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  • Shawn Thornton

Prayer in Trouble

Monday - March 22nd

Devotionals from the Book of James

Scripture to Read Today: James 5:13-20


Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray.

Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

James 5:13

Weeks before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, dozens from Calvary joined Lesli and me to tour the Holy Land. Our three kids and twelve extended family members made the trip with us. It was an incredible experience. We have all commented how blessed we were to have completed the trip just three weeks before Israel, the United States, and the rest of the world went into lockdown.

One of our best experiences visiting various biblical sites was our early morning boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. It was a perfect morning weather-wise. The Sea was calm. Scott Oatley led us in a beautiful time of worship as we floated together on the same body of water on which Jesus walked.

Two and a half years earlier, with a different group of people, our nighttime voyage on the Sea of Galilee had not been so pleasant. The fumes from the Diesel engines of the boat we used, the gentle (but constant) motion of the water, and my foolish reading of a long text of Scripture as I spoke caused intense and awful motion sickness for me. It doesn't take much for me to be overwhelmed by motion sickness. That night I had it, and I had it bad.

As the boat headed for shore after a great worship experience, I stayed near the edge of the boat and prayed. When you feel that bad and can do nothing to escape being in that kind of place with people, the overwhelming nature of being sick just gets intensified. When I say I prayed, I mean I prayed a lot!

James 5:13 says, "Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray." Simple. Clear. Helpful.

When James says, "In trouble," he uses the word for hardship or suffering. When we suffer, God encourages us to pray. When we feel awful, we can turn to Him and cry out in our pain and discomfort. I did just that the night I got so motion sick on the Sea of Galilee. My prayer was not public or formal. Under my breath, I muttered over and over again, "Lord help me! Lord help me!"

The Lord met me in that moment. Though I did not get any relief until I had been onshore for an hour or two, God gave me peace as I cried out to Him in my trouble. You can only imagine how relieved I was last year when my morning with others on the Sea of Galilee ended in a much more pleasant way!

If you are in trouble, pray. No matter what you are going through, God will meet you in your moment of hardship. He may or may not choose to relieve you of the difficulty, but He will give you a sense of His presence and peace as you cry out to Him!

It's OK to mumble over and over again, "Lord help me!"

When we are in trouble, we can pray, knowing our God hears us and meets us in the moment of hardship!


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