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The Prayer Test

James calls us to pray, praying.


If you knew James way back then you might have known him by the nickname he had, “Camel Knees” because he spent so long on them … praying – his knees were calloused.

When I spent some time in India years ago my host woke me really early to get to a prayer meeting. I yawned on the way as we drove and felt quite virtuous until he told me they had an earlier one but nobody could wake me. We walked across a train track with sharp stones that dug into my feet through my shoes but Paulose walked across in bare feet. His feet were tougher, and when I went into the little room where they were praying already I saw everyone’s knees were tougher than mine too.

When I went to the end of the street to kneel down in memory of George Floyd – 8 minutes and 46 seconds not only made me think and pray for justice, it made me realise how little time I spend on my knees!

We have seen that James writes for us a series of tests, to see whether our faith is real or deluded. Tests like temptation, not being prejudiced, controlling our tongues, tests of how we spend our time and money. The patience test. This is James’ final test = The Prayer Test.

When Do We Pray?

James starts by saying pray when you’re suffering, afflicted, sad, and in trouble. Or when you’re happy (which covers a lot of life really—the word in the original language means cheerful, feeling great), pray then! Sing a psalm, praise God. The word here could be translated “twang a chord.” When you’re up. You can pray.

Sometimes we pray a lot more when we are in trouble than when everything’s going well. I may struggle with prayers I think are unanswered, but forget about the countless blessings ...

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Anthony Delaney is a Leader at Ivy Church in Manchester. He is also the leader for New Thing and the LAUNCH conference. He is an author and hosts the television show “Transforming Life.”

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