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Your Prayer is Effective

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.

James 5:16 (HCSB)

This verse is a direct reference to Matthew 18 where Jesus sets out the disciplinary measures that are to be taken against unrepentant Christians. He says in verse 19: "if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.” To agree means "being in one accord" to make a decision according to the word of God. Thus, two or three leaders can intercede with God for forgiveness and healing for a church member who repents of their sin.

We can understand this by the fact that James first asks his readers to confess their sins to one another, and then to pray for one another so that those who are sick may be healed. This means that the illness of many was the result of their sin, for this they needed God's forgiveness. However, James does not say that a Christian can forgive the sin of another, but rather that he can pray for the other so that God can heal him.

What James also has in mind is a perfect relationship and unity within the Church, where everyone is interested in the needs of others and makes those needs a burden of prayer until God intervenes. When someone is weak in faith, they need someone stronger and more mature to pray for them. Keep in mind that even if you think you don't have enough faith, someone somewhere is weaker than you and needs your prayer to intercede on their behalf.

May the grace and peace of God be with you all.

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