“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.”
---End of Scripture verses---
Confession and prayer are two of the most potent spiritual tools that we have at our disposal. Notice that James tells us to confess our sins “to one another” (verse 16). Not to a priest. Not to the elders. Not to a preacher. To one another. There is great liberating power in admitting to our brothers and sisters in Christ that we have sinned and that we need their help and their prayers for God’s help. This doesn’t mean that we have to stand before the congregation and confess every detail of every sin although sometimes a public confession is appropriate when the sin is of a public nature.
But, more times than not, it is helpful to talk to one or a few brethren in Christ about the sins that plague our lives and compromise our spiritual health. The power of sin is silence. As long as we persist in trying to hide our habitual sins we will continue to make excuses for them, live in denial of their destructive force, and we will not break the grip that sin has over us. But, when we break the silence we admit that we are in trouble and confess that we are not strong enough to defeat sin all by ourselves. Even though we may be embarrassed at first, there is actually great relief when we finally come clean and stop trying to shoulder the burden and weight of sin all alone. Automatically we will have good brethren praying for us, encouraging us to do right and holding us accountable to our covenant with Christ.
And, of course, “the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” good in our lives and in the world (verse 16). “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours” (verse 17). Even though he was a mighty prophet of the Lord, he was just a man besought by human weakness and frailty as we are (1 Kings 19:1-10). It was not the power of the prophet that made his prayers potent and effective. It was God’s omnipotence and Elijah’s confession of dependence upon Him that dried up the skies and then poured forth the rain that produced the earth’s fruit (verse 18). Confession and prayer are both powerful expressions of humility and appeals to the Highest Power for strength and deliverance. Take frequent advantage of them!
Please read James 5:19-20 for tomorrow.
Have a blessed day!
- Louie Taylor