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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
- James  5:14-15

If the foundation of our faith is based upon the imitation of the Suffering and Triumphant Servant, Jesus Christ, and the tenor of the Scriptures is repeatedly one of grace in suffering for the people of God, what does seeking God look like in the midst of tremendous pain?

Throughout the New Testament, themes found in passages like Romans 12:15 resound with the call to partner with others through trials. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” As Christ entered into our suffering, we too are led to enter into the suffering of others, particularly those within the Church.

There are times when our suffering is so deep that it is overwhelming to utter a prayer, or perhaps there are times, even if it’s inappropriate, when we experience anger toward God. James 5:14-15 highlights the need during those painful and potentially isolative episodes to reach out to the Church to intercede, to help hold one’s hands and help lift one’s eyes up toward Christ for intervention when it is too difficult to do this on one’s own.

A time of fasting reminds us of our suffering Savior and our utter need for Him. We all have a tendency to grossly underestimate the degree of our brokenness. Today, I invite you to pray for and consider how to enter into the lives of those around you who are suffering. If you are going through your own period of brokenness, how can you reach out to the Church as you together reach out to Christ in prayer? In the Bible, suffering, when in accordance with God’s will, is depicted as a blessing, the means by which one can be sanctified and grow in the likeness of Christ.

Does your suffering or the suffering of others around you stir within you a greater desire to seek God?

Jane Tsang
Ministry Fellow at Harvard