“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one 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. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”–James 5:13-16 (NIV)
“The cancer has returned.”
Four words that none of us would want to hear, but as a ten-year cancer survivor, my dear friend had to hear those words a few months ago and is having surgery today as a result.
Through the tests and doctor appointments, she asked me and my other friend for prayers. I have been moved by her description of the outpouring of prayer she has had from church members, friends, families, work colleagues, and other people she has met. We all believe in the power of prayer and want to lift her up during this challenging time in her life.
I am blessed to see how she has reached out to others for prayer. There have been times in my life when I have been reluctant to share my problems with people, thinking that I could make it alone with God instead. Somehow, inviting them into my journey and messes seemed like it would inconvenience them, make them think differently of me, or just pull them down. So I wrapped my problems up and kept them to myself, when I could have experienced the patient grace of loving friends and family by asking them to help carry the burden.
James reminds his readers (and us) that carrying one another’s burdens in prayer is what we should be about. The very act of confessing our sins and sickness to others and God will bring us forgiveness and healing. This act of faith in saying those prayers is noticed by God and He will respond on our behalf. That is where the true power comes from! God fights for us, He is our healer, our victor, the One who can conquer and forgive sins. We just need to admit we need the help.
How might you reach out to friends for prayers this week? Are you troubled, going through difficult times, sick, or just down in life? Invite God and others into your burdens through prayer, and experience God’s grace and forgiveness as you are lifted to His throne of mercy!
Prayer– “Loving God, I thank you for friends and family who can lift me up in prayer. I ask for humility to share my burdens with them, and I ask for your power of forgiveness and healing to work in my life this week. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”