An “always” activity

Brian Becker

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.  The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. (James 5:13-16)

Many connect the 40-days of Lent with giving something up. This entire last year feels like we’ve been giving things up, but not by choice. Connections with family and friends, lost jobs, lost connections with colleagues, birthdays, and holidays have greatly disrupted our lives. Many tragically lost lives. I’ve grieved over many of these losses; not the least is the loss of worship with the Grace community.

According to early New Testament verses we’re told that James, Jesus’ brother, actually doubted that Jesus was the Christ, but something obviously changed, as he now boldly gives us two pieces of advice.

First, regardless of our station in life (suffering, cheerful, sick), he directs us to pray. Second, we are to confess our sins to one another, and in our confession, by God’s might and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are made righteous. James ends by assuring us that our prayers are powerful and effective.

So let us confess our sins, and pray with assurance that we are righteous in God’s sight. Be confident that by God’s gift of life and forgiveness our prayers will be heard and answered. There is hope and reason to believe that my grieving will be turned to joy this Easter.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, come to us in the places where we are, whether suffering, cheerful or sick. Sustain us. Encourage us. Embolden us to pray, as we wait expectantly for your resurrection. Savior of the Nations … come. Amen and Amen.

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