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.’” The late evangelist was echoing the sentiments that James talks about in chapter 5. Everybody suffers and everyone needs prayer. But James also builds to the truth that the effective prayer of a righteous person has tremendous power.
He begins by stating that if anyone is in trouble, which can mean suffering in difficult circumstances, let him pray (v. 13). He then says that if anyone is happy, let him sing songs, which is a way of singing one’s prayers (v. 13). Next, he casts the net to anyone who is sick (v. 14). Sick can mean physically sick, but it can also mean spiritually, ethically, emotionally, or morally weak. Whatever the ailment, they were to be prayed over and forgiven (vv. 14–15). James adds that when it comes to forgiveness, there may be times when we need to confess our sins to one another. Not merely to gossip, but so healing and long- term accountability and healing can take place (v. 16). James concludes this paragraph with his Big Idea, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (v. 16).
When men and women are walking closely with God, their prayer is intensified. James uses the example of Elijah who prayed for rain to restore Israel from idolatry (1 Kings 18:37). When God’s Word is on your heart and mind, it will also be in your prayers, so make sure your prayers are soaked in Scripture. Look for opportunities to pray for and over people. It might just be the remedy they need.
>> Your greatest superpower is prayer. So, make sure you are using it daily. It has the power to help people in their darkest times and keep them going when they are down.
“Change my heart oh God, Make it ever true. Change my heart oh God, let me be like You. You are the Potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me; this is what I pray.” (“Change My Heart,” Eddie Espinosa)