Occasionally, we will reprint prior devotions that now reflect on the coming lectionary texts. This is a reprint from a devotion originally published on March 9, 2013.
Prayer: I spend these moments in quiet time with you, Lord, and ask that you answer my prayers. Amen.
Reading: James 5: 13-16 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: If you suffering, if you are happy, if you are sick, or if you are a sinner, this verse tells you that you should pray with others to help you get through the hard times. You should praise your joys and confess your sins. Sometimes it is hard to pray with others. You may find it easier to pray to the Lord alone.
But praying together has merits. Once, I was discussing a troublesome situation with a friend. After a period of conversing, my friend said, "Let's pray about it." So we did. We stopped what we were doing and turned to God, asking for God's help for both of us to deal with this particular situation. No one had ever done that with me before. But it was a good experience.
We also teach our summer staff to "pray on the go." Because counselors are constantly on the go, they may not feel they have the time to stop and spend time in prayer. So, we tell them that they can pray on the go. When they see something lovely—a flower, an animal, a rock, a camper—they should just name it and thank God either silently or out loud. “That is a beautiful wild violet—thanks, God.” “Tami just helped Aaron get that fish off the hook, God is good.” We also remind them that there will be times on the go which are a bit frightening, or confusing. In those cases they should think or voice, “I need help, God.”
We should not be afraid to see those around us who are suffering and offer a prayer with them. To recognize a bad situation and want to help a person out by praying, like my friend did, is commendable. The power of prayer is alive and well in the lives of God's faithful! --Chad Hershberger, Camp Mount Luther Director
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