Prayer for Healing, Praise, and Repentance
Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. James 5:14-15
I called the elders to pray for me once. It was a unique situation: I lived next door to the pastor of my church. One night I knew the elders were meeting there. I’d had strep throat for ten days with a fever that wouldn’t go away. I dialed the pastor’s number. While I talked to him on the phone, I started sweating—my fever had broken. An elder came over anyway and anointed me with oil. We praised God for the healing. What’s more, though I’ve been exposed to strep throat several times, I never got it again.
As James ended his letter, he wrote about prayer and faith, two themes he’d written about many times. Most of us pray when we’re in trouble. How about when we’re happy? When life is going well, we may feel we can handle things by ourselves. James said that’s the time for singing prayers.
When we’re convicted of sin, we may prefer to hide. James suggested, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Do you dare to tell a brother or sister they’ve wandered from the truth? If you pray and do all you can to help a person repent, God will “cover over a multitude of sins” (James 5:20).
James gives an example of Elijah who’s almost always included in a list of mighty men of prayer. However, you don’t have to be a special prayer warrior to be effective. James qualified Elijah’s ability with the words, “Elijah was a human being, even as we are.” He suffered fear, depression, and doubt, just as we might. Nevertheless, when he prayed earnestly and courageously, God answered his prayers mightily (1 Kings 18:21-46).
Our prayers may not be eloquent, or even articulated at times, but God hears and answers.
Pray for and with others. Add variety to your prayers including healing, praise, and repentance.
Read about Elijah’s time of fear, depression, and doubt in 1 Kings 19:1-21. How did God encourage him? Who would come alongside him as a helper, successor?
We know Moses had mighty answers to his prayers. Read about a time when he needed Aaron and Hur to come alongside him as he prayed in Exodus 17:9-13. See a devotion on this time of communal prayer: Jehovah-Nissi. Who can you ask to pray with you?
See Psalm 30 for a variety of emotions and expressions of communal prayer including praise and repentance. Which parts of this psalm can you use in praying for a situation you’re facing?
Nancy J. Baker
This devotion is part of Dig into Prayer.