Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. James 5:13-15 NLT
Every believer must endure afflictions in life. These afflictions may not be because of sin or chastening from God. Instead of complaining, grumbling or criticizing other believers because of our difficult circumstances, we are called upon to pray. It is easy to blame others when things are not working well in our lives. “Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged” (James 5:9). In whatever circumstance we might find ourselves in, prayer to God is the appropriate thing to do. Not only is James emphasizing the importance of prayer during stressful circumstance such as illness, but he also highlighted praise in joyful moments. No matter what the nature of our hardship is, whether it’s persecution because of faith in God, poverty, or spiritual struggle, we should pray. This is always God’s remedy for He will provide deliverance, if not strength to persevere. Paul asked God to remove his difficulties but God’s answer was to provide him the grace he needs so his weakness can become strength. “I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). The Lord Jesus Christ at the Garden of Gethsemane asked the Father to remove the cup of suffering instead the Father gave him the strength as he goes through the agony of the cross for the forgiveness of our sin. The difficulties in life should cause us to look up to God as well as times of good experiences where we praise Him. Then James selected a specific cause of suffering which is illness and encouraged the one afflicted to call on the elders of the church to pray. What James is stating from the text is not a blanket formula for many times this process has been applied and there was not healing. If healing does not take place, it is not because of the lack of faith but it could be that God has a different plan regarding the affliction.