A particular favourite hymn of ours, sung at all special occasions is What A Friend We Have in Jesus. We sang it at our wedding and in thanksgiving for our children – because taking everything to God in prayer seems the right basis to found life on.
This passage from James echoes that sentiment.
If life is difficult – pray; if things are going well – pray. If you’re ill, troubled, wandering – pray. Whatever is happening in life, to God is the place to take it.
Prayer is not a last chance saloon, it is the place we can bring everything in our lives. Our hopes, fears, joys and sorrows, the right place for whatever is happening is in the presence of God.
Prayer is not a magic formula, it is just spending time with God, sharing with him – and allowing him to speak to us, comfort us, challenge us, call us, heal us – whatever we need at that time.
So whatever is happening – we can pray. God knows what is going on, but prayer is our opportunity to spend time with our friend, our Saviour, our Lord.
James 5:13-20 (CEV)
13 If you are having trouble, you should pray. And if you are feeling good, you should sing praises. 14 If you are sick, ask the church leaders to come and pray for you. Ask them to put olive oil on you in the name of the Lord. 15 If you have faith when you pray for sick people, they will get well. The Lord will heal them, and if they have sinned, he will forgive them.
16 If you have sinned, you should tell each other what you have done. Then you can pray for one another and be healed. The prayer of an innocent person is powerful, and it can help a lot. 17 Elijah was just as human as we are, and for three and a half years his prayers kept the rain from falling. 18 But when he did pray for rain, it fell from the skies and made the crops grow.
19 My friends, if any followers have wandered away from the truth, you should try to lead them back. 20 If you turn sinners from the wrong way, you will save them from death, and many of their sins will be forgiven.