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Daily Devotion

James 5:13



James 5:13

13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.


In a local congregation of believers, a variety of experiences may be found at a given time. While some people experience severe afflictions, others are presented with reasons for jubilation. It is also true that all alike are subject to afflictions and happiness. Both those types of experiences can be in different persons or in the same individuals at the same time. And sometimes, change from one extreme to the other can happen suddenly.

Extreme circumstances, if they occur to people whom we love earnestly, can affect our thinking. With varying events, our emotions will also rise and fall accordingly. Such divergent experiences in our congregations would make us wonder who we should attend to and how we should respond to those situations. As a matter of fact, such extreme situations can happen simultaneously or successively in our church or personal lives.

Christians are urged to carry out their corresponding duties in those varying circumstances. Appropriate spiritual responsibilities, which are mentioned in our text, have to be discharged readily. If we readily carry out our biblical duties, we can minister to people in varying circumstances in the most befitting manner.

What should we do when we find others or ourselves in trying circumstances? The apostle James advises us to pray. “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.” We should pray, asking God for the wisdom we need to understand the situation and manage it to bring glory to His name (cf. James 1:5). We can pray for His grace to endure troubles (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:7–10). We can also pray, if it is His will, that He will remove the troubles. Through prayer we not only communicate to God our needs, but also commune with Him. One of the major divine purposes of our afflictions is that we may draw closer to Him in prayer.

What should we do when we find others or ourselves in a situation of joy and gladness. James says, “Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” Psalms are thanksgiving, worshipful songs to the Lord. Singing psalms to the Lord is the most preferred way of praising and worshipping God for all His benefits in our lives. Joyful experiences are given to us so that a worshipful spirit may be built up within us. While afflictions are sent to teach us to pray, happiness is bestowed that we may learn to praise Him.