Great Plains Daily Devotional for 12/16/2022: James 5:13-18

Today please be in prayer for

University of Nebraska, Kearney Campus Ministry
Gateway District
Alma, NE UMC
Republican City UMC
Gateway District
Hollinger UMC
Gateway District
Amherst, NE UMC
Gibbon Bethel UMC
Gateway District

Today's Lectionary Text

James 5:13-18

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.

Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

Today's Devotional

I bought this little plaque some years ago which reads: “If life gets too hard to stand, kneel.” Kneeling in prayer is a sign of reverence, submission, and an honor to God. I was taught to bow down in prayer in my formative years and I still cherish it. The apostle James demonstrated the power of prayer and etched it. Historians report that James spent so much time in prayer. His knees became hard and calloused like a camel. He was a prayer warrior. I can equate his knees with “Goat knees which are so bent and soft.”

Why pray? Prayer is engrained in our relationship with God. That is our vertical connection with God. James highlights a divine call to pray in trouble, joy, sickness, and any season of life. The ones experiencing trouble are encouraged to pray. Prayer handles troubles powerfully and soothes the heart. James strengthens the correlation between prayer and faith. Genuine faith is demonstrated by a prayer dependence upon God in various life circumstances. James asks, “Is anyone suffering?” Suffering implies pain, and tested faith. It is internal turmoil of one facing difficult situations. James encourages us to pray in our suffering. Advent seems dark to some people who had a difficult year. Prayer enlightens the darkest experiences of life and connects humanity with a loving God. Therefore, prayer transforms and brightens the darkest moments of life.

While some of us are suffering, others are cheerful. James commands the cheerful to be joyful. The Bible says: “Let him sing praise.” I assume this verse does not shift the subject from prayer to singing. I learned in my spiritual formation years that the singing is “prayer”. A healthy Christian is a singing Christian. A healthy church is a singing church. We sing prayers to God in different life circumstances. That is our adoration to our Almighty God. Music is everywhere this Advent season. Get in shopping malls and everywhere you hear prayers through music. Prayers are poured out through various lyrics of Christmas carols. Just listen and adore the anticipation of the promised child.

Lastly, prayer is solidified or anchored in faith. “Prayer of faith will heal the one who is sick.” This Advent, we pray for our military families, cancer patients, the grieving families, nations at war, the less privileged, homeless, and suffering children around the world. Remember, there is no distance in prayer.

-- Rev. Ever Mudambanuki
Nebraska City First UMC

emudambanuki@greatplainsumc.org

Prayer for Reflection

O God, we thank you for teaching us to pray always. Help us to spend our time on our knees praying for all life situations. We pray for your presence during this Advent season. Amen.

 

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