Prayer is to be the refuge of one, praise the safeguard of another; the whole life is to revolve, as it were, around the throne of God, whether in the night of grief or day of joy. Power In Suffering (5:13) In verse 13 James returns to the subject of suffering. The reason why some think their prayers go 'unanswered' is because they misunderstand what the Biblical nature and purpose of prayer actually is. "Is anyone among you suffering? Yet cheerfulness has its dangers. let him sing psalms. David also recognizes it in Psalm 137:2-4. (13) We now pass on to advice of different kinds—to the heavy-laden or light-hearted, to the suffering and afflicted. These are the richest methods of letting forth our abounding nature within the sphere of the blessed and divine. Although perplexing to some, Jas. Mental excitement is neither right nor wrong, any more than physical hunger or thirst. Let them pray. Anything you can teach me on this will be greatly appreciated. 5:14, 15). "THE EPISTLE OF JAMES" A Call To Prayer And Praise (5:13-18) INTRODUCTION 1. See Romans 15:9. Is any among you afflicted? It is also appropriate to pray for strength to endure. Just voicing the frustration of hard times is good for the afflicted, just as singing is good for the merry. Oaths are not a right way of expressing one’s feelings, however strong they may be, and of whatever kind they may be. The "singing and making melody with our hearts to the Lord" of which St. Paul writes to the Ephesians [Ephesians 5:19] is all that is necessary; "giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father." James 5:13-20. The prayer of faith for the restoration of an erring brother. let him sing psalms: literally, ‘let him praise.’ The primary meaning of the word is to touch, then to touch the strings of the harp, to praise. They must sing praises (compare Ephesians 5:18-19; Colossians 3:16; Romans 15:9). 5:13-20 is actually a practical passage in which James tells Christians how to respond appropriately in certain scenarios. The word rendered ‘afflicted’ is a general term, denoting all kinds of affliction—sickness, pain, bereavement, disappointment, persecution. EXEGESIS: THE CONTEXT: Chapter 5 started with warnings to the rich, who will soon “weep and howl for (the) miseries that are coming on (them),” because the Lord has heard the cries of the laborers whom the rich have defrauded (5:1-6). What I mean is that James 5:13 is about you personally entering into the presence of God in both good and bad times. We should pray for ourselves, praise God, and invite the spiritual leaders of our churches to pray for us when we are sick, or spiritually weak. Let us take care that our own behavior is such as not to irritate others. let him pray, prayer being the natural resort of the afflicted. There are some religious groups which engage in "healing services" today, and use oil to anoint the sick to produce a miracle. The word for suffering probably refers to a broad category which includes all different kinds of suffering. James 5:15-16. It literally signifies to be of good mind; hence free from care. [Note: Hodges, The Epistle . Missionaries tell us that this is a frequent difficulty in their work. Prayer and praise, or (in one word) worship, according to St. James, is the Christian remedy for "allaying or carrying off the fever of the mind." James tells us that prayer is the answer for suffering. Present middle imperative, "let him keep on praying"-instead of cursing or calling down a curse on his persecutors. Is any merry? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. James tells us that prayer is the answer for suffering. "Let him sing praises"-"Let him keep on singing" (Robertson p. 64). From this it follows that when the idolater has been induced to substitute the worship of God for the worship of idols, there still remains an immense amount to be done. 2. Neither a heated mind nor a heated body can without danger be kept heated, or treated as if it was at its normal temperature. God is not just an errand boy to help human need, but one who deserves worship and praise at all times (Philippians 4:4; Philippians 4:6; Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)" (Davids p. 192). For afflictions ought to stimulate us to pray; prosperity supplies us with an occasion to praise God. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group. There are times when a person is not in the "mood" for singing and James recognizes that truth in this verse. in good heart and spirit, in a good frame of mind, as well as in prosperous circumstances, in soul, body and estate: let him sing psalms; let him not only be inwardly joyful, as he should be in prosperity, and be thankful to God for his many mercies, temporal and spiritual, he enjoys; but let him express it vocally, and melodiously, by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs: not that these are the only persons that are to sing psalms, or this the only time, any more than that afflicted persons are the only ones that are to pray, or the time of affliction the only time of prayer; but as affliction more especially calls for prayer, so spiritual joy, and rejoicing in prosperous seasons, for singing of psalms: weeping, and singing of psalms, were thought, by the Jews, inconsistent. James 5:13. Analysis Just as for Solomon, the letter and its vision of God's faithfulness begins with the exercise of prayer for God's gift of wisdom. James 5:13-16 - NIV: Is anyone among you in trouble? So much of life is filled with either vexation or pleasure, that one who has learned to carry out the directions here given of turning suffering into prayer, and cheerfulness into praise, will have gone a long way towards realizing the Apostolic command, "Pray without ceasing." Solomon likewise had the thought in mind when he spoke of the inappropriateness of the man "that singeth songs to an heavy heart" ( Proverbs 25:20). But it has never occurred to them, nor have their priests impressed upon them, that their lives must be in accordance with their worship, or that the one has any connection with the other, any more than the color of their clothes with the amount that they eat and drink. Grasping that verse, and its meaning, is crucial to understanding what James is and is not saying in this passage. wisdom for a blue jean faith “So confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. Already in 5:7 James had addressed the issue of suffering. Next it came to mean to sing to the harp; and finally to sing., whether with or without a stringed accompaniment. Concluding instructions, 5:13-20. Here perhaps it specially refers to inward affliction—low spirits, in contrast to merry. All of us are apt to draw far too strong a line of distinction between Church and home, between Sunday and week-day, between the time that we spend on our knees and that which we spend in work and recreation. James is going to reveal to us how we can have this patient endurance. Power In Suffering (5:13) In verse 13 James returns to the subject of suffering. He who is cheerful has indeed great reason to bless and praise God. It may be that listening to the afflicted will help the merry to better realize how blessed they are and help them to appreciate their blessings more. James says it will "save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven." James 5:13-20. In the Scriptures, however, the word properly denotes "cheerful, pleasant, agreeable," and is applied to a state of mind free from trouble - the opposite of affliction - happy, Proverbs 15:13, Proverbs 15:15; Proverbs 17:22; Isaiah 24:7; Luke 15:23-24, Luke 15:29, Luke 15:32. psallo. 1, 2). Let him sing psalms - That is, if anyone is happy; if he is in health, and is prospered; if he has his friends around him, and there is nothing to produce anxiety; if he has the free exercise of conscience and enjoys religion, it is proper to express that in notes of praise. Commentary on Mark 9:38-50. 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