Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
James was writing to a beat up, persecuted, and struggling first century group of Jewish believers. Sure, life can be “tough” here in America, but in general we don’t know “tough” like James’ audience did. Obviously, prayer is the theme of this passage… but don’t stop there; prayer should be the theme of our lives as Christians!
Most commentators wrestle with whether this passage guarantees physical healing or not… or why the prayers of elders seem to be so special… or how your sin life impacts your physical well-being… but the only point I want to stress is the absolute NEED for prayer. A friend of mine likes to say, “Prayer isn’t the only thing we should do, but we should do nothing without it.” I think he has hit the nail on the head, don’t you?
Your car requires gas. Your body requires food. Your family requires shelter. Your bills require payment. Plants require water. Lions require meat. Washington D.C. requires tax revenue. Your life as a Christian requires…prayer.
Jesus had an incredible prayer life, and even walked away from ministry from time to time to pray. If He needed to do it, how much more so do we?
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