Summary: These verses are an appeal to come freely & boldly with prayer & praise before the Throne of Grace in all life's situations. Life is to be handled with prayer. It does not matter if you're suffering, cheerful, sick or reclaiming sinners; life is to be han
JAMES 5: 13-16
THE POWER OF PRAISE & PRAYER
After James' stern rebukes he continues his words of compassion and counsel for his devoted striving brothers. He has already addressed prayer (1:5-8, 4:2,3). Here we find further instruction on the high and holy privilege of prayer.
These verses are an earnest appeal to come freely and boldly with prayer and praise before the Throne of Grace in all life's situations. Life is to be handled with prayer (CIT). It does not matter if you're suffering, cheerful, sick or reclaiming sinners; life is to be handled with prayer. Pray is to be both for ourselves and others, out of a sense of need and gratitude. It is to be offered in faith and is often to be joined with confession of sin. It is best accomplished by those who are energized through a daily living out of God's will. Powerful prayer comes from this right relationship with God. And for those who learn to pray effectively nothing lies beyond its grasp, because nothing lies beyond the grasp of God.
I. PRAYER AND PRAISE, 13.
II. THE SICK RESTORED, 14-16a.
As an antidote to suffering and as a way to maintain cheerfulness, James exhorts us to pray in verse 13. "Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises"
The question, is any among you afflicted, is a reference to those in any kind of trouble, be it physical, mental, personal (financial) or relational. The context specifically addresses the exhortation to those going through ordinary trials, spiritual warfare or persecution. The Greek word means "to suffer misfortune " or "to have hard experiences" (2 Tim 2:9). It emphasizes the internal distress caused by outward circumstances. As God's people go through life, they often endure difficulties that are not the result of sin or the chastening of God.
What should we do when we find ourselves in such trying circumstances? We must not grumble and criticize...nor should we blame the Lord. We should pray, or more accurately to the text, we should keep on praying. Sufferers must not stop their prayers after a prayer for help, but they are to live in an attitude of prayer.
"Prayer can remove affliction, if that is God's will. But prayer can also give us the grace we need to endure troubles and use them to accomplish God's perfect will. God can transform troubles into triumphs. "He gives greater grace" James said (4:6). Paul prayed that God might change his circumstances, but instead, God gave Paul the grace he needed to turn his weakness into strength (2 Cor. 12:7-10). Our Lord prayed in Gethsemane that the cup might be removed, and it was not; yet the Father gave Him the strength He needed to go to the cross and die for our sins." (Wiersbe, p. 382)
The Christian life is not one of constant suffering. Thus James continues with is anyone cheerful? The Greek word means "to be in good spirits or cheerful" and could be translated "Is anyone in a happy mood" (Williams).
Prosperity and pleasant experience in life can cause a person to forget God due to complacency or worldly contentment. The light-hearted are prone to be lightheaded. Instead life's good times are given that we might sing songs of praise to God as the giver of all blessings. We are to "make music" (Eph 5:19, 1Cor 14:15) in our soul. This command does not demand the use of music but calls for the expression of words or thoughts that praise or thank God.