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Prayer Tip: "Even the Demons Believe and Shudder!"

September 11, 2022

Daily Scripture

James 2:14-19, 26 (NRSV)

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder….For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.

Prayer Tip

by Jennifer Creagar, Community Assistance Coordination Director

Today’s Scripture (James 2:14-19) is one of those that can make me think, “Oh no! I am definitely not doing enough! The world is a mess, and I must fix it.” That is followed by a mad burst of activity that may help others, or may just make me feel better. I’m pretty sure making myself feel better is not the point of James’ declaration that faith, without works, is dead. So, if I’m not going to make myself busy scurrying around looking for random ways to make the world better, how do I find the work that I am specifically called to do?

Frederick Buechner said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” The place to start is by hearing God’s voice, and the way we do that is prayer. God can help us identify that wonderful intersection of our gladness and the world’s deep hunger, but we have to be quiet and listen.

Being quiet and just listening in prayer is not my strong suit. It’s taken a lot of years for me to learn to quit talking, put down the journal, and actually sit quietly with God. It also took a long time for me to quit expecting some sort of Voice of God experience while I sat there in the quiet waiting. If a message didn’t come in the sky, or the first person I met didn’t tell me what I was supposed to do, or the next Bible verse I read didn’t reveal all, I thought I must have failed.

Eventually I learned (and try to remember) that God does speak to us in the quiet. Some people (I am told) do have dramatic experiences, but this is what I’ve learned: sitting in silence with God, giving up my thoughts to sit in fellowship and gratitude with my Creator, quiets all the noise in my head. The Holy Spirit moves in my heart and makes me ready to recognize what I am actually called to do to meet the world’s deep hunger. When I end a time of silence with God, I am much more able to see, in all the mess in the world, the singular place God is calling me to act out my faith by filling a specific need. My quieted and prepared heart and mind can see and recognize my place in the chaos.

So, instead of more words, let’s have our prayer today be our silent listening for God’s peace, which will clear our minds and hearts to see the work we are called to do.