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Preparing to Pray

In thinking back about the post I did for Friday of last week (praying for the healing of those in deep despair with the great blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26), I remembered another applicable scripture: “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16, NIV)

But we sometimes forget the line immediately preceding the above quote from James: “[C]onfess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” It reads as though confessing our sins to each other is a prerequisite to a prayer for healing.

We may find it easier to confess our sins to God than to each other. When we do confess sins to God or others, it’s often a general confession.

But to me, the confession written about in James is meant to be one of specificity — naming the sins we’ve committed — to each other. A righteous person isn’t someone who holds things back. He or she is honest and humble. There’s no pretending. Remember, that’s what the Pharisees did.

To be righteous, we must confess our sins to each other. Such a confession will surely have a cleaning effect and cause our prayers to be “powerful and effective.”

But confessing our sins to each other is hard. It requires an atmosphere of profound trust among our sisters and brothers. It harkens back to the earliest Christians. In Acts 2, we’re told that they had all things in common, ate together daily, and shared what they had with glad and sincere hearts. They lived every day in an environment of trust.

After 2,000+ years, it’s not like that any more. But our prayers for healing those in despair can still be powerful and effective–if we prepare for such prayers–if confess our sins to each other–if we trust each other.

 

4 comments… add one
  • Lorraine Lynch April 26, 2016, 8:16 AM

    Johnny, I think you are absolutely right about prayer and confessing our specific sins to one another. Of course, trust IS the big issue in our confession of sin to our brothers and sisters. Christians, of all people, should be the friends that we completely trust, but often a breach of confidentiality totally ruins this concept. Nevertheless, we must establish relationships with Christian brothers and sisters who have proven their loyalty, and confess our weaknesses and frailties so we can ask for God’s forgiveness. Keep on blogging my friend. L

    • John B. Phillips April 26, 2016, 9:51 AM

      Thanks, L. As always, I appreciate you insight. While I’m not the best at trusting others to the point that I’m willing to confess specific sins, the times I’ve been willing to do it have had a liberating effect. They have opened up a closeness between me and the one or ones I’ve confessed to, and they have been more willing to talk with me openly about a lot of stuff. Thanks again. J

  • Frances Smith April 25, 2016, 9:54 AM

    I do so enjoy enjoy my morning with you.
    Your comments are so human yet thoughtful with scripture that pull the depth of the subject together..

    Are you putting out a “blog book?

    • John B. Phillips April 25, 2016, 4:27 PM

      Frances,

      Your comment is very kind and much appreciated.

      I actually am thinking about a “blog book.” I probably need to wait until I’ve done more posts on the blog, but it would seem to be an easier way to write a book than what I did the first time, since I will have already written the book via the blog. Need to get a good editor who can sort through the posts and put them in some reasonable order. The way I do the blog, I kind of jump from one subject to another, which might not be the best way to do a book.

      Anyway, it’s interesting that you mention the blog book, since I do think about it from time to time. Great minds? The fact that it occurred to your great mind will undoubtedly give me the impetus to give it a shot.

      Thanks for reading and staying in touch.

      John

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