Daily Devotionals

New Year's Week 2020 - Tuesday

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16

I love having conversations with my three-year-old nephew, Owen. It does not matter what we are talking about, whether we are discussing his favorite movie, his friends at school, or what he is currently excited about, talking to him is one of my favorite things. Here is the thing about my conversations with Owen: they melt my heart in such a way that I don't just hear Owen's words; I feel them. I feel joy if he is joyful. I'm sad if he is sad. And as I talk to him, I'm reminded of just how much I love him. If I, an imperfect human, love conversations with Owen, how much more do you think that God, as our loving Heavenly Father, loves conversations with us? I'm convinced that, because of His love for us, when we have conversations with God through prayer, God does not just hear our prayers; He feels them.

As 2019 is ending, and we are anticipating a new year, one of the most important things we can commit to doing in 2020 is pray. Pastor Kevin Queen put it this way, "We don't just pray. We pray first." This quote is a reminder to go to God in prayer before we do anything. This will set our minds and our hearts on Him, reminding us that He is in control over everything and He cares for us. We have the privilege of communicating with God whenever we want to and as often as we want to, yet sometimes I still have to remind myself to pray. Can you relate?

What if 2020 was the year we committed to praying to God like we never have before? Imagine what God would do if prayer became such a habit in our lives that we prayed to God about everything, the big things and the small things.

James 5 reminds us to cultivate a lifestyle of prayer. In these verses, James tells us that whether we are suffering, happy, sick, or living sinfully, we should pray. By giving such a diverse set of situations, James is telling us in these verses that we should pray always, on our best days and our worst. God wants to hear from us. He not only hears our prayers; He feels them. He is delighted to hear from us when we come to Him in prayer. The God of the universe is delighted when we talk to Him. How incredible! Let's determine to be people who pray in 2020. A year from now, when we are looking back on this next year, may it be said of us that 2020 was the year we committed to prayer.

Moving Toward Action

The only way to commit to something is to begin doing it. Take time today to pray to God. If you do not know what to say, you can start with these steps:
 - Acknowledge God's holiness and greatness.
 - Ask Him for forgiveness for any sin in your life.
 - Ask Him to help you if you need help in a particular situation.
 - Tell God that because He is God and you are not, more than anything you want His will to be accomplished in your life.
 - Finally, tell Him how much you love Him.
 - As you end your prayer, say "amen," which means "let it be so." When you say "amen," you are trusting God to work and move in your life according to His will.

Going Deeper

Read James 5:13-17 (NLT)

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!