James 5:13-14 – Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. (NIV)
One summer, we decided to go to a local attraction called The Maze. The farmer had taken a field of corn stalks and cut a maze through it. As we followed the paths to different stations, we would find clues as to the next pathway to choose. If we followed all the clues correctly, we would eventually discover the exit. At one corner of the maze, there was a tall tower where a spotter was stationed. If we found ourselves in trouble or simply couldn't find our way out, there was a flag on a pole located at each clue center. All we would have to do was raise the flag high and wave it. The spotter, spying our cry for help, would dispatch an aide, by radio, to our location. The aide would arrive quickly and administer first aid or lead us to the exit of the maze if necessary.
At first, the maze was great fun, a challenge to be met. However, after several hours, under a scorching sun, and still never stumbling across the much-sought-after exit, we concluded that we needed to make a choice. Would we swallow our pride and wave the flag, or keep wandering around, getting more and more exhausted and discouraged?
Finally we chose. We backtracked to the closest station, grabbed that flag, and waved it with gusto! An aide quickly arrived, and within minutes, we were led out of the maze and were standing under a shade umbrella eating ice cream.
Is any one of us in trouble today? Is any one of us sick? Is any one of us wandering around in a maze of confusion? If so, let's remember that God has also supplied each of us with a spiritual flag: the flag of prayer and praise!
Though prayer may not always cure our earthly situations, it can always be counted on to lead us from the maze of discouragement, hopelessness, and despair into the comforting shade of God's presence, love, hope, and strength, a place which refreshes our spirits and renews our hearts' ability to overflow with praise, amidst the challenging maze of life.
Prayer: Father God, how we praise You this day for the flag of prayer and praise! Remind us, as we need it, to raise it high, knowing that You are always watchful and ready to come to our aid. We praise You for Your presence, love, hope, and strength to see us through whatever this day may bring. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.