James 5:13-18 (NRSV)

13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.

14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.
15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.
16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.
18 Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.

James 5:13 (NRSV)

13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.                            

DEVOTION – Loren Tate Mitchell (Virginia)

I confess that prayer is not the strongest of my spiritual disciplines.  I am comfortable leading prayers in worship or praying for someone who is ill.  But making a disciplined effort to spend a good amount of time in prayer is very difficult for me.  I get anxious when I sit still; my mind is not one that easily goes quiet.

But that day was important.  My husband had a big job interview, and we were both anxious.  From the time he left the house until the time he returned, I prayed for him.  I prayed through my morning routine of showering and dressing.  I prayed while I brewed my coffee, and then I sat on the couch for an hour and poured my heart out to the Lord in intercession for my husband.  It was an emotionally draining experience, but I believe it was the very best way I could have cared for my spouse.

It isn’t necessarily the way we pray that matters or whether we sit, kneel, or stand.  It isn’t about whether we speak out loud in narrative or make lists, or day one-word prayers throughout the day.  What matters most is that we do pray, intentionally and faithfully, pouring out all our joys and fears to God, who sees all, hears all, loves all.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: What matters most is not how, when, or where we pray but that we pray.

PRAYER: Friend and Redeemer, thank you for the opportunity to communicate with you through prayer.  Help us to find ways throughout the day to be in authentic relationship with you.  Amen.