Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops. (James 5:13-18, NLT)
We often skim over passages like this and assume we need to do everything we can to make things happen and then, as a last resort, go to prayer to make up for what we can’t do.
This is not the picture presented here (or elsewhere in Scripture).
God invites us to begin in prayer. And this is not just a quick opening prayer to get everyone’s attention.
He invites us to lay out the problem, the challenge, the difficulty, the hurt – what it is we are dealing with – before Him. He wants us to release control of it to Him. To look for His solution. To move along the path He sees is best.
This is similar to the invitation Jesus gave in Matthew 11, where He said:
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens …” (Matthew 11:28, NLT)
This is where the solution to every problem in life begins. And, the way we come to Him is called prayer – which is simply opening our heart up to Him as we would to a Friend.
Let prayer become your go to practice in every circumstance and then let your interaction with God determine what happens next.
Pray first, then …