once admitted, “The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’” Graham was not the first follower to ever feel this way. James, the half-brother of Jesus, could relate as could recipients of his letter.
We, too, need to be reminded that the effective prayer of a righteous person has tremendous power. Taking time to pray for the big and little things in our lives orients us to the Father’s will and the Spirit’s ways. In our text today, James reminds us of the importance of church leaders praying for the flock and ministering to the needs of their congregation. The Christian life will be a constant roller-coaster of emotions because of the nature of our sin, rubbing shoulders with those in need, as well as seeing God’s promises and our prayers fulfilled. James reminds us that we can go directly to God with our requests, and much can be accomplished through our prayers (v. 16).
After giving a biblical example of the power of prayer, James ends with a call to live out the truth of the gospel. Wherever the Lord leads us, we are to tell others about the restorative hope that is found in Jesus Christ (v. 19). Throughout his letter, James explains what it means to have real, authentic faith. A faith that is lived out by making a difference in other lives. Prayer is the first step in living out your faith and helping someone else get a second chance. The Christian life is not easy, but prayer gives us the strength we need.
>> Do you know anyone who needs a second chance? Pray that the Lord would “make the sick person well” and “raise them up” (v. 15). Pray for opportunities to share the gospel with them and a pathway to lead them back to Jesus.
Lord God, intervene in the lives of the troubled and the sick. For Your glory, give them help and healing and cause them to recognize Your hand in their circumstances. Let them join the joyful, singing songs of praise.