Monday, November 21, 2011

Digging Deeper James 5:13 with Commentary

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.” ~James5:13 (NKJV)

My heart did a happy dance as I read this verse today simply because two of the greatest duties and delights of every believer are prayer and singing! Beloved, we get to pray! We need to pray! We must pray! And then, dear sisters, we get to sing; sing psalms! Woo hoo!! Glory!

Matthew Henry Commentary says this about verse 13:

“As Christians we are taught to suit ourselves to the dispensations of Providence: Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Our condition in this world is various; and our wisdom is to submit to its being so, and to behave as becomes us both in prosperity and under affliction.

Sometimes we are in sadness, sometimes in mirth; God has set these one over against the other that we may the better observe the several duties he enjoins, and that the impressions made on our passions and affections may be rendered serviceable to our devotions.

Afflictions should put us upon prayer, and prosperity should make us abound in praise. Not that prayer is to be confined to a time of trouble, nor singing to a time of mirth; but these several duties may be performed with special advantage, and to the happiest purposes, at such seasons.

In a day of affliction nothing is more seasonable than prayer. The person afflicted must pray himself, as well as engage the prayers of others for him. Times of affliction should be praying times.”1

Wow! That paragraph packs a lot in on our behalf, doesn’t it? No ifs, ands, or buts about it. When we’re sad, PRAY! When we’re happy, SING! Whether in suffering or gladness, both are opportunities to turn our full focus and attention on God from whom all, all, all things flow.

The commentary continues:

“To this end God sends afflictions, that we may be engaged to seek him early; and that those who at other times have neglected him may be brought to enquire after him. The spirit is then most humble, the heart is broken and tender; and prayer is most acceptable to God when it comes from a contrite humble spirit.

Afflictions naturally draw out complaints; and to whom should we complain but to God in prayer? It is necessary to exercise faith and hope under afflictions; and prayer is the appointed means both for obtaining and increasing these graces in us.”2

Dear one, are you experiencing affliction of any kind? Is your spirit feeling broken by the cares of life? If so, PRAY! Or, are you living in a time of gladness and delight full of happiness and joy? If so, sing and make melody in your heart; sing aloud with a psalm of the heart!

In the midst of whatever behold your God!! He who IS, the AUTHOR and PERFECTOR of your faith.


Stephanie Paul, wife and mother of two grown children. An "instrument of change" in the Redeemer's Hand, in the lives of wounded and hurting women. Currently serving as a part of the Addiction Recovery Team at America's Keswick as Woman of Character Program Administrator.

2 Ibid

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