Confession and Prayer Brings Healing – James 5:13-16

Until a few months ago some of my cousins had been out of touch with each other for decades. When two of them recently moved to Lane County, we arranged to meet at the Camas Country Mill and Bakery. It didn’t take us long to find ourselves delighted with all things old, the ancient schoolhouse with its furnishings and our childhood tales.

As we reconnected, the teasing and silliness escalated until it bordered on being ridiculous. Should people our age act like they’re still thirteen?

I sipped my tea and chased chickpeas around my salad plate until I spotted names, dates, and initials carved on a weathered wall not far from our table. This fascinated me because the boards had been salvaged from the building’s exterior. Diners now enjoy their meal while examining evidence of former students’ vandalism. I traced one date with my finger: 1900.

We were told a few names belong to people, or their descendants, still living in the area.

How would I like my misdeeds put on display for a hundred years, my name listed with those who have damaged public property? I realize they were probably young children, someone else may have been the culprit, or that it may now be considered art or an entertaining story. Still . . .

I don’t like the thought of someone judging me while chewing their sandwich, but maybe bringing my failures into the open is a good thing. Perhaps removing the façade and revealing underlying scars is healthy.

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them 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” (James 5:13-16 ESV).

Maybe in the future our descendants will get a good laugh about our misadventures. Hopefully, there will be a lot to admire, too. Like our honesty.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Prayer for Healing in 2018 – James 5:13-16

Don’t laugh if you see me in the pool rolling and turning like a dying goldfish. I’m OK, really. I call this my workout, and it does me a lot of good. Those younger or more athletic probably don’t comprehend how my slow movements qualify as a real workout, but water fitness makes a world of difference to me. When I’m in the water I find myself unburdening my heart, singing, and even dancing as I push against the water.

This week I’ve been reading the book of James, written by one of Jesus’s brothers. Until now I hadn’t seen how confession and other people’s prayers also relate to health.

“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 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. 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. 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 5:13-16 NIV).

We know it’s important to pray for the salvation of the world, but what about asking for God’s help with the internal battles—with selfishness, fear, greed, idolatry, arrogance, and bitterness? If we confessed these things, maybe the world would become a better place. Certainly humbling ourselves, being open about our problems, and asking others to pray for our health will facilitate healing.

In a few hours 2017 will come to an end and a new year will start. Let’s sharpen our focus in the months ahead, because when we stand righteous before God, our prayers are powerful.

Happy New Year!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Where I Find Everything I Need – Proverbs 4:20-23

We were minutes away from the small Christian school my children attended and where I volunteered as an aide. My kids, either lost in their books or chatting about different classmates, didn’t notice the thumping sound till I pulled our minivan off the road.

As they started asking questions and I pondered our options, I realized I wasn’t ruffled by the inconvenience of a flat tire. Or being late. Or wearing less-than-great shoes for walking. Or the disappointed voices surrounding me. Or knowing no one nearby who could help.

It was like the bases were already covered. God was with us. I’d invited him into my day, focused my attention on him, worshiped and thanked him, confessed my shortcomings and been washed clean. Because I’d drawn close to him, car trouble wasn’t going to take my joy in him away.

My bucket was full

Our country home sat at the end of a long gravel road, my prayer-walking road. Rising early most mornings, I slipped out to get alone with God. It was my time for prayer and reflection, how I reconnected with what was most important. I called it filling my bucket because I saw my heart as a hungry, needy vessel requiring daily maintenance.

“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:20-23 NIV).

What’s in your bucket?

When one of the kids left the back door open and the cat came in and chewed on our roast, I didn’t come unglued. And when my little girl put her head in the wrong place and got hit by a flying saucepan, I reached for the one who’d launched it, not with blame or reproach, but with compassion for his anxiety and fear.

Even when our family goes through worse-than-anyone-can-imagine disasters, my bucket is ready to pour out the grace, encouragement, and hope we all need. And when it starts to go dry, I hurry back for a refill—before things get desperate.

To put it simply, when my bucket is full, it’s less “all about me,” and I love living that way.

With a full bucket, I have a refreshing drink when I need it and enough to share with others. I may not always sense God’s presence, or clearly hear his voice, but with a full bucket I’m far more likely to be close to him and find things working out right.

Are you thirsty? I’ve got enough in my bucket to share.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis