“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 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 one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” —James 5.13-18
This is an amazing passage on prayer! Jesus told us to pray and not “lose heart”. Paul told us to pray and “lift up holy hands”. James tells us to pray in all the circumstances of life. If we are suffering, and enduring hardship, we are to pray. Whether it’s because of another that we suffer, or because of our own actions, we have a Friend upon whom we can cast ALL of our cares! Even in times of joy, we are to pray through singing praise to our Sovereign. When we are sick, we are to pray, and seek the prayers of others. How often we fail in this area.
Prayer is a discipline that no amount of academic understanding will develop. So often, we want to understand doctrine and be able to argue all the “finer points”. But if we would understand prayer, we must pray. When asked by his disciples to teach them to pray, Jesus gave them a prayer to model after. And what a prayer it is! But note that his emphasis is not on a “system” of prayer, but on crying out to our FATHER for all our needs. We have not because we ask not, and so often, when we ask, we ask wrongly out of our own lusts. But may we submit to God that he may give us godly desires that will flow out in our prayer.
Do you have a great need? Pray. Are you burdened, whether by emotion, finances, sin, or other sorrow? Pray. We have a Father who cares.