I’ve met people who think they can be the church on their own. The Bible says that’s impossible. There are no Lone Ranger Christians. Every metaphor of the church is about others. We are the “body of Christ”, with many parts. We are the “family of God”, related as brothers and sisters. We were made to be together.
The local church is only as health as its “one anothers.”
We really need one another, don’t we? That’s why over 40 times in the New Testament we find the phrase “one another” — love one another, care for one another, encourage one another, give to one another, and the list goes on.
To conclude my four-part series of “one anothers”, I’d like us to look at “praying for one another.” If you get a chance, read James 5:13-16. There we are taught, not only to pray for one another, but when to pray for another. Here are four different times the Apostle James says we are to pray for one another.
Let’s pray for one another…
1. When we’re going through challenges!
All of us face problems. James asks, “Is any one of you in trouble? Let them pray!” (James 5:13). The word “trouble” is an interesting word. The Greek word is “kaopatheo” dealing with our pain and suffering.
Pain should lead us to prayer!
So, when someone is feeling bad or hurting, we should pray for them. Pain should lead us to pray! Look around, reach out and pray for those who are in trouble.
2. When we’re having a good time!
We are to pray when things are terrific, not just when things are terrible. James writes, “Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise” (James 5:13b). The Bible calls this kind of prayer praise! Praises are prayers of gratitude!
Praising God keeps us from pride.
“Happy” in this verse means to be “free from trouble.” In other words, everything seems to be going your way! It’s during these times we may drift from God. We can deceive ourselves into thinking that we earned, and even deserve what we have. Moses warned God people about this: “Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God …” Deuteronomy 8:10-11 (NLT). Praising God keeps us from pride and leads us to prayer. In praise, we acknowledge that every good thing comes from Him (James 1:17).
3. When we need God’s healing touch.
James continues: “Is anyone 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” (James 5:14). We need to be careful not believe that healing is some magical formula. The oil represents God’s Spirit. The elders can be anyone in spiritual authority. Healing is always God’s job, not the oil nor the elders.
God is able to do a miracle in a moment!
The word “sick” in verse literally means “someone who is growing weary because of illness.” When we get sick and tired of being sick and tired, we need to be praying. Remember that God heals in three ways:
- Instantaneously. God can and does heal — emotionally, physically and spiritually! He is able to do a miracle in a moment. Remember physical healing is always temporary. Spiritual healing lasts forever!
- Gradually. Doctors can set a broken bone, but they can’t heal it. We take for granted, the miracle of healing God has placed in every living being.
- Eternally. In heaven, there will be no disease!! Everyone will be whole. That is the ultimate and complete healing.
4. When we are struggling with sin!
James shares the fourth situation we need to pray for one another — when we are sinning! “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…” (James 5:16).
Sins makes us sick. That’s why we need to confess it.
Sinning can affect our life spiritually, mentally and physically. The Psalmist said, “There was a time when I wouldn’t admit what a sinner I was. But my dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration. Psalm 32:3 (GN)
It’s through confession we receive God’s grace and forgiveness. No matter what we’ve done, God promises to restore us as we come to Him.
Before You Go
Praying for one another is one of the greatest “one anothers.” In fact, the Bible says to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). God wants to pray. There is no greater privilege than prayer. Prayer is talking to God. It’s His presence. He is here and he hears… so let’s pray!