13 Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.
19 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Examine / Explain
The questions pose self-examination. Commands are given with an expected answer, which leads to the state of the heart for man. If some are physically sick, how can we, as believers, help them with prayer if our heart is sick? Our sins prevent our prayers from prevailing over anything. God always forgives us if we ask and wants us to find healing in our horizontal relationships. When we do, there is power to stop rain from falling, but more importantly, there is power in being there for a fellow believer in finding redemption.
How do I apply this to my life?
Find safe believers and openly confess what is going on in my life! We can easily walk with forgiveness in our lives when we ask for it. But how many of us are walking in the freedom of it? As men, we struggle between “manliness” and “weakness.” We can’t admit our faults because that means I can’t take care of myself or my family. I won’t be loved if I let someone know what I struggle with. I have to keep this hidden so people won’t leave me. These are all lies! If we are living in fear and not in freedom how are we helping our brothers in Christ? How effective are our prayers for the lost or even those for the state of nations, such as Israel, right now? With our junk in the way, we are blinded in our communication with God. Yes, He forgave us when we asked. Yes, we are made righteous. But our human nature and striving to be kings of our kingdoms will bring us back to our sins. With community, we have a chance to steer clear of those areas. But we have to get it up and out of us. We have to use our voices with others so that it doesn’t come out as us acting out. What we don’t confess will come out to us in action. Am I letting my mighty men know how I am doing? Do I get everything out in my counseling sessions? Do I still try to self-protect and not give all the details? Maybe, but I have come a long way. Is there room to grow? Always.
What is my response?
Father, I want to be even more open with those around me. I want to use my vulnerability to help other men find freedom in You through living out verse sixteen. I want my prayer to be effective, and I want to thrive in a lifestyle of righteousness. I want to be a catalyst for the stirring of the souls of men. I want men to be self-aware of their struggles and know they are loved by a community of men who will walk alongside them and help them get through all things. So, what am I not doing, or what is in the way of me working on my assignment? And what needs to be cut out of my life so I can follow you more closely?