Saturday 23 November 2013

Bible Book:

“The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” (v. 16)

James 5:13-19 Saturday 23 November 2013


This passage is one that shows the author's absolute faith. Heis convinced that God gives us ways of solving the things thatafflict us. This passage can be read as a definite belief that withthe correct prayer and the right amount of intensity, a solutionwill be given to the person who prays. Now, experience tells usthat this isn't necessarily the case. The world has been prayingfor an end to war for hundreds and hundreds of years, yet war ismore prevalent than ever. Surely, given the amount of people whopray about this, God would have heard. Did we then pray the wrongprayer, at the wrong time? Or perhaps God heard and wanted to help,but wasn't able to? These of course are the kinds of conclusionsthat people have wrestled with as long as they have been praying.But how does this Scripture fit with these questions?

We might propose that when James says that "the prayer of faithwill save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up" (v. 15), he isnot talking about those who suffer being made well, but that thissalvation has different connotations. After all, our bodies failand break and fall apart; this much is inevitable. It is not partof the created universe to allow us to live in perpetuity, and soat some point we will move on. Could the raising up refer to ourpermanent salvation; that even after sickness and death, weacknowledge that nothing can separate us from the love of God? Andin this acknowledgement, our prayers can gain a new level of powertoo; we no longer expect answers, and instead use prayer as anopportunity to see more of God's mysteries.

To Ponder

  • If we don't expect answers to prayer, what can be the benefitsof praying?
  • How can we view God as both the one who can do everything, andthe one who stays silent?
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