Tuesday, June 23, 2015

When To Pray

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:13-16  (NIV)

Perhaps the two greatest weaknesses in the average church today are the areas of prayer and praise. There is much need for prayer and much cause to praise. James used several questions to stress these points and then spoke to the power we have in prayer.

The whole of the Christian life is to be lived in communion with God, the good and the bad, manifested by prayer.  Calvin says it beautifully, “There is no time in which God does not invite us to Himself.”   Alec Motyer said, “Our whole life should be so angled towards God that whatever strikes upon us, whether sorrow or joy, should be deflected upwards at once into His presence.”

When to Pray - The passage above gives us some important times to pray.
1.  Pray When You Are Afflicted vs 13a - Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray.   The word “suffering or afflicted” means “suffering in difficult circumstances.” The phrase “in trouble” is a good translation.  Paul used this word to describe the circumstances he was in as he suffered for the Gospel’s sake (2 Timothy 2:9).  What should we do when we find ourselves in such trying circumstances?  We must not grumble and criticize the saints who are having an easier time of it (James 5:9 - Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.); nor should we blame the Lord.  We should pray, asking God for the wisdom we need to understand the situation and use it to His glory.  

Prayer may not only be used to move heaven to our desire, but to help us understand the will of God in the situation and be prepared to bear it.  Prayer can remove affliction, if that is God’s will.  But prayer can also give us the grace we need to endure troubles and use them to accomplish God’s perfect will.

·      God can transform troubles into triumphs. “He giveth more grace” (James 4:6).  Paul prayed that God might change his circumstances, but instead, God gave Paul the grace he needed to turn his weakness into strength (2 Corinthians 12:7–10).  Our Lord prayed in Gethsemane that the cup might be removed and it was not; yet the Father gave Him the strength He needed to go to the cross and die for our sins.

2.    Pray with Song When You Are Happy vs 13b - Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. James indicated that everybody does not go through troubles at the same time:
·      God balances our lives and gives us hours of suffering and days of singing.
·      The mature Christian knows how to sing while he is suffering. (Anybody can sing after the trouble has passed.) God is able to give “songs in the night” (Job 35:10). He did this for Paul and Silas when they were suffering in that Philippian jail. “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God” (Acts 16:25).

Praying and singing were important elements in worship in the early church, and they should be important to us. Our singing ought to be an expression of our inner spiritual life.
·      The believer’s praise should be intelligent and not just the mouthing of sounds or ideas that mean nothing to them. (1 Corinthians 14:15)

·      It should be motivated by the Holy Spirit and come from the heart.  And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; (Ephesians 5:18-19)
·      Christian singing must be based on the Word of God and not simply on the clever ideas of men. (Colossians 3:16) If a song is not biblical, it is not acceptable to God. SING PRAISES!!

Please pray for our Breaking Free Youth Choir today as they are helping with VBS, performing concerts and participating in community outreach in Albuquerque, NM. 

Scripture to Claim:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Colossians 3:16

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