When The Love Spills Over
“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 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.” James 5:13-16
You might ask yourself why is James admonishing the afflicted to pray and the sick to call for the elders of the church and if they are merry to sing?
Fist let’s understand the terms.
Afflicted — to be distress with mental or bodily pain; troubled greatly or grievously
Sick — ill health or disease; ailing; affected with some unpleasant feeling, as of sorrow, disgust, or boredom
Merry — full of cheerfulness or gaiety; joyous in disposition or spirit; laughingly happy; mirthful; festively joyous; hilarious:
Ok. If you’re distressed with mental or bodily pain, greatly or grievously troubled, you should pray. Our prayers for ourselves avail much also. God understands our humanity. He knows that we face things that can overwhelm us and cause us to be physically and mentally destabilized and even physically injured by the weight of these things. Stress is one of the main causes of disease and breakdown of the body. Prayer pushes back against stress and settles the mind in ways that no analgesic can. Prayer refocuses our thinking from the things that trouble us to the majesty and glory of God in whose presence there is always peace.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3
When we are sick and cannot obtain our healing by our prayers alone we need the intercession and prayer support of others, particularly the elders of the Church. The elders are those of mature spiritual heart and mind, who are familiar with the Scriptures and know how to pray the prayer of faith. Now the prayer of faith is simply based on the Word of God, prayer that acknowledges the stated will of God concerning one issue or another. It is not so much a general kind of “shotgun” prayer, but a specifically focused prayer of faith in what God has already said concerning any circumstance situation or condition of life to reset things in proper creative order. The prayer of faith states and reaffirms God’s Word and agrees with it that it is done in the name of Jesus.
Many messages and sermons have been delivered and preached about sickness and affliction, but not many talk about how to be merry. Perhaps because it the most intuitive of the three. When you’re happy you know it and you automatically break into to dancing and laughing shouting sometimes and singing “happy songs.”
So, what is te Word saying here?
The idea is that in times of overwhelming happiness or just well-being in general you should turn your thoughts to God, to express your joy and give Him praise for it. The Psalms are songs of worship, praise, thanksgiving, prophecy, remembrance, history, covenant affirmation, petition, invitation, wisdom, warfare, comfort, celebration, consecration, instruction, exhortation, edification and faith. They contain songs that speak to the full spectrum of human discourse and conduct.
Having a merry heart is a gift from God. It is joy from deep within that is free, and unfettered. So, sing, sing psalms. Do it, enjoy it, celebrate it and thank God for it.