COVID has led some people to think they don’t need to be part of the church family. They say they are getting everything they need online or on their own.
Guess what? 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 healthy 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.
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 us to pray. There is no greater privilege than prayer.
A while back I shared this blog based on James 5:13-16. I thought it was fitting to repost it. Here is this passage we learn not just how to pray, but also when to pray.
“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 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; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for one other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:13-16 (NIV)
Here are four different occasions we should be pray for one another:
1. Pray 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 leads 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. Pray when we are doing well!
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. Pray 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 to 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 can do a miracle in a moment!
The word “sick” in this 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 can 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. Pray 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).
Sin makes us sick. That’s why we need to confess it.
Sinning can affect our lives 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
This year our Online Annual Conference begins with a Call to Prayer. The theme this year is This Is Us! You are invited to participate in a one-hour time for prayer on Sunday night, November 8th starting at 6:30 PM. Please put it on your calendar. Here is the link for the prayer time.
Also, please register for Annual Conference (November 9-10,2020). This is open to everyone in our Conference of churches. You can watch the Devotional Times, participate in the Break Out Sessions, and join in the Evening Services, all via the internet. Here’s where to register (and it’s free): www.thepacificconference.com
Hope to see you at Annual Conference and let’s keep praying for one another!