Is any among you afflicted? let him pray– James 5:13
As James writes, from his pastor’s heart, to the people of God, his entire letter is full of practical instruction and direct admonition. He does not have a flowery style or a theoretical bent; he is interested only in getting clear, candid counsel into the hands and hearts of believers.
And when he comes to the matter of affliction—gut-wrenching, spirit-pounding, heart-crushing affliction—this practical pastor gives his guidance in only three words: let him pray.
“Is that it?” we might ask. What about formulating an exit strategy? What about checking all our options for circumventing the pain? What about gathering a support group to cheer us up and cheer us on? The greatest therapy, the surest solution, the sweetest healing that we will find, James says, is in fervent and honest and faith-full conversation with God.
James is not suggesting a momentary, fleeting mention of our trial—perhaps in the middle of blessing our breakfast food—as the answer to affliction. The verb he uses is in the present tense: let him, in other words, continually be praying.
Perhaps you know what it is like to be so pressed by a sorrow or pain or trial that you pray, not only as you breathe, but in order to be able to keep on breathing. There are times when God’s people truly find him their only source of strength, of life, of purpose, and of joy. They pray, not because they have to, but because they can’t not pray.
Whether your affliction is earth-shattering or hardly-worth-mentioning, take your trial to God in prayer. And out of the fountain of close communion with your Father will flow the calming, refreshing, restoring waters of spiritual renewal.