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. (ESV)
The approach to God is one of humility. We have already discovered that God invites us to bring our needs of sickness to him by means of asking for the elders of the church to pray for us. In addition to being healed we are told that we can find forgiveness of our sins as we come to the Lord in prayer. The elders have a role in ministering to the body in prayer.
How humbling would it be to take James' instruction in our verse today? Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another. How often do you think this practice actually occurs in the life of a local church. I am afraid that in many instances people talk about prayer and confession, but do not follow what James is recommending.
Why do we not confess our sins to one another? Sadly, we are afraid of the quick condemnation we would receive from our brother or sister in Christ if they knew the sins we were wrestling with. Being vulnerable enough to confess sins means having a relationship of trust with that person. It is important that we develop loving healthy relationships in the body of Christ so that confession can happen.
James says that there is a wonderful result that happens when a church body embraces this practice of confession and prayer one for another. They are healed! I am convinced that James is primarily talking about a spiritual healing here. The body is healthy as sin is removed and genuine love is shared one with another.
How healthy is your church body? Could it be that one of the things lacking in your church is a practice of confession and prayer one for another? What could you do to help facilitate better confession and prayer in your church?