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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Prayer is how we directly communicate with God--individually and communally. I believe we don't so much "wander from the truth" (v. 19) as hide our truth. We aren't bold, brave or courageous enough to share out loud the prayers we really need to say.

"The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective," James writes (v. 16). I experienced this week after week at my Milwaukee internship church during the prayers of the people. A microphone was available for anyone to share what was on their hearts and minds. These were some of the most raw and authentic prayers I have ever heard--cries for God to alleviate suffering, songs sung in praise of God's faithfulness, pleas for health and well-being for themselves and others. Nothing was off limits. During these prayers God's righteous children spoke the good, the bad and the ugly out loud to God and to their church family. This was authentic communication.

God of all power and might, thank you for the gift of prayer. May we use this gift to speak to you, and to those with whom we travel this earthly world. Amen.

René L. Mehlberg, '18
Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, Laporte, Minn.

James 5:13-20 (NRSV)

13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.
14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.
15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.
16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.
18 Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.
19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another,
20 you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner's soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.