James taught the church about the prayer of faith. His advice to those who were suffering is to pray. For those who were cheerful, to sing praises and those who were sick, to ask for prayer from the elders. The elders were instructed to anoint the sick person with oil in the name of Jesus. The prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord will raise them up. If the person had committed a sin, the Lord would forgive them of their sins. James went on to say, that we should confess our sins to one another and pray for one another, that we may be healed. The earnest and sincere prayer of a righteous person, produces great results.
James was referring to accountability and the need to submit to spiritual authority. Elders are set over the church to lead, support and to equip the body of Christ. Christianity is not a ‘solo faith,’ where we do it all alone. We need each other in order to grow, develop and to mature in God. “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Paul also said that those who are strong, are to help to bear the failings of the weak (Romans 15:1). Paul also taught about the need to gently restore someone who is caught in a sin. This was described as, bearing one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-2).
The above scripture means that, even born against Christians can at times struggle, with besetting sins. In these instances, it helps when we have people around us who we can confide in and who can hold us accountable. Church elders and those who are mature in the faith, are best placed to support people who are struggling. Sometimes people need spiritual counselling, which supports their deliverance from spiritual strongholds. We all have blind spots that may not be obvious to us. Having people around us who can provide guidance and gentle correction, will help us to grow.
Some sinful conditions can also open a door for sickness and infirmity. For example, someone may struggle with anger, which Paul warns, gives a foothold to the devil. Notice that James stated that the sick person, may at times need to repent of sin. This is not to say that every person who is ill is sinful, neither is every sinful person ill. However, some situations may open a door for affliction. Someone who abuses drugs and alcohol for example, cannot be surprised if they experience ill health. Do not be afraid to ask mature Christians and elders for help, support, guidance and counselling. There are conditions that we will not be set free from, without the help of others. Find someone who you can be honest with about your struggles and don’t be afraid to ask for help.