Thursday, September 26, 2013

I Need Help

If Jesus prayed then... maybe we should too.
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. ~James 5:13

One cannot read this passage from James (5:13-20) and not notice the importance given to prayer and the prevalence it should have in the life of a Christian. One of our Growth Group questions asked us to record how many times “prayer” is mentioned in these eight verses. Our group noted there were at least seven direct references to prayer and at least three indirect references. We spent a great deal of our time Wednesday evening discussing what the absence or the presence of prayer in one’s life indicates about a person’s walk with the Lord.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Prayer was never meant to be an after thought or a mere stop gap measure when nothing else works, but as our first and most relied upon response to the difficulties of life. In fact, when you consider what the Apostle Paul has to say about prayer, here in this letter to the Thessalonian church, you realize prayer is to be a constant communication between the believer and God. We are to ever be mindful of our great Savior and be aware of His presence in our lives. It is a mindset that says “God is with me.”

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. ~Psalm 23:4

Our God is with us and whether the current circumstances of life are difficult or easy we should be mindful of His presence and speak with Him. Our comfort and rejoicing is found in God’s presence with His people. Our prayer life is also an indication of how much our need for God is understood and realized. The reality is we are desperately needy and ought to be depending on God for… well… everything.

Give us this day our daily bread, ~Matthew 6:11

There can be no doubt; we need God every single day, every single moment. The content and frequency of our prayers ought to be a reflection of that truth. I really appreciated the title of Pastor’s sermon this last Sunday, “I Need Help”, because that says a lot about what our prayer lives should be. He also gave us three actions to take based on what James is saying in this passage:

  • Pray (making yourself dependent on God) 
  • Call for the elders (to pray with and for you) 
  • Confess your sins (which is prayer) 

 When our first reaction to the pains and sorrows of life or even the joys and blessings is prayer, then that is an indication of spiritual growth and a healthy dependence on God. It can be very humbling to ask for prayer; it requires admitting we need help and wisdom to know it is God's will we allow others to support us when needed. Calling for the elders and asking others to pray for us allows our Christian friends into a closer relationship and a stronger friendship. Letting others see our hurts and our fears exposes us emotionally; doing so means taking a risk.

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. ~James 5:14,15

God is able to work in our lives in even the most difficult times and He may take direct action or He may work through the prayers of friends and family. We should remember the place prayer ought to have in our lives and in everything, even the most difficult things, pray. If your worry or concern is that you cannot or do not pray the way you should, remember… you have help.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. ~Romans 8:26,27

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