Have you ever thought about being a news reporter? Did you know that the people who write those stories have a special way of deciding how to write their story? Well, here is what the reporter does. To make sure that the facts of the story are complete, a reporter makes sure that the article answers five important questions. Those five questions are: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. When we read a story, it is good for us to ask ourselves those same questions to help us fully understand the story.
Today, we are going to talk about three verses from the Bible. They were written by James, the brother of Jesus. In James 5: 13-16, he is teaching about prayer. After we finish, let’s see if we can answer the who, what, when, where, and why questions about prayer.
“Are you having troubles? You should pray. Are you happy? You should sing. Are you sick? Ask the elders of the church to come and rub oil on you in the name of the Lord and pray for you. If such a prayer is offered in faith, it will heal anyone who is sick. The Lord will heal them. And if they have sinned, He will forgive them. So always tell each other the wrong things you have done. Then pray for each other. Do this so that God can heal you. Anyone who lives the way God wants can pray, and great things will happen.”
What good ideas for us to do! Well, let’s see if we can answer the five questions about prayer.
• Who should pray? Anyone! These verses tell us that anyone who needs God’s help or anyone who has received God’s blessing should pray — and that is all of us.
• What should we pray about? Anything! We should pray for healing when we are sick and for forgiveness from sin. We should offer prayers of thanks when we are happy and ask for help in times of trouble.
• When should we pray? Anytime! If we should pray when we are in trouble, when we are sick, when we are happy, or when we have sinned, that is just about any time, isn’t it?
• Where should we pray? Anywhere! These verses don’t come right out and tell us where we should pray, but I figured it out. If we should pray any time we need God’s help, then I guess it just makes sense that we should pray anywhere we are because wherever we are, God is there!
• Why should we pray? Because God answers prayer! These verses tell us that prayer is powerful and effective and that if we will pray, God will hear our prayers, heal the sick, and forgive our sins.
The five W’s of prayer. Who? Anyone. What? Anything. When? Anytime. Where? Anywhere. Why? Because God answers prayer. And that’s the complete story!
Let’s say a prayer. Dear Father, thank You for hearing and answering our prayers. Help us to remember that You want to heal us when we are sick, help us when we are in trouble, forgive us when we sin, and rejoice with us when we are happy. In Your name we pray, Amen.
Ann Moody is a retired pastor, formerly of the Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.