Occasions of Joy

“Is any one of you in trouble?  He should pray.  Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise” (James 5:13).

Several times a week it’s been my practice to head out the door for a run first thing in the morning.  Before I cover my first block I have already begun to express my joy to God.  Joy over the fact that my body still allows me this activity.  Joy over the new day, the new sunrise.  Joy over the privilege of living in a country where a peaceful run is still possible.  Interestingly, I recently messed up my knee and am now waiting to find out just how much running I can return to.  But God has freed me from any angst over the possible loss of this activity because I have never treated it as an expectation – as something I deserve.  No, every run has been a gift.  My habit of expressing joy for such has underscored that fact.

“Is anyone happy?” James asks in his epistle (James 5:13).  He continues with this word of instruction to the joy-filled person: “Let him sing songs of praise.”  “Songs of praise” are just prayers of joy that have been set to music.  Happiness should not go unexpressed.  It must be given voice.  And the One to whom we address these outbursts, first and foremost, should be God…

Let occasions of joy prompt you to pray.  Pray while your emotions are still bubbling – not after they’ve lost their carbonation.

–Taken from Prayer Coach by James L. Nicodem. (Click on the blue title for more information about this resource).

Lord Jesus, there are so many days when I allow the weight of my circumstances to burden my heart.  When I lose my joy, I give the enemy a foothold.  Please give me a continual awareness of the incredible blessings You have showered upon my life so that I will not fail to sing songs of praise to You.  May each moment of every day be an occasion that invites me to “give voice” to the happiness in my heart. 

Prayer Points
Praise God, who calls believers into his kingdom. Thank him for giving you eyes to see and ears to hear the Word (Mt. 13:1-23). Confess that no matter how old you are, you have more to learn. Commit yourself to increasing your knowledge of the faith. Ask God where you should start—personal or group Bible study, church courses, support groups, memorization, singing through a hymnal . . .

Pray for a willing spirit among family and friends to let God into their lives.

–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend  (Click on the blue title for more information about this resource).