Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. 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. James 5:13-14
Prayer may seem an insufficient response to suffering or illness. And it is. The Apostle James, having earlier in this letter counseled believers to act on their faith, to care for others, is not suggesting prayer as the only response. But we usually do not need reminders to seek the relief of suffering in direct, pragmatic ways.
We pray, not because that's all we can do, but because God knows prayer is good for us. Our lives are better when we are spiritually honest, when we bring the reality of our lives (the sufferings and the joys) to God. We benefit when we invite God to dwell with us in the reality of where we are, and when we invite the community of faith to participate in our healing.
This Sunday, like every Sunday, we lift up our cares to God and sing our thanks. God dwells in the midst of us. Pr. Hans Arnesen will preach and preside at a service of Holy Communion.
St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
85 Wayne Street (btwn Barrow & Jersey Aves)
Downtown Jersey City
Visit the ELCA Prayer Center for some suggestions about prayer.
Image: Holy Hands, Michael Bathust.