James 5:13-19 Going Full Circle
James shares the BEST way to support one another in the body; through prayer. Prayer and praise are like the blood system of the body.
When I was thinking about our prayer and praise I was given the image of the body’s circulatory system. Our arteries carry blood that is full of oxygen away from the heart and lungs to nourish every cell in the body. As the blood travels along it shares its life giving gift along the way. It doesn’t have to go outside the body to manufacture this gift. It simply hast to return to the heart and lungs on a regular basis. As the blood passes the oxygen it is carrying to the cells it picks up the waste product of carbon dioxide and brings it back to the heart and lungs to expel.
This carrying to and from the cells is like praise and prayer to me. In the presence of the Heart there is “fuel” to share with the body. Praise flows out on the full blood cells. It is the gift of joy that comes directly from being in contact with our Source. As it moves through the body extolling the wonders the Heart passed to it, it hear the needs of every cell it comes in contact with. Those needs are then carried these back to the Heart in prayer. The Heart received EVERY prayer sent to it and deals with it. The return voyager is also often carrying the sin back to the Heart. EVERY ONE sent to the Heart is dealt with in love too. The result of dealing with what was brought to the Heart is that the flow is once again filled with praise to bring back to every member of the body.
Unlike our body, where each cell has to wait for a blood cell to make that exchange for it, we can EACH come to the Father with our needs. We don’t have to wait on an emissary to carry our needs to the Father. Jesus tells us we can come boldly before the Throne and make our requests known (Hebrews 4:16).
But there is strength in numbers too. “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sin, he will be forgiven” (verse 14-15). The one who is sick asks his brother to help bring his petition to the Father. Not because he is unworthy to do so himself but because he needs their support to his faith.
DO NOT be deceived here. James is NOT saying that by having a prayer sent through the elders is a sure way of getting it answered YOUR way. It is not a guarantee that the person will be healed of his/her disease. God has more ways of “raising him up” than just physical healing. Sometimes that “raising up” is a spiritual lift instead. Placing peace into the process where there was once none. “It is appointed for a man to die once, and after that comes judgement” (Hebrews 9:27). Life with the Father is BEYOND comprehension and promises no more pain. This may be the way God chooses to “raise up” the person brought to Him in prayer. But you can be CERTAIN He hears EVERY word and intent behind our prayers.
Back to the exchange and relationship between praise and prayer. Because of time spent with the Father and answered prayers, praise is generated. That praise, when shared gives hope and builds faith for others to also bring their needs to the Father. Without His praises being shared, none would know of the gifts He wants to give. And if no requests were ever made of Him, none would know of His faithfulness, grace and mercy. It is a circular flow and must be maintained on both sides for the other side to continue its progress too. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God” (Philippians 4:6). It takes both sides, just like in works and faith; prayer and praise go hand in hand.
Thank You Father for giving me a picture of Your process. Thank You for EVERY answered prayer; even the ones where You said no. Those are sometimes the hardest ones to generate praise at the moment, but looking back they were some of the most rewarding. The “no” or “not yet” set the stage for better things up ahead. Thank You too Father for the ones answered in advance of me even asking. Those seem to generate the most amazing praise responses!
Thank You that I have the opportunity to sing Your praises. Some days those praises just bubble out because of time spent together, without even considering “what have You done for me lately” attitudes. Just being with You is enough! Thank You for pouring Your praise into my spirit in the form of songs; especially when my day is tough. Those songs, when sent back to You change EVERYTHING, especially my attitude. They are my prayer and the beginning again of praise. Thank You for honoring them every time for me. Keep me singing Lord. Singing my heart to You and Your praise to anyone in earshot. It does this body good!