James 5:13-16 – Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he 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 man is powerful and effective.
What if… the first response everyone had to every situation was to pray or praise? When you are threatened by trouble, when you are sick, when you may have sinned… what if you immediately went to God in prayer – every time? What if… when all the world is bright, and things are going along wonderfully, everything is turning up roses, and you are really happy… what if your first impulse was to praise God, to sing and make music in your heart toward God?
Being the owner of a couple of horses and a donkey, I’ve learned that they thrive on three basic things: safety, comfort and food. If they feel safe, are free from discomfort, and are provided plenty of good food, we usually have happy healthy cooperative animals. But if they feel threatened, if there is a burr under the saddle, or they aren’t well fed, they can be powerfully difficult to manage. You see, they’re animals! Strangely, people are often the same way. If they feel threatened, have a bee in their bonnet, they are aggravated, or sick, or hungry – they can be powerfully difficult to manage! But there is a difference. People can learn to pray, horses can’t! When people are feeling secure, comfortable, healthy and well fed, we (like horses) are usually happy, healthy and cooperative. But again, there is a difference. People can learn to praise and make music in their hearts to the Lord, horses can’t – and donkeys are too stubborn!
What if… instead of fighting, running away, gossiping, coveting, lying, stealing or cheating when things aren’t working out for them, what if people went to God in prayer? Let’s be personal. Have you learned to do this? Are you teaching your children and others in your sphere of influence to do this by your example? My calculated guess is that, if we had a revival of prayer and praise in our culture we’d see fewer events like Tuscon, AZ and the senseless murder right here at our own University of Rochester this past weekend. So, “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” You will be surprised how powerful and effective righteous and honest prayers can be!
- Humbly meet together with at least 1 or 2 others to confess your sins and pray.
- Join our 6:00pm Thursday night prayer team (in prayer if not in person).
- Stop horsing around and confess your neglect of prayer being your first response.
- Pray for the Good News families of the week: Laura Mohr (Ashley), Aaron Montanaro, Jon & Rachel Perryman (Kaitlyn).
- Pray for the Spirit of God to move in your heart to remind you to pray first in all life’s challenges.
- Thank God for the gift of prayer and that He hears and responds to humble, sincere, and honest petitions.
- Join in with our Sunday prayer services to pray for God’s presence and blessing.
- Ask God to help you fill your heart and mind with musical praise that will bring honor to him, joy to you, and blessing to others.
- Attend “In Touch” Prayer meeting at GNCC at 10:30am or join in prayer at that time.
- Pray that others will see the powerful effects of prayer in your life and will be inspired to make prayer their first response as well.
- Pray that God will convict you when you react to life’s challenges and neglect to pray first!
Prayer Challenge: Ask God to give you a new sensitivity to His Spirit that will prompt you to pray first in every troubling and challenging circumstance. Learn to listen to that inner voice that says, “Pray!” Then follow through with obedience to that voice. When all is well, don’t just take it for granted – Praise God! Gain a new sensitivity and appreciation for God’s gift of sunshine in your life and let your heart be full of praise to Him for all the good and pleasant things you may be enjoying!