~James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
Affliction … this word packs a punch. It doesn’t reflect a minor issue in life. Rather, it reflects an ongoing, difficult battle. A friend encouraged me to cover the first part of this verse and elaborate on it a bit. As we review the first part of the verse, let’s rest on the word afflicted for a bit. Noah Webster defines the word as:
AFFLICT’ED, pp. Affected with continued or often repeated pain, either of body or mind; suffering grief or distress, of any kind; followed by at, by or with; as, afflicted at the loss of a child, by the rheumatism, or with losses.
We can see that the state of discouragement is covered in this definition. So what does one do when one is discouraged? David’s solution to this was prayer. The Bible says it is to your benefit!
~James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Confess your discouragement to God and to dear saints who will pray on your behalf. [On a side note, this does not mean to confess our “sins” to someone else. Only Christ has the power to forgive sins (Luke 5:24).]
Once you’ve done this, do a moral inventory – confess sins to the Lord so your prayer life is not hindered. When you send a letter to IRS, you send it certified mail and return receipt requested to ensure that it gets there. Your prayer life will be hindered if you have unconfessed sin.
~Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
Your prayers will go unanswered if you have unconfessed sin. Someone once said “Keep your accounts short with God.” That is good advice. Now you can lift up your needs before the Lord and be healed from your discouragement. The latter part of James 5:16 states that a righteous man (covered by the Blood of Jesus) who prays specifically for his needs before God with fervancy (such great desire) will profit much! God desires to answer our prayers, my friend.
Once our heart is clean before the Lord, we can go before Him with boldness knowing that all hindrances have been removed and His ear is at our mouth.
~Ephesians 3:12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
Discouragement is the result of a lack of trust in God. The Father will hear our prayer because our righteousness lies in Christ; and now we can go before the Father with boldness knowing that He will provide encouragement to our heart. He does not see our sin but the righteousness of His Son covering us. This is why we can boldly before Him.
Sometimes it is easier to encourage others than ourselves. Oh how true this statement is! But encouraging ourselves is do-able! David encouraged himself in the Lord (I Samuel 30:6). That’s is why James provided the latter part of today’s verse. Reading Psalms is a wonderful way to encourage your spirit. Also, surround yourself with saints who will encourage your heart and pray for you!