Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church,
and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of
the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and
the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be
forgiven. 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.
The book of James is filled with practical insights on how to live the Christian life. As I read it, I have to remind myself that most of what was written here was new to the original hearers. In other words, the first-century church needed instructions on how to operate because they were so newly formed. One of the things the Holy Spirit addressed through James was the proper protocol for those who need prayer in the church. Those who were in need of prayer, especially the sick, were to call for the elders of the church to pray for them.
In today’s church, the roles have somehow been reversed. In many churches, the church members expect the leaders to call on them when they’re in need. The problem with this approach, besides the obvious fact that it goes against the Biblical mandate, is that there are times when church leaders aren’t aware someone is in need, and so they don’t reach out to them. This can cause major hurt within the parishioners and even cause division within the church. If you’ve had this mindset, please consider adjusting so that we who are in leadership can truly be a help to you in your time of need.
There are 4 truths that I see in this passage concerning prayer:
- We should call upon the elders of the church for prayer (It is an expression of faith for a person to ask others to pray for them)
- We are to pray in the name of the Lord (It is only the Lord that can heal)
- We are to pray faith-filled prayers (Not a lack of doubt, but a greater assurance of God’s power)
- We should confess sins to each other and pray for each other (Physical healing is important but spiritual healing is the most important. Humility is the key to accessing grace in our lives).