Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, James 5:13-14 NABRE
James throughout his letter has spoken about the bond between love of God and love of neighbor, largely focusing on the second and how we should conduct ourselves in human relationships. We ought to help the needy, control our tongue, avoid injustice to workers and attachment to wealth. James closes the letter emphasizing the community’s relationship with God. Christians should be careful to honor God’s name, to pray at all times, and to confess sins. In the quoted verse James is exhorting prayer in every circumstance. James challenges the reader to find themselves in three categories, the suffering, the good spirited or those sick and James guides each person to the prayer suited for their circumstance. If you suffer, which is any hardship, then pray. If you are in good spirits you should sing to God with all your voice and heart. If you are sick, also pray, but in this case James calls for more than individual prayer, he recommend prayer of the of presbyter, an office holder in the church. The church is the people of God who gather in the name of Jesus, the body of Christ. The leaders would receive the request for prayer and pray but also share the need for prayer to the entire community. The presbyter visits the sick person anointing them with oil, a visible sign seeking healing and blessing of the sick and perhaps dying.
No matter what, prayer is always called for and invokes God as our partner. Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Do you pray for every circumstance of your life? Do you thank God or only pray when in need?No matter what, prayer is always called for and invokes God as our partner. Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Click To Tweet
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