We are in such volatility this week.
I live in Minneapolis, so we have the added issue of a young black man shot by police and the tension is pretty heavy here as well.
Beyond that “small” local issue… there is France and terrorism. ISIS. Immigration.
Governors refusing to let in Syrian refugees. The president firing back. Political candidates yelling. Facebook is just poison. Christians… Christians… yelling at each other over whether to let refugees in or not.
In the midst of this week’s turmoil has been our reading in James for MULTIPLY.
Today I was moving through the section in James 5 talking about prayer. I was using the IVP commentary as a companion moving through those verses and the author made an interesting connection between James 5:12 and the rest of the section to follow.
James 5:12 (NIV)
12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.
The author’s contention was that when pressure mounts, we can have the same tendency as the world to ratchet up the volume and “seriousness” of our argument and swearing enters in. We make silly oaths.
The answer that follows is simple…and one we don’t like. Especially in this current environment.
James 5:13–16 (NIV)
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
When? When we’re in trouble. When we’re happy. When pressure is mounting…
To which we all seem to be saying, “No thanks. I’d rather yell.”
Yelling is cathartic. Yelling makes me sound serious. Yelling helps me insult someone I’ve really wanted to insult all along but now I have a good excuse. DOG GONE IT! I LIKE YELLING! LEAVE ME ALONE! I’LL PRAY LATER!
Wow. That felt good!
But what got accomplished? Compared to stepping back and talking to the great King of all kings about any of the world’s current situations? Yelling may feel good, but it accomplishes nothing. Bullet point political rants may make the Twitter feeds, but they don’t solve the problems.
We need prayer. Desperately.