Prayer and praise
Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. James 5:13 NLT
Even before we came along in this world, the Bible has already provided practical matters. Unless God returns soon, it will continue to do so after we are gone. James continues to provide practical suggestions in matters that affects our lives. Life will not always be a mountaintop experience where we seemed to be untouched with life’s difficulties. Yet, we know that from time to time, we will go through troubles in life. James has a word for us no matter what life brings our way. When things are hard, he tells us to pray. When things are good, he tells us to praise. We can put it like this: Christians should always find themselves drawn towards God in every situation of life. This is why Paul could say that Christians could rejoice no matter what circumstances they are going through in life. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV). “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NIV). Our troubles can come in different appearance. It can be physical, mental, personal, financial, spiritual. When someone is discouraged, even with special effort he or she finds it difficult to be joyful. This is why James’ advice to anyone who is in trouble is pray. He urges us to seek strength from God in prayer. As Peter puts it, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). Prayer is the vital link that keeps us in touch with “Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2). Then, James asks, “Are any of you happy?” There will be periods of joy that follow times of sadness. “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5). When the sunshine of God’s favor rests upon us, we are filled with joyfulness and happiness. Then in those times, sing for joy. “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” (Psalm 30:11-12). During times of adversity, be patient and pray. During times of plenty, be thankful.