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

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