James 5:13-16 (NIVUK)
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you ill? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 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. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
We’ve thought a lot about personal prayer this week, but the heart of this passage is not about individual faith, but the prayer and faith of the community. Pray for each other, with each other, seeking each others prayers and offering them. To pray with such openness requires trust and belief in each other as well as God, and so as yet imperfect people, calls for confession, recognising that we hurt others and that others hurt us, and deciding to give each other a second chance, and third, and fourth, as God has us. If we hide our faults, or deny them, this only breeds division and lack of trust, but through mutual confession we build each other up and become part of the answer to the prayer for wholeness that we pray.
Father, help me to be open to others and trust in them as I turn to them for support, as they too seek to trust and be open to me as they turn to me too.