Scripture – James 5:13-20
Wow, Thanks, Help
By Ginger Rothhaas
The prayer instructions found in James 5:13-20 teach us to pray in all circumstances. When we feel suffering, pray. When we feel joy, pray. When we are sick, pray. When we mess up, pray. I feel like James is reminding us that we need to be in conversation with God in every circumstance, and to be in conversation with God on the behalf of others.
I’m sure you have experienced this too, on the days when we are focused on being in conversation with God, it feels like we are living in partnership with God. We have someone to do life with, someone to guide us, someone to confide in…suddenly we notice God’s presence in every aspect of our lives.
Anne Lamott wrote a book a few years ago entitled, “Help, Thanks, Wow” and explained that these are the three essential prayers for life. She summarizes these three words as capturing prayers of, “asking for assistance from a higher power, appreciating what we have that is good, and feeling awe at the world around us.”
I think this is what James is teaching too. I encourage each of us to find a few words that remind us of the importance of constant prayer in our lives. I like Lamott’s words, but I re-ordered them to follow the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer, which is “Wow, Thanks, Help.” This reminds me to not just jump into what I need help with, but to revere this amazing world God created and be in gratitude for all that is right, before I ask for help with what is wrong.
Praying in all circumstances, as James says, is “powerful and effective” and a tool available to us always. John Wesley’s 22 questions call us into deep introspection and can be a form of prayer to ask God to help you see the answers and gain insight into our own souls. Awareness allows us to make changes. Wesley calls us to be aware and James reminds us that the answer to everything lies in prayer.
Wesley’s Challenge Questions for the Week:
- Am I a slave to dress, friends, work, or habits?
- Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?