Sin, Prayer and Healing

Scripture: James 5:16, ‘Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.’


Observations: James is summarizing a section where he has been discussing how we should react to our circumstances in life. If we are in trouble we should pray, if we are happy we should sing, if we are sick we should call the elders to pray over us, if we have sinned we will be forgiven (v13-15). James focuses particularly on the relationship between sin, prayer and healing. For James, sickness has both a physical and spiritual source. On one level all sickness is the result of sin in terms that disease and death are the results of the fall in Genesis 3. But on another level sickness can be the result of particular sin in our lives. It’s in confessing our sin that we allow God’s work of forgiveness to bring healing, firstly spiritual healing, then emotional healing, and maybe even physical healing. And James tells us that praying for each other is an important part of that process. In fact, he says, ‘The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.’ The righteous person James is thinking of here is one who is not only living in a right relationship with God, but one who also has faith that God will answer his prayers on behalf of others. It’s not the prayer that is powerful and effective, rather it is the God to whom we pray that is powerful and effective.


Application: How much is confession a part of your life? Do you confess your sins daily before God? Do you confess your sins immediately? Do you confess how you have sinned against others? Do you have someone whom you can confess to? How much is prayer a part of your life? Do you pray for others and seek others out to pray for you? Healing is only possible as we deal with sin in our lives and seek God’s grace and power in prayer. Do you believe prayer can be powerful and effective?


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I confess my sins before You again this morning. Lord, even in the little time I have been awake my thoughts have been more on myself than on You. Lord, I need Your Spirit to help me live for Your glory. Lord, help me turn my thoughts towards the needs of others, that I might bring them before You and seek Your mercy and love for them. And Lord, increase my faith, that I might trust in Your power and give You the glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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