The elders will pray

Because of the ridiculously long hours running a take-away shop demands, I try to take off one day a week which is a Tuesday. I don’t always succeed but I try. This Tuesday I woke up feeling so sick. It didn’t take long to realize that is was a tummy bug. The kind that leaves you feeling like a washed out rag and you wonder if you will ever return to normal. My first reaction was, “This isn’t fair, why do I have to spend my day off feeling so bad?” Obviously feeling bad for one day isn’t going to have a major influence on my life and there are many people who feel much worse than I do every day. Not that that’s what I wanted to hear or even think. I stumbled my way through the day and at least I’m starting to feel a little bit more human.

Sometimes we’re in a position of helplessness and that’s how I felt today. I didn’t have the presence of mind to even pray for myself. James 5:14, “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 sins he will be forgiven.” My day of sickness wasn’t serious but I think sometimes when we are sick the sickness just totally overwhelms us and we are unable to think straight. That’s when we need to call for the elders to pray for us. By elders I think we can include serious Christians whom we trust to pray for us. I read about a woman who had cancer and was just so terribly unwell. A friend of hers told her to just do whatever it was she had to do and that she would cover her with prayer. She recovered completely. How awesome to have a friend like that.

To pray for your friends is such a privilege. I often wonder if we really pray the way we say we do. There are prayer worriers who make their life’s mission prayer and they are a group of unselfish dedicated people who seldom attract much attention. They are the people who can shift atmospheres and who you can rely on come wind, rain or shine. I do think that we should pick our prayers though. We should have a clear vision of who and what we are willing to pray for. Most of us receive all these social media requests to pray. Some of them are hoaxes and have been travelling around cyberspace for years. Others are of people we have never heard of and we aren’t even sure of where and when they originated. The problem with the internet is that anyone can post anything and it may be real or it may not. Then I don’t even want to go to the posts which say things like, “If you love Jesus, type Amen.” That’s just rubbish. Surely you don’t have to prove that you love Jesus by typing a comment. Or the others that tell you if you don’t forward this post you are proving that you actually love the devil and you’ll have years of bad luck. Makes me want to scream out loud.

Let me return to what I want to say. We should decide who and what we need to pray for and do a good job with that. We obviously pray for our families and the ones who are nearest and dearest to us. We also need to pray for our church and the area we live in as well as the government. In his letters to the churches Paul says that he prays for them. Philippians 1:3-5, “I thank my God in all remembrance of you, always in every prayer for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” And then of course we are commanded to pray for our enemies. Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” These two prayers directly oppose one another. The one is prayer for those who are in accordance and the other for those opposed to you. I just think that it has great value to pray for those who are opposed to God because they are the ones who need prayer. I don’t want to say that people who are serving God and can pray for themselves don’t need prayer, but if you pray for your enemies and they start serving God as a result of that prayer, what a victory! At the end of the day each one of us has to decide who they are going to pray for but we should try to have a list which isn’t so long and overwhelming that we feel like giving up before we even begin. May your prayers go directly to the throne room of God and be answered.

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