By Miguel Lara
James discussed several types of prayers in James 5:13-18: prayer and joy in adversity, prayer for the sick, the prayer of confession within community, and the prayer of the righteous.
Prayer for the Sick
James wrote: “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.”
Not too long ago, one of our daughters needed an appendectomy. My wife and I were praying all the way through and also asked for prayers from our church, family, and friends. Just as we read in the passage, an elder from our church came to the hospital to pray over our 11-year-old daughter. The pain in her abdomen went down in intensity as she was getting ready for the intervention. Ultimately the result from the surgery was completely successful.
Being the son of a surgeon, I know that things can go wrong in an operating room. They say an appendectomy is a simple and low-risk surgery, but when it is one of your loved ones going though it, nothing seems simple or low-risk. As parents, we did the only thing we could while in the hospital—offer our prayers with faith to Jesus.
What God wants is boldness in our prayers when praying for the sick. Also we are to pray believing and exercising what Richard Foster called “the confident assurance in the faithfulness of God.” Finally, we must never forget to thank God for his compassion and his mercy.
Powerful, Righteous Prayer
If we feel that our prayers are powerless, it is possibly because sin is hindering our ability to pray effectively. God does hear the sinner’s prayer, but as we sin we become less in tune with him, and this dulls our sensitivity toward him.
When you pray, do you sense that your prayer has power and it’s effective? Is it always that way? James tells us that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. A righteous person has discerned God’s leading and his or her heart is sensitive to God.
Miguel Lara, a minister from Venezuela, is working on a Master of Divinity at Cincinnati Christian University. He and his wife, Alejandra, have three children, Andreina, Sabrina, and David Alejandro.
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