James (Today's New International Verson unless otherwise noted)
Warning to Rich Oppressors
1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter.[a] 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.
Jesus, I know I am dangerously wealthy. Your Word scares me so much. Yet You have given me a charitable heart, but I know I do not give enough. I still keep way too much. Help me Lord, please help us to give as we should. All we have is Yours. Use it Lord, and use us. I feel the breath of Your wrath.
Patience in Suffering
7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. 9 Don't grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
Jesus, this verse is for me today, I know it is. I have been complaining to You about someone in my life. I have been like the Israelites in the desert. It is not for me to grumble. It is for me to rejoice. Your blessings have been amazing. I need to just wait for the harvest. I need to be patient and let You work. I am sorry for my grumbling Lord.
10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
Jesus, I am not good at waiting on You. I am not good and enduring suffering. I want to find my own solutions. I want to do something, and when I do I nearly always make things worse. Perhaps if I learned to patiently wait on You, many of the sufferings I have would go away for it would be one less lesson You need to teach me! You are a great and wonderful God, that I can even speak with You like this. Give me the strength I need to endure Your blessed trials so I can become patient.
12 Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple "Yes" or "No." Otherwise you will be condemned.
Jesus, this one has gotten me in so much trouble. I always have to try to flower up my words. I am always screwing this one up by saying something in a complex or round about way instead of just saying yes when I mean yes and no when I mean no. Help me remember this command Lord. Help me be upfront and decisive.
The Prayer of Faith
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make them well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Jesus, is my prayer effective? Am I righteous because of You? Your righteousness is my only hope. Lord, I want my prayers to be effective. Help me to live as You want me to. Help me to live close to You so my prayers are effective. And Jesus, teach me to pray for what You want, not what I want. Then, we will be one and then my prayers will be answered through Your righteousness. Change me Lord. Change me.
17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring them back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the way of error will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
Jesus, this verse seems like a call for me to share my history with the men at the Bible study. Perhaps one of them needs warned, I don't know. But every time I go, it doesn't seem like the right time. Jesus, I will share if You make it clear that it is the right time. Don't let another man suffer and sin because I am afraid. Give me faith and courage.
- James 5:5 Or yourselves in a day of feasting