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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

A Word from James: Trouble

by Marilynn Chadwick

If one of you is having troubles, he should pray. (James 5:13 ICB)

Trouble. What's your reaction to times of trouble? James gives a simple prescription: Prayer. But instead of being our first response, prayer is often an afterthought. We remember to pray only after we've exhausted ourselves trying to fix the trouble—if we remember at all.

The word for trouble in the Greek language, kakopatheo, comes from two words which mean "to suffer," and "evil." James uses a broad brush to describe most any kind of hardship we might endure. “If one of you is having troubles, he should pray. If one of you is happy, he should sing praises” (James 5:13). 

We see a couple of kinds of prayer in today’s verse: Petition and praise. Both have their place in the life of a believer. 

When trouble hits, we're to pray to God for help. The word for prayer used here comes from a Greek word that means "to wish." This kind of petition can be very specific in nature. When you're in trouble, you need help. Prayer is a powerful solution when I'm in trouble only if I believe God has the power to change my situation.

But what about those times when you're happy? Also time to pray, according to James. He reminds us to praise—another kind of prayer. We can sing songs in our heart (or out loud) to God. Through the prayer of praise, we invite the Lord into our times of happiness.

Sometimes life is good. Other times, it's marred by trouble. In either situation, we can draw comfort, encouragement, and joy through prayer, because as James reminds us, prayer works. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16 NIV).

Lord, remind me to pray. Let prayer become my first response. When prayer is foremost in my mind, Lord, it shows I’m learning to trust you. Prayer is all about the relationship with you. Prayer works. The more watchful I become, the more I notice your answers. Prayer is my pipeline to your heart. And as I am learning, that's the best reward of all.

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