Journal Entry ~ 08/15/18

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. - James 5:13

James’ direction in our trials is simple and direct - if we are struggling, we are to pray. We’re not to try to solve the problem ourselves, we’re not to run to our friends, we’re to pray. When the storms of life hit, first and foremost, we are to stop and pray. Being a problem solver, prayer isn’t always my first response. I’m working on it, and I’ve definitely grown in my prayer life, but far too often, my initial response is still to solve the problem myself when the chaos begins. If only we would remember His great promises in the moments of heartache and turn to Him first in prayer. God knows and allows each and every difficult situation in our lives, and He does it because He wants our hearts. 

Likewise, when we are cheerful, we are to sing His praises for the abundant blessings He has poured over our lives. But, again, far too often, we celebrate when things happen in our favor without considering Him. When things are going our way, we so quickly forget our desperate need for Him, and we begin to take responsibility for the fact that things are going smoothly in our lives. We pat ourselves on the back for our wise decisions, and don’t give God the credit for every good and perfect gift that He sends form above. James reminds us we are to sing His praises - singing is done out loud for all to hear. Just as God allows trials into our lives to draw us closer to Him, He brings blessings into our lives so that others may witness His goodness. If you have been blessed, let those in your life know of the faithfulness of your God. 

Prayer never ceases to amaze me. It has such great power to bring about incredible changes in our lives. I've always had some sort of a prayer life - even before I was a believer, I was somewhat of a pray-er, but I didn't really understand the power of prayer. At that time, my prayer life wasn't so much about a relationship with Christ, or the avenue through which He changed and molded me, it was more like God was my genie in a bottle. My prayers were most often a list of what I wanted in my life, with an expectation that He does what I ask. 

But, in His Mercy, He has grown me in and through prayer. He has blessed me by giving me a front row seat to the power of prayer through praying friends, and He has answered my prayers faithfully and in unimaginable ways. I have an immovable confidence that prayer works every single time. Prayer may not always work in the way we expect, but prayer does work.  In fact, prayer more often doesn't work the way we expect, but it always works for good. Always. 

Prayer isn't a magic wand - though I will freely admit there are many days that I would like it to be. I would love to be able to lay out my list of desires in front of Him and have Him grant every one of them, but the reality is that His plan is so much better than the suggestions we throw out in prayer. More importantly - and this is key - the work He does in our hearts as we humbly submit to our plan and our will to Him can only take place in prayer. When we humbly place the cries of our hearts into the hands of our mighty God, something wonderful happens. 

Prayer may not instantly fix our problems, but it will invariably fix our eyes on the King.  God hears the cries of our hearts when we bend a knee to Him in prayer. As we bow our heads, we become more aware of the One who can fill the depths of our need with the riches of His grace, and it is in those moments that hope grows.

Press on ~ you are loved💗


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