Updated: Aug 7
Prayer and Restoration by Virgil Stripes
James 5:13-20 (ESV)
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 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. 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. 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. 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. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, 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.
James wraps his epistle up by speaking of prayer and faith, and restoring a person who has wandered away from the faith. First, I like what it says here about reasons to pray. If you are sick, or suffering, pray. If you are cheerful, sing praise.
Prayer is essential. We are to pray at all times. So what do we do if our prayers seem to go unanswered? I think we are to continue to pray. Ask God to show us what/how to pray for more effectiveness.
Years ago, I learned that the Lord’s Prayer can be broken down into four categories. Hopefully this will make sense to someone other than me. I learned the acronym ACTS.
Adoration: We worship and adore God for Who He is!
Contrition: We confess and reject our sin, asking for forgiveness.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all God has already done for us
Supplication: We ask God to do what He will do for us.
Of course, we need to be and stay submissive to His Will. Sometimes God will say no. As it said earlier in James 4:3 (ESV) You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
So let us each check our motives. Are we asking out of need, or out of selfish desires? Are we asking for the Lord to bless our sinful desires? We should pray for the things that Glorify God. We should pray for God’s Spirit to enlighten us, that we may understand when to pray and when to repent.
So if you see your brethren in sin or wandering from the faith, pray that the Lord will help you to bring him back to the faith.