Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 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. 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. 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. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. (James 5:13-18)
This passage tells us that not all prayers are the same. Some are more powerful than the others because of the person who is praying. It means that God doesn’t only listen to the words of the prayer, but He also looks at the person who is praying. If the person is righteous before God, his prayer can be just as powerful and effective as that of Elijah who prayed for famine and there was famine, prayed for rain and there was rain. So then the key is the righteousness of the person. But in our Christian living, we may find it hard to do what is right in the eyes of God all the time. We may not commit the mortal sins, but we may daily commit sins that we think are less serious. We unconsciously give the word of God different weights or degree of importance. But in reality, all of God’s word is important and need to be practiced for us to be righteous.
When I was younger, one of my favorite poems was “Footprints in the Sand.” However, as I grew older, I heard criticisms against this poem, that it was misleading because God doesn’t carry us on our spiritual journey; we ourselves need to walk with His help, even through the difficult times. I have even heard of a similar poem vulgarly titled “Buttprints in the Sand,” which needless to say uses satire to prove this very point.
While I agree that our walk of faith is indeed a walk that requires our own efforts and resolve, I believe there is merit in the original poem, which at the end reveals that when there was only one set of footprints, it was not that God abandoned us, but that He carried us. Continue reading
When Israel was a child, I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son…
I taught Ephraim to walk,
Taking them by their arms;
But they did not know that I healed them.
I drew them with gentle cords,
With bands of love,
And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck.
I stooped and fed them. (Hos 11:1, 3-4)
From my parents’ retelling of childhood stories, old photographs, recollections and memories of the past, I can piece together some parts of my childhood. And some things, though unsaid and un-narrated, I can recall. Because both my parents were working when I was a year old or so, I lived with my maternal grandparents for the first few years of my childhood after I turned one. Inherent in those years was an old memory, or rather an old feeling I recall – a constantly longing I had for my absent parents while we were apart, especially my mother. Though there was nothing more I could ask for while I was under my loving grandparents’ care, I often missed my parents and would sometimes fall sick because of that, according to my grandmother. I had everything I needed or could ever want, but I missed my mother. That feeling is hard to describe. But it did make me a pensive child in my earlier years.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
Sometimes, when you feel overwhelmed, it helps to remember that you are chosen by God, through grace, to inherit eternal life — to be part of His special people.
Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.