Written by Erik Gernand
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16b
What do you do when something great is happening in your life?
How do you respond when life gets hard?
For most of us, whether things are going well, or not, we are predictable in our responses. We develop patterns over time that help us respond to and navigate, all sorts of life circumstances.
Many of these responses are simply what we’ve learned from people we look up to – our parents, teachers, the prevailing culture, etc… For example, when we’re sick, our natural response may be to head to the doctor or reach for something in the medicine cabinet. When something great happens, we might call a friend to celebrate. If we’re failing a class, we hire a tutor or study harder. If we’re down in the dumps emotionally, we might reach for the ice cream.
Often, the things we do are good and natural. It’s wise to head to the doctor if you’re not feeling well. It’s good to call friends to celebrate some great news. Even so, it’s important for people of faith not to bypass the first thing that is the best response in every situation.
We should pray.
Is any of you in trouble…happy…sick…needing forgiveness…let them pray (see James 5:13-16).
In all honesty, there are some situations I find myself in where praying is not my knee-jerk first response. Over the course of my life, I’ve developed habits that correspond to the patterns of the world. But James is encouraging me, and possibly you as well, to establish a new order of response in every situation – pray first. Then go from there.
Perhaps the next step will be to the doctor, or a tutor (or some ice cream!), but that’s the next step. The first step is to pray.
And may God meet you in your prayer and offer you healing, help, wholeness, grace, forgiveness, or even his very own presence to help you celebrate something great.