Text for Today – James 5:13 – Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray..
What person is there among us who has never faced affliction of some kind? I am not talking about sickness or disease here. According to James, that has a different remedy. I am talking about afflictions that we could call cares, pressures, or other anxiety-like manifestations. We have all faced them at some point.
Look closely at what the Word instructs us to do in such cases. James writes, “Let him pray.” It’s really quite simply. That mean, PRAY. When pressures come, pray. When cares of this life stack up against you, pray. When afflictions of any kind come upon or against you, pray. That’s quite straightforward, isn’t it?
However, I have noticed something different from that as it relates to most church folk. In what is now more than five decades of ministry, with over half that time in the office of a pastor, I have observed that most Christians follow a traditional path where afflictions are concerned; a path that is contrary to the Word, and will therefore be non-effective in seeking the Lord’s assistance in the matter. You see, the Bible tells us that we can make the Word of God of “none effect” by following our traditions rather than complying with the Word of God. I know it sounds silly to think that we can do something that makes the powerful Word of God that saves, heals, delivers, cleanses, and enlightens, absolutely non-effective in our lives. Never forget that Jesus said that hearing the Word of God and not doing it is foolishness, and that is certainly sin.
When pressures come against you, where do you go? As a pastor, I can assure you that I loved with all my heart the congregation the Lord had given me to serve. I wanted to know their condition. I wanted to be a blessing in their lives. I wanted to pray for them and ministry to them. But PLEASE note the command of the Word. If you are afflicted (under pressure), don’t go the phone first; go to the throne first. To put it simply, pray first. Obey the Scriptures, for your obedience is better than any sacrifice, and that includes the sacrifice a pastor or elder may make to come to your side when you’re under pressure. Your obedience to
God will bring His power on the scene for you far more quickly than your pastor can pray it on the scene. God’s power can be present on the scene for you before you dial your pastor’s telephone number. So, if you’re afflicted, go to the throne first, not the phone.
Manna for Today – Luke 18:1-8; Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-23