Cheerful?

Contributing Writer
Rev. Dr. Scott D. Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church, Amherst, NY

I’m really good at praying when I need something. In fact, I’m pretty much an expert.

Want the Bills to win? Say a prayer.
Have a loved one who is sick? Say a prayer.
Looking for a job? Say a prayer.
Frustrated with global politics and war? Say a prayer.
Suffering? Say a prayer.
Worried? Say a prayer.
Nervous? Say a prayer.

Let’s just say when it comes to me needing or wanting something, my prayer life is not lacking at all. It’s the other times- when life is good and things are going smoothly- that I forget who I should be talking to.

As I read the texts for the last Sunday in September I came across this reading from James…

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them.(James 5:13-14)

It hit me that while I’m pretty good at following James’ advice when I’m suffering and sick, I struggle with that part sandwiched in the middle. Sometimes I forget to sing songs of praise.

When it comes to our faith life God is calling us into conversation in bad times and good, in want and plenty, when we’re sick and when we’re well. So…

Healthy? Give thanks.
Forgiven? Give thanks.
Blessed? Give thanks.
Employed? Give thanks.
At peace? Give thanks.
The Bills are 3-1?! Give thanks.

Offer a prayer today. If you’re suffering, ask for peace. If you’re cheerful, sing praise. If you’re sick, ask for healing. If you’re blessed, offer thanks. And as you pray hold fast to James’ words: “The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

Amen, Brother James. Amen.

Pastor Scott

For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.

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Pastor Scott serves the people of St. John by helping the congregation welcome everyone, care for one another, and grow in the joy of God’s love through Jesus Christ. Pastor Scott earned his bachelor’s degree at the University at Buffalo and went to seminary at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Ministry degree with an emphasis in preaching from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Pastor Scott and his wife, Kate, live in Bowmansville, NY with their children Molly, Delaney, and John Scott. Scott and Kate love Western New York for many reasons, not the least of which are the changing seasons, wonderful people, and of course the Buffalo Bills. Pastor Scott’s ministry priorities are worship, preaching and teaching. Scott’s hobbies are guitar, golf, and reading. To read some of Scott’s musings visit his blog Way-ward at www.psdh.org.