Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16
“Hey, Poh Fang!” A church friend texted. “For this month’s care group meeting, let’s get everyone to do what James 5:16 says. Let’s create a safe environment of trust and confidentiality, so we can share an area of struggle in our life and pray for each other.”
For a moment, I wasn’t sure how to reply. While our small group members have known each other for years, we’d never really openly shared all our hurts and struggles with one another. After all, it’s scary to be vulnerable.
But the truth is, we’re all sinners and we all struggle. We all need Jesus. Authentic conversations about God’s amazing grace and our dependency on Christ have a way of encouraging us to keep trusting in Him. With Jesus, we can stop pretending to have trouble-free lives.
So I replied, “Yes! Let’s do that!” Initially, it was awkward. But as one person opened up and shared, another soon followed. Though a few kept silent, there was understanding. No one was pressured. We ended the time by doing what the second part of James 5:16 says, “Pray for each other.”
That day I experienced the beauty of fellowship with believers in Jesus. Because of our common faith in Christ, we can be vulnerable with each other and depend on Him and others to help us in our weaknesses and struggles.
While we must be discerning, what can you do to encourage more authentic sharing in your church community? Who can you share your struggles with?
Father, thank You for placing me in Your family so I might find support as I grow to become more and more like Christ.
Prayer is the focus of James 5:13–18. James encourages both individual prayer (v. 13) and community prayer (vv. 14–16). His encouragement to pray in a variety of circumstances demonstrates that prayer is to be a standard part of the life of the believer in Jesus. Whether suffering or cheerful, we’re to pray.
In verse 15, James circles back to what he emphasized in the beginning of his letter—the necessity of faith when praying (see 1:5–6). In 1:5, he tells his readers to ask for wisdom when they need it, but to ask in faith (v. 6). Similarly, in 5:13–18, prayer offered in faith is what’s effective. This echoes Jesus’ own statements on the importance of faith (see Matthew 17:20).