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James 5:13

ESV Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.
NIV Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
NASB Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises.
CSB Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises.
NLT Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.
KJV Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
NKJV Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.

What does James 5:13 mean?

In concluding his letter, James encourages his readers to respond to all of the circumstance of their lives with prayer. That's what people who trust God do. This is a consistent theme of James's letter: a person's actions prove what they really believe.

So, any Christian who is suffering or who is in trouble should naturally be inclined to pray. James's letter began with teaching on how people who trust God should respond to their trials. Trials will come. Suffering will come. When it comes, it provides an opportunity to move closer to God, asking for help, asking for strength to remain faithful in the suffering.

A lack of prayer in response to trouble should be a spiritual warning sign. It's a symptom of a person who is not living in dependence on God. Another dangerous signal is not being quick to sing songs of praise to Him when we feel cheerful or happy. Prayer should become the natural response to any circumstance or state of mind for people living in a close trust relationship with our Father.

If prayer doesn't come naturally to us, James calls us to do it anyway. Whether it feels awkward or as normal as breathing, prayer is a key way that believers express their faith in God.
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