James 5:13-20 New Living Translation (NLT)
13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back from wandering will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
Over the last two decades, we’ve been a part of several churches in the various cities we’ve lived. Sadly, we’ve observed a common trait among them all: a lack of prayer. Not just individually, but corporately. We joined small groups on prayer, but very few actually prayed. We heard yearly sermon series on prayer, which stoked the fire, but eventually it dwindled to a flickering flame when the corporate prayer nights ended, and the masses returned to the more important work. Believe me, I’ve seen the same splinter in my own eye. I too have traded sitting at the feet of Jesus (like Mary), for my own feet to stay busy serving, serving, serving (like Martha). I mean, someone has to do the work, right? And there’s only a few of us, right? Yes, but what did the Lord say we should do?
We should pray.
Why don’t we pray?
Why don’t we call on the elders to pray over us?
Why don’t we confess our sins to one another?
To bow before the Lord in prayer is HARD. It requires humility. It requires us to be stripped naked, pick up our cross, and crucify our flesh before the Father. It requires us to die to our desires, our wants, our will. It requires us to keep asking, seeking, and knocking until our hearts are resurrected by His heart. To bow in front of our elders is even HARDER. It requires even more humility. It requires even more stripping, and standing naked- in front of other people!
- Who are our elders?
They aren’t necessarily those that carry the title Elder, Pastor, or Leader (that shouldn’t be the case, but sadly, it is all too common- for man often promotes and assigns positions based on gifts or talents. The Lord however, promotes & assigns based on fruitfulness). An elder is a man or woman who is older in the Lord than us. An elder is a person who is “like a tree planted along a riverbank…” that continues to produce good fruit in every season. Elders are among the remnant of Gods people. They are the ones who prefer the prayer room, not the platform. They are the ones who do not crave the spotlight or the applause. They are elders in the Kingdom whose intercession may go unnoticed by Elders in the religious system, but not in their Fathers house. They are the ones who will meet with you at home, at a coffee shop, or a park to listen, encourage, and pray with you. They are the ones you can call, text, or facetime, at all hours of the day or night. They are the ones who’s joy it is to train you in the way that you should go. They are mothers and fathers in the Spirit.
- Why should we call our elders to pray?
Because the bible tells us so. The bible says that if we humble ourselves, and ask our elders to pray, then we may be healed. Did you hear me? HEALED!Humility proceeds healing. Humility releases blessing. Because God blesses those who are humble. God blesses those who are poor in Spirit. God blesses those who recognize their need for Him.God blesses those who seek His face. God blesses those who confess their sins. God blesses those who repent. God blesses those who mourn. God blesses those who forgive. God blesses those who submit to one another out of reverence for Him.
Can the Lord heal us when we meet with Him alone? Absolutely! He has been faithful to do so in my life. BUT, He has also required me to humble myself and ask others for help. It’s become a repeated pattern. He will do great things in my heart as I sit as His feet, but there comes a time when I need the gifts and the grace that others carry in the family of God to minister to the places I cannot see. By asking others to pray over me and confessing my sins in their presence, I’ve received more of the Fathers love, more of the Sons righteousness, and more of the Spirits refining fire and power. My elders have prayed over me in living rooms, ministry rooms and digital rooms for almost a decade. These elders- these spiritual moms and dads- have trained this strong-willed child in the way that she should go. I am no longer a rebellious orphan who performs in the spotlight for the applause of the crowd. I am no longer an exhausted orphan who serves, serves, serves for the approval of religious leaders. I am no longer an independent orphan who tries to provide for myself. I am no longer a lonely orphan without a family.
I am a child! I am a daughter. I am a sister. I have been adopted by the Father. I have been redeemed by the Son. I have been resurrected by the Spirit. I have an eternal family. I have moms and dads. I have brothers and sisters. And now, I have the joy of training the next generation of sons and daughters in prayer.
Are you suffering hardship? (physically, emotionally, spiritually)
You should pray.
Are you sick? (physically, emotionally, spiritually)
You should ask your elders to pray over you.
Searching for an elder? Here are some of mine:
And… our ministry, where I have the privilege of praying for others with my elders: