Wednesday, August 27, 2014


James 5:13-18 (The Voice)
Are any in your community suffering? They should pray. Are any celebrating? They should sing praises to God. Are any sick? They should call the elders of your church and ask them to pray. They will gather around and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. Prayers offered in faith will restore them from sickness and bring them to health. The Lord will lift them up from the floor of despair; and if the sickness is due to sin, then God will forgive their sins. So own up to your sins to one another and pray for one another. In the end, you may be healed. Your prayers are powerful when they are rooted in a righteous life.
Remember Elijah? He was a man, no different from us. He prayed with great intensity asking God to withhold the rain; God answered his prayers and did not allow a single drop of rain to fall for three and a half years. It did not rain until Elijah prayed again for God to open the skies, when the rain came down and the earth produced a great crop.

 Listening Lord,
you invite us to pray for one another:
To pray for the suffering, the celebrating, and the sick.
To pray for leaders of nations, states, and towns.
To pray for enemies, persecutors, and haters.

James tells us,
"Your prayers are powerful
when they are rooted in a righteous life"
Then James compares us
with the GREAT prophet Elijah.
And I think to myself,
"Oh, that my prayers were as powerful as Elijah."
James says they are.
I'm not so convinced.

But then I'm reminded
of what one father said to Jesus,
"Lord, I believe; help my unbelief."

So today I pray --
I pray for the sick people in my community.
I pray for healing.
I pray for the suffering people.
I pray for comfort.
I pray for those who celebrate good news.
I pray for JOY.
I pray for leaders
of the world, my nation, my state, my county, my town.
I pray for wisdom.
I pray for my enemies.
I pray for compassion.
I pray for those who persecute others.
I pray for changed hearts and lives.
I pray for those who hate.
I pray for love.

take my simple prayers and make them powerful.
Take my simple life and make it meaningful.
Take my simple acts and make them transformative.
Take my simple words and make them grace.

I'm reminded of the hymn:
Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee. 
Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose. 
Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

A brief note about the translation of the Bible I chose.
"The Voice" is a translation that I am enjoying.
Like "The Living Bible" it seeks to put the Bible in common language.
My favorite part is the way it frames conversations and narratives in the Bible
as if I am reading a script for a play or drama.
(James quoted above is note unique but see Exodus 3 for example.)

Such a format opens up those narratives to be acted out more easily (thinking readers theater)
But it also helps me hear the interchange between characters in the Bible stories.
Another tool for seeking to understand the stories of faith!

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