The Synoptic Gospels state that James and John were with their father by the seashore when Jesus called them to follow him. James was one of only three apostles whom Jesus selected to bear witness to his Transfiguration and with his brother John wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan town, but were rebuked by Jesus.
The Acts of the Apostles records that King Herod had James executed by sword. He is the only apostle whose martyrdom is recorded in the New Testament. He is, thus, traditionally believed to be the first of the twelve Apostles martyred for his faith.
Prayer for St James
O gracious God, whose apostle James left his father and all that he had, and without delay obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ: pour out upon the leaders of your Church the same spirit of self-denying service by which alone they may have true authority among your people; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.