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October 29 – Is anyone among you suffering?

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises – James 5:13

Scripture reading: James 5:13-15

In life, our emotions are often up and down. In both cases James encourages us to go to the Lord; to pray when we are suffering and to sing praises to God when things are going well. For only the Lord can truly alleviate our suffering. When things are going well, it is a gift from our Lord, for every good and perfect gift is from our heavenly Father.

At times it is hard to pray when things are very disturbing. Therefore our heavenly Father has given us leaders, elders, and pastors to help in these areas so that when we are sick or struggling we can call the elders or pastor to pray with us. The oil that James talks about represents being set apart for the Lord. So the elder who comes to pray is also to encourage the sick saint to know that they are set apart for the Lord, and that despite the illness or struggle they are having, they are right with the Lord.

Telling us that the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick emphasizes that when the elder comes in faith as an under-shepherd of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are to see that his prayer has meaning to help the sick person first of all in his/her relationship with God. The elder’s prayer is to help the sick saint to know that he/she is well with the Lord despite their sickness, and if they have sinned, he/she is forgiven through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Suggestions for prayer

That we would see the need to pray when we are suffering and sing praises to the Lord when we are cheerful and seek the help of the elders when this is hard.

Pastor Richard Bultje is a United Reformed missionary and pastor in the River of Life church plant in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Pastor Richard and his wife, Yukyung moved to Niagara Falls in November 2012 with their three children Calvin, Isaiah and Gloria. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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