Social Justice: Pray for Wisdom

The book of James says if we lack wisdom to pray for it (James 1:5). If in any way we need more prayer it’s for wisdom.  James basically spent the rest of his efforts explaining why we need this wisdom:


  • To not be deceived by merely listening to the Word, but to do what it says (James 1:22).
  • To understand that the type of “religion” God accepts as faultless and pure is one unpolluted by the world and one that spends itself on the orphan and widow (James 1:27).
  • That loving our neighbor is the “royal law” and by keeping it we can be confident we are doing right (James 2:8).
  • That mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13).
  • That faith without deeds is worthless (James 2:16, 20).
  • That knowledge is beneficial only when applied to a good life and humble deeds (James 3:13).
  • That wisdom resulting in selfish ambition is unspiritual but wisdom from heaven is full of mercy and good fruit (James 3:15-17).
  • To see that when there is good to do, we sin when we fail to do it (James 4:17).
  • To understand how our self-indulgence and our neglect have made us the oppressors (Jas 5:1-6).

If this is our condition, we’re in trouble, and we certainly need wisdom.

“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray… And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” – James 5:13-16

If in any thing we need more healing it’s in how we deal with need in the world. If the statistics don’t create a sense of indignation in us, then we should pray. If God’s words do not create a sense of indignation for either our condition, lack of concern, or neglect. Pray that it does. Pray that the Holy Spirit convicts us. Pray that our minds are renewed. Pray for indignation.

“Each individual has the spiritual responsibility of cultivating that indignation. Tapping into that rage. And then allowing that rage to be converted into compassionate action.”[i]

It’s both a personal and a collective responsibility. If no one else will go, we must still go. If no one else will care, we must still care. If every Christian in the world thinks we’re crazy. It doesn’t matter. In our indignation we will find joy. And the joy of the Lord is our strength.[ii] We will find it to be our hearts delight. For when we live recklessly by the Word and commands of God, we bear His name, not ours.

“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.  I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone because your hand was on me and you had filled me with indignation.” -Jeremiah 15:16-17


[i] Ashley Judd: Call and Response: A Film about the Worlds 27 million most terrifying secrets, (Fair Trade Fund 2008).

[ii] Nehemiah 8:10

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About Brandon Hatmaker

Church Planter, Missional Strategist, Non-Profit Collaborator, and Author of "Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture". View all posts by Brandon Hatmaker

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