The Gifts of Confession and Prayer

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Scripture: Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  James 5:16 (NKJV)

Observation: James writes a series of instructions to the young Christian church of the first century.  His letter is a combination of theological principles (Grace and works), and practical Christianity (prayer for the sick, taking care of the widows and orphans, etc.).

Today’s verse is taken out of a larger section where James deals with prayer for and anointing the sick.

Application: While James’ advice is for members of the church at large, his words apply to the home and to the couple relationship.  When we say or do anything that hurts a member of the family, those closest to us, we need to confess directly to them, and do it as soon as possible before the pain caused festers into anger and even hatred.

In the devotional “My Life Today” we can read Ellen White’s words: “  I am instructed to urge upon our people most earnestly the necessity of religion in the home. Among the members of the household there is ever to be a kind, thoughtful consideration. Morning and evening let all hearts be united in reverent worship. At the season of evening worship let every member of the family search well his own heart. Let every wrong that has been committed be made right. If during the day, one has wronged another or spoken unkindly, let the transgressor seek pardon of the one he has injured. Often grievances are cherished in the mind, and misunderstandings and heartaches are created that need not be. If the one who is suspected of wrong be given an opportunity, he might be able to make explanations that would bring relief to other members of the family” (ML 32).

The second part of James’ instruction is to “pray for one another.”  While confession should take place when harm has been made, prayer is something that should happen daily.  We all need to carve time out of our daily life to pray together as a couple, together as a family, and together with others.  We make time to eat, because we are hungry.  We make time to rest, because we cannot go non-stop for long periods of time.  We make time for reading, to watch TV, to check out Facebook, to talk on the phone, to play, to travel. . . to do anything that we want to do.  And yet, it seems as if we can’t find any time to have communion with the One who sustains us, feeds, and provides everything we need for us.  At the same time, we don’t seem to want to make time praying together as a couple or as a family, or with others, when prayer strengthens and heals us individually, our family, and our relationships.

Let’s us, then, confess our sins to one another, forgive one another, and pray for each other.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, thank you that we can talk to You about each other and about those we love and care about.  Help us to be humble enough to confess our sins to one another, and help us to make time to pray together and to pray for one another.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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