When to Pray

William C. Brownson

READ : James 5:13-15

Are any . . . suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing . . . (v. 13)

James wants a faith “for all seasons,” a relationship with God that touches every situation. Here’s the word from God he brings us today: “Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any among you cheerful, they should sing praise.”

Whatever pain or trouble you may be bearing, bring it to God in prayer. You’ll be in good company. Listen to the anguished cries of the psalmist, “All who see me mock me

. . . I am in despair.” Or Jeremiah, the weeping prophet: “They have dug a pit to take me, and laid snares for my feet.” Best of all, listen to our Lord, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

What about when you’re cheerful, when the sun is bright and all is well? Sing God’s praises. Celebrate his goodness. If we’re tempted in adversity to renounce God, we’re tempted even more in prosperity to forget him. The psalmist put it well: “It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord.”

What’s the message? In our worst hours and our best ones—and in all those in between— let’s lift our hearts to the One who is our help and our exceeding joy. God is the strength of our hearts and our portion forever.


Lord, teach us in all of life to pour out our hearts before you.