May 1, 2023

Check back each Monday for a short devotional with Chaplain Art Pace to help you start the week off well. 

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

James 5:13

This verse begins a section of his letter where James emphasizes the power of prayer. The fact that he needs to emphasize this shows that prayer is not natural for most Christians. But it needs to be!

As we celebrate the National Day of Prayer this week, some Christians ask when the best time is to pray. James offers two extremes in answer to that question. He says when we are down, when we are suffering in body, mind, or spirit, we should talk to God about it. In later verses he will even encourage us to engage other Christians to pray with and for us. God promises to intimately meet us when we come to him in prayer during down times.

The problem is that some Christians only pray intensely when things are not going right. James challenges us to seek the Lord just as intensely when things are going well. When we are happy or rejoicing, we should offer prayers of praise to God. We should acknowledge his grace and love towards us and give him all the glory.

An old adage says that when we stop going to church, the Devil smiles. When we stop reading the Bible, the Devil laughs. And when we stop praying, the Devil jumps for joy.

What part does prayer play when things are not going well for you? How quick are you to give God the praise and credit when good things happen to you?

Father, I know I do not come to you as often as I should. Help me to reach out to you when I am afraid, and to praise you when I see your blessings in my life. Amen.