Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 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. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 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. —James 5:13-16
Social distancing sounds like the opposite of Christian community. How are we to be the church body in isolation in our homes? Although this is an unprecedented time in our history, it shouldn’t give us the excuse to disengage with our communities. It may look different, but it can be just as fruitful especially with the technology we have available to us today.
James reminds us that we can still pray for others! He says if we have friends or family in trouble, let them pray! This is a perfect time to ask others how you can pray for them and in turn they will likely ask you the same thing. Take this time to engage with the Lord and become a prayer warrior! Maybe this isn’t something that you’re used to, but I know the Lord will honor the time as He encourages us to pray for each other and bear each other’s burdens.
Many of you may have a regular Bible study or prayer group you attend. Now that we can’t gather in small groups it may feel like you are missing that community. Perhaps you can still gather virtually, whether that’s a phone call or a video conference. I participate in a Bible study where one of the members actually lives in another state. We bring her in on an iPad and pass her around the room so she can stay involved in the conversation. At first it seemed kind of odd but now we wouldn’t have it any other way; it allows her to stay engaged in a small group while we get to have the honor of connecting with her each week.
The second part of this Scripture reminds us to sing songs of praise if we are happy. It may be hard to relate to this emotion of happiness right now, but I encourage you to praise the Lord, it will indeed make you feel happy! Worshipping the Lord and glorifying His name will bring great joy and will also help you not to think so much about the current situation. No matter what our circumstances are you can take comfort in the fact that God doesn’t change; He is the same yesterday and today. Praise Him for that!
Find a way to stay connected to your community. We need each other now more than ever to get through this! The Lord created us to be in relationship with each other; be intentional and lean in to your fellow Believers for support. The Lord will bless the time and you may grow closer to each other and to Him as you are vulnerable about what each person is dealing with in this difficult season. We all have an amazing chance to draw closer to the Lord and each other. How awesome it would be if we can come out of this time with even stronger communities than we had before!
Practical Takeaway: Create a prayer board and pray for those around you consistently. Spend time worshipping the Lord each day. Find a way to stay engaged in your spiritual community through text, email, video calls, etc.