Main point summary
In suffering and cheerfulness, lift your voice to God. And confess your sins to one another, so that you may be healed.
Is anyone among you suffering?
Let him pray.
Is anyone cheerful?
Let him v sing praise.
Is anyone among you sick?
Let him call for the elders of the church,
and let them pray over him,
w 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 x if he has committed sins,
he will be forgiven.
Therefore, y confess your sins to one another
and pray for one another,
z that you may be healed.
a The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. 1
Elijah was a man b with a nature like ours,
and c he prayed fervently that it might not rain,
and for d three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.
e Then he prayed again,
and heaven gave rain,
and the earth bore its fruit.
I think my natural response when I suffer is to grumble, and my natural response when cheerful is to be complacent. In this passage, James directs a different response: to live purposefully oriented towards God. When suffering, pray. When in good spirits, sing praise. Don't drift along as though God was not present. This should be our posture as individuals and as a fellowship of believers, supporting one another. We should not ignore the reality of residual sin, and we should be ready to confess it to one another. We do this knowing that God is merciful, and knowing that he hears ordinary people who earnestly look to him. His purpose is to bring healing through confession and prayer. Note: A couple of other observations: a. Surely God wants his people to be spiritually whole / healthy (John 10:10), yet o ngoing sin is a reality ( 1 John 1:8-9 ). God's uses confession and prayer, among the brothers and sisters, as a means to provide healing. b. "Heaven gave rain and the earth bore fruit" is a reminder of Isaiah 55:10-11. God uses prayer and the implanted word (James 1:21) in the lives of his people.