At the end of the letter by James, he listed some encouragements for specific situations. James 5:13-15 “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” Let us look at these and other needs that you might be having.
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” Life is not always easy for you. There are many hardships that might cause you to suffer. It could be persecution from non-believers. It could be financial hardships where you do not have the money to pay your bills or pay for what you need. It could be difficult relationships that you are experiencing. It could be difficulties from your government. It could be your tasks that you are having difficulties doing what you need to do. It could be physical illness or handicaps that you have. What is it in your life that causes you to suffer? Whatever it is, the answer is to pray. Tell the Father what you see as your hardship. You can ask God for relief from those trials that you suffer. The Father might deliver you or He might give you the strength to endure your trials and ask you to have faith and trust in Him. 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” Spend time in prayer with the Father about your suffering.
“Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.” Hopefully sometimes you can be cheerful and happy. Maybe things went well with you or you received some blessing or you heard some good news. It might be natural to break out in song or whistle a happy tune. James says to sing psalms. Psalms might be one of the 150 psalms we have in the book of Psalms or it could be any spiritual song. Most spiritual songs either praise God or Jesus or they teach us some important spiritual principle. When you are cheerful, praise God in song.
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” Multiple times in our area, those who have special illnesses have called for the elders of the church and they have prayed and anointed them with oil. I do not think that the elders have special powers. I do believe that the elders should be spiritual individuals of faith. It is the prayer given in faith that we present before God that He will hear. He is the one who heals. Some illnesses may be the result of sin that needs to be repented of and forgiven. When sickness comes, seek healing from God. I don’t think it is wrong to go to a physician, but don’t forget to go to the One who made us and has the power to heal.
Are you sad or grieving because of the loss of a loved one or other source of grief? God is the God of all comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” Psalms 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” When you are sad or grieving, take your situation to God the Father and seek His comfort.
Are you anxious about what may happen in the future? Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Pray to God and put your trust in God to carry you through any future situation.
Do you have a decision to make and don’t know what to do? Ask God for wisdom. James 1:5-6 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.” Ask in faith for wisdom.
Are you discouraged? 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Regain the proper perspective that what you are going through is temporary and you can trust in God to give you that which is eternal.
I have listed just a few of the situations that you may be facing. God has given us guidance for virtually every situation in life. I encourage you to search the scriptures to find God’s guidance and then apply it in your life. Hebrews 13:5b-6 “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” Being a believer and follower of Jesus Christ is not just about going to the church assembly; it is a way of life for you to follow. God will be with you to help you.