Prayer and Praise….
In James 5:13, we are given a reminder about prayer and praise:
Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise. -James 5:13, NAB
The idea is simple: turn to prayer in your times of suffering, and turn to praise in your times of joy. But if it’s that simple, why do we need this reminder? Because far too often, we forget about God’s role in our lives, and we fail to do either of these.
In our suffering, we tend to wallow in self-pity. When it gets really bad, we may even claim that God has forgotten about us or is punishing us for some reason. We tell the entire world about our agonies – except God. We continue to leave Him out of the picture.
As our situations begin to turn around, we leave little room for God in our lives again. Now, we begin to take credit for all of our successes and give no credit to God. It’s impossible to praise God when we are too busy patting ourselves on the back.
Obviously, neither of these situations will lead to fruitful spiritual lives. What’s the solution? It’s as simple as James 5:13.
If anyone understands suffering, it is Jesus Christ. Imagine the pain and agony He faced during His trial and time on the cross. We can take comfort, then, when we approach Him with our own sorrows. He will comfort us to ease the pain and send the Holy Spirit to guide us past the situation.
Once we emerge from our trials into times of joy, we cannot forget how we got there. We cannot lose sight of Christ’s role in our lives. He is worthy of our praise, and we should feel free to sing, dance, and tell the world about the amazing grace we have received.
Prayer and praise is a simple concept. Pray to God in our times of need, and praise Him when He carries us out of them. As simple as it sounds, putting it into practice can be a lot more difficult than we ever imagined. Never give up on Christ because He will never give up on you.