THE PRAYER OF FAITH
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.
19 My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
When life isn’t going your way, and you know you should make some personal changes, hearing advice is never enough. Good information has to be coupled with actual ability in order to be helpful. So it is when we’re stuck. Rules in and of themselves are unable to produce the obedience that they demand. Fortunately, James reminds us that through prayer, God is able to do what we are unable to do for ourselves.
The majority of James’ letter is a list of dos and don’ts, and applying James’ lessons to ourselves in the here and now is emotionally weighty because we have failed to obey these commands, and our troubles often come from the sin in our own hearts (James 1:14; 4:1). But in his wisdom and kindness, James ends his letter with a breath of fresh air. He goes beyond mere dos and don’ts and tells us how to remain steadfast under trial until the coming of the Lord—by praying and looking out for one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
James doesn’t ask us to do something that he’s not familiar with. He speaks to us as one who knows how to endure. History tells us that James spent so much time in prayer that his calloused knees looked like a camel’s! Throughout his life, James would have witnessed his half-brother Jesus withdraw to desolate places to pray (Luke 5:16). Though James gives us many hard words in his letter, he does it with the heart of a pastor who prayed for his people and remained steadfast unto death. Let’s learn from old “Camel Knees” about the way a heart devoted to God expresses itself in prayer.