“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16)
We have a “therefore” so we need to first put this in context:
- Pray when you’re suffering
- Sing praise when you’re cheerful.
- If you’re sick, ask your church leadership to pray over you and anoint you with oil in the name of the Lord.
- Even if God says no to healing you here, your prayer of faith will save you because of the hope of the resurrection and because your sins are forgiven and you’re spiritually whole.
- Because of it will bring great spiritual and possibly physical healing, then confess your sins to one another and pray for one another.
James adds next a sermon illustration from the old testament of his famous prayers of a righteous man being powerful and effective: Elijah was a mortal, fallen human being like us, but in the grace of an old testament saint, his prayers even instigated and ended a three year drought. The implication then is the power available to only a few select individuals in Elijah’s day is available in Christ to be poured out on all who believe and trust in him.
My title plays off a good cross reference to this: “For people will be . . .having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Tim 3:2,5) However, we have to be careful. We should seek in our own walk to have faith with power, but we must be careful not to push others into the dangerous waters of the Timothy passage by behaving like Job’s friends and using these verses like a club. It was also James who told us the tongue is a fire–lets be careful our usage of words is cleansing, not destructive.
Lord, grant us faith that can start and end droughts, if it be your will! Grant us faith that can heal the wounded of body, heart, and soul. But grant us also hearts that follow after yours and seek your way. Enable us also to be humble, not boast and rude, but rather patient, kind, and respectful to all people, wherever they might be in relation to you. I pray we would be people others would feel safe confessing their sins to, that we would practice and be known for gently restoring our brother. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.