We pray when we are in trouble, when we are happy, when we are sick – and also when we need help. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” I have been going to physical therapy for knee problems lately. What I didn’t know was that part of the problem was caused by weak muscles in my hip. Relying on my own resources, I could never fix the problem. Instead, the irritation of the joint continues, creating further problems, thus more irritation and more problems. It’s not a pretty picture.
We pray when we need help. Here in James 5 we are instructed to confess to each other and pray for each other for healing. Confess? Umm….. could I just confess that I ate to many thin mint cookies yesterday and leave it at that? Confession is good for us and yet very difficult to do. Why? Because we are afraid of the consequences and the reaction. What will they say? What will they think of me? And what is that supposed to do anyway? Well, when I got help for my knee – I found someone who had different resources than I did. They helped me find different approaches to stairs and other difficulties. So, the person we confess too may be able to help us by providing new insight and resources. Also, it is a matter that can build accountability. If someone knows where we fall, then they can ask how we are doing in that area. If we know someone will ask, then we are more apt to look at the change of behavior we are striving for. It breaks the vicious self-reliance cycle.
Those who are hearing that confession, they must be prepared to respond appropriately and pray with that person for healing. That means that we don’t get to play the shocked and spotless person who has never messed up. We must instead be real and honest ourselves as we pray with them for healing. We are not the one who can wash away that sin stain, but we do have an opportunity of helping to hold up that brother or sister.