Hi all -- sorry I'm a day late with this one -- was away from my computer all day yesterday.
Two things that jump at me in chapter 5 of James -- one is the admonition beginning in verse 7 to be patient in waiting for the return of the Lord and to be patient when we suffer trials. I have heard since my childhood about the patience of Job. Having read Job I am not sure calling him patience really works. He was insistent, stubborn, and occasionally cranky but not too patient. James says to consider the "endurance" of Job, that works better for me. Job endured and hung in there.
The second thing that jumps at me here is the encouragement regarding prayer that begins in verse 13. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. I agree. The images of prayer from the gospel are pretty consistent -- pray until God either answers your prayer or changes your prayer. Some have used the acronym "push" -- pray until something happens -- to describe this persistence. Either way, prayer should be the first and best thing Christians do.