Are any of you suffering hardships?

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. -James 5:13-16 NLT

I have prayed for a lot of people since I first came to Christ in 1976. For many years I weekly ministered as an elder praying for the sick - I have cried with many many hurting people. Even so, I have not had much success in praying for sick people. A small few have been healed as I prayed - I suspect less than one percent. Many would rationalize this lack of success to a lack of faith or some sort of hidden sin. I think that it would be very superficial to say that.

No one wants to be healed more than a person who is suffering. When I consider what James writes here I do not see a formula for healing miracles but one for spiritual community. When he tells a suffering one to go to the elders he is speaking of the healing power of a spiritual community. In telling us to confess our sins he proclaims the healing power of transparent relationships. Perhaps the prayer of faith mentioned here is all about prayers offered in community?

Bring us Lord to a community of faith where we can be real with each other - a place where inner healing can come.

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