Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 24, 2010

"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. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins." James 5:13-20

Last words are important. Last words of important people are especially important. Last words of important people talking about important things are very important.

So, as James draws this important Book to a conclusion what do you think his focus would be?

Since he has been reminding these believers what a healthy church looks like it would stand to reason that what he says would be most important and he would center on important stuff. What important stuff should a church know in order to be healthy?

According to what he writes in these last several verses, healthy relationships are essential to a healthy church fellowship. And healthy church relationships center around prayer, praise, personal purity, and passion for spiritually unresolved people. Healthy horizontal relationships result in healthy vertical relationships. The better we get along with one another the better we will get along with God and the better we relate to God the better we will relate to others - especially believers in our fellowship.

For years I have looked at this portion of Scripture and focused on the promise for healing. God does heal. But after He heals you, then what? How do you stay healthy? How do you become more healthy?

I think this is the focus of what James is communicating as he seeks to close an important letter filled with important reminders.

Let's explore some of these things together over the next several days.

I commented on prayer yesterday but there is much more to be said about it. Prayer IS the key to a healthy relationship with God and having a healthy relationship with Him is essential to your health. Praying with others is central to healthy relationships with them. Praying together with other believers is a key component of spiritual unity and power. As you call on Him together you are bonded to Him and to one another. As you interceed to God for one another, fellowship goes to another level. Love grows. Compassion grows. Trust develops. Friendship deepens.

Those are all healthy things!

You knew prayer was important but maybe you just didn't understand HOW important it is. Now you do! So, how will this influence your prayer life? What will you do differently in your prayer life - pray tell?

The old saying is trite but true, "The family that prays together stays together" and they like it!