If prayer is, essentially, talking with God, then there must be many ways to do it. Certainly we want to speak respectfully to the Creator of the universe, but that didn’t stop Abraham, Moses, David, Jeremiah, or other biblical heroes from speaking their minds. It’s a conversation with a great God who loves us. With that in mind, choose whatever posture or format makes sense.
Scripture indicates great value in both personal prayer and group prayer, and both appear here in verses 13–14. If you’re in trouble, pray. Call out to God privately when you need His help. But there is also healing power as the community of faith gathers, with its appropriate leadership, to call upon the Lord.
The connection between sin and sickness is not an easy one to figure out. Do James’s words mean that a sick person must have sinned in some way, to bring on the sickness? No! Sometimes that could be the case, but not always.
Earlier, James challenged his readers to humble themselves before the Lord. In this last part of his letter, he shows what that looks like. The church community is praying together, confessing their sins to one another. They accept the fact that they’re “only human,” but they still expect great things from God when they pray. And when someone strays from the faith, they don’t alienate that person with harsh words of judgment. They pray. They forgive. They restore.
The Christian faith is not about setting up some ideal of perfect behavior, but of connecting with God humbly, listening to Him, letting Him reorder our priorities, and living out His passion for the needy. Our faith in Christ changes us. A true faith—a living faith—has the natural outworking of good works. And good works—no matter how good—can’t produce authentic faith. Faith is always a gift and never earned.
So as you face trials, as you experience temptation, as you minister to the needy, as you suffer, have faith in God. Trust Him for wisdom. Trust Him for compassion. Trust Him for patience. Trust Him for endurance. Trust Him for healing. Trust Him for the faith that produces a harvest of righteousness.
If you don’t already, connect with other believers for group prayer. Talk with a few friends about getting together on a regular basis to pray for the needs of your church and community.
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