James – Wednesday, April 8
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.
Different life circumstances require different spiritual responses. To be “in trouble” means to suffer hardship, affliction, or difficulty. That person should pray. Trusting prayer will give him the wisdom and strength he needs to grow from and out of his troubles.
The happy (cheerful) person should sing songs of praise. This will be a witness to others of the goodness of God, who made him cheerful, and will prolong his cheerfulness (Proverbs 15:13).
The sick (the feeble, weakened, or diseased) person should call upon the elders of the church to pray over him with the anointing of oil. While the anointing of oil was common medicinal practice in the first century, it was also symbolic of the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:1-6). This is an act of faith all by itself, moving the person away from self-dependence toward God-dependence. If the believer also has spiritual sickness (i.e. sin) then that sin will be forgiven at the same time.
Daily Devotional Book • James Application Questions
1. How often do you assess what condition you are in? What condition are you in right now? Are you in trouble? Happy? Sick?
2. Right now, apply the instruction that corresponds to your present state. Do it by faith, and in obedience to God’s word.
3. Remember the last time you were sick. Did you call for the elders of your church? Why or why not? (If that is not the practice of your church, perhaps you can lovingly and respectfully suggest that your church begin making this prayer available for the people.)