Our Reading for today is:
James 5:13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 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.
James 5:17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
James is quite funny here when he speaks to one of the biggest complaint about pastors in the church: how they never come to visit people in the hospital even when the pastor is never called! Notice how he says that if anyone is sick “HE should call the elders of the church to pray over him!”
But what about the strong language that James uses that the prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective to heal and save? It seems that we have, for the most part, very little “faith” in prayer. Yes, it is important to always pray “if it be your will, Lord”… But in my own heart it is very difficult for me to simply POUR out my heart in faithFULL prayer to God. It is always way too timid and lacking in faith.
And we must note that there is some ambiguity here in the words James uses… He seems to be mixing up physical healing with spiritual healing… but that is only strange to our modern thinking… But in the whole of scripture, the physical and spiritual are almost one and the same!
Perhaps one of the most important things that strikes me in this passage is the emphasis ON spiritual healing. Our prayers are most often VERY lopsided in their attention on the physical. We hardly EVER pray for SPIRITUAL healing!
Let us pray with faith concerning all these things!