James 5:13-16 (NIV)

13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.14 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. 15 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. 16 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.

James 5:16 (NRSV)

The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

DEVOTION – Laura A. Martinsen (Virginia)

In a sermon near the beginning of Lent, our pastor suggested that instead of giving up something for Lent we take up something – some healthy habit or a practice helpful to others.  I decided to take up the habit of praying each time I heard an emergency siren.

My prayers vary in length, but they always include thanks to God for the emergency personnel – their selflessness and expertise – and a request that the lifesaving equipment they use will work as it should.  I pray that the helpers may arrive safely and that they situation they are responding to may be resolved as efficiently and effectively as possible.  I pray also for those receiving emergency help, that they stay calm and realize how best to allow the rescue workers to help.  I pray for healing and awareness that God is with them and all who are involved.  Even though one emergency siren is one too many, God is with both the helpers and the ones begin helped.

This was my Lenten practice.  For believers, many ordinary situations can become calls to prayer if we are open to God.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: What life-giving spiritual practice can I take up for Lent?

PRAYER:  Dear Lord, we are thankful for the path of prayer, by which we may come to you on behalf of our neighbors. Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: Emergency Personnel