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“Is anyone suffering? Let him pray.”
“Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.” James 5:13

“James uses questions frequently. Thus the style is a lively discourse” writes Peter Davids in his commentary. Lively indeed. And relevant. At least one of James’s questions is relevant to each of us, each and every day. And sometimes both in a given day. So here is wisdom from above for every circumstance of life. And that wisdom is sweetly summed up by John Calvin when he wrote:

“There is no time in which God does not invite us to himself.”

And this invitation should be stunning to us in light of His holiness and our sinfulness. Just stunning. And this invitation is only possible because of the cross. All those who have been brought near because He first drew near through the Incarnation and His substitutionary sacrifice on the cross for our sins, are invited to draw near.

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8

We draw near to him, at his gracious invitation, through the person and work of His Son on the cross for our sins.

We draw near to him by praying in the midst of adversity and singing when we experience prosperity.

We draw near to him confident he will draw near to us.

These commands to pray and sing are gracious invitations from God himself, inviting us to himself.

Just stunning, is it not?

This post is adapted from a message entitled “Prayer,” preached at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville.