A few weeks ago I had a coworker make a comment about prayer being useless in a crisis. He was talking about how in the aftermath of a disaster the people often ask for thoughts and prayers. Ultimately, he was saying sending those affected by tragedy our thoughts and prayers was useless.
His statement bothered me profoundly. I don’t agree with his statement because to seek the help of the creator the universe is never useless. In fact, the first line under James’s prayer of faith in chapter 5 verse 13 is, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.”
Yet prayer should never be just for when we need things or when life isn’t going our way. The very next line in James says, “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.” As I said, I think James chapter 5 is saying that in all situations we are to seek God in prayer. It makes no difference if we’re suffering, sick, or rejoicing, we are called to pray. Why? Because its essential for our relationship with God.
What is Prayer?
Prayer is not just to ask God for things, which is what I honestly thought as a child. It’s a sacred way we get to communicate with God on a daily basis. It’s impossible to have a relationship with someone if you never talk with them. Prayer is our special way of talking with God.
My coworker spoke of prayer that way because he does not know the power of prayer. In James chapter 5 verse 16 it reads, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” He goes on to describe when Elijah, a man just like us, prayed fervently that it wouldn’t rain for 3 years in 6 months. When that time ended, he prayed again and the rains returned.
The Power of Prayer
An example in my life involves a different coworker at a previous job who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She and her husband prayed that cancer be gone in Jesus name. After she had surgery that cancer was gone and has not returned. Now she shares her testimony with others diagnosed with cancer telling them that God plays no favorites. “If he can do it for me, he can do it for you,” she tells them. There is power in prayer!
When we are close to God in prayer He can use us to help others. The last line in James chapter 5 verse 19 says, “My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings a sinner back from his wandering will save his soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”
I don’t think its’s an accident this verse is placed right after his talk on prayer.
When we are close to God in prayer He can use us as His agents to save others in the same way He already saved us. What an honor! I honestly hope to be used by God in such a way. In all my years as a Christian as far as I know I’ve not led a single soul to salvation. It’s a discouraging thought, but I have no doubt that in His timing God can use me in that way. I also know I could have influenced people I don’t know with my writing and changed their lives through that. God could have already used me to save others without me being aware of it.
Let us all trust in the power of prayer! Let us bring all our concerns and share all our joys with God. Then let’s listen carefully for His still small voice for He wants to use us to bless others.