Notes: The letter of James is a practical letter for Christians and especially for those with a Jewish heritage. Chapter 5 of the book continues to discuss practical applications of faith. In verses 1 to 6 James again speaks to those who have worldly wealth to warn them that they must trust in God. In verses 7 to 12 James tells those who suffer for their faith to have patience. They are exhorted to model their faith after the example of Job and other saints who found a reward in due time. In verses 13 to 20 James discusses prayer and confession. To understand these verses we must recall that community leaders were expected to act as counselors as well as medics. The healing that is described in verse 14 may be related to the catharsis of the soul described in verses 19 and 20.
Adult PM Bible Study – P – L – E – A – D – James 5: 13 – 20
See also: I Kings 17:1; 18: 41, 42; Ezekiel14:14; Luke 15: 4, 5; I John 5: 16; Jude 22, 23.
Prayer – v. 13 Prayer must become central to the life of the believer. The believer is dwelling in the presence of God through the Holy Spirit, and in God’s presence the believer must speak with God.
Laudation – v. 13 The believer must lift praises to God for all the blessings received, for all the harms avoided, and for all the grace given by God.
Entreaty – v. 13, 14 The believer must seek the blessing and the deliverance of God for self and for others. Likewise. the elder-leaders must stand ready to pray for those in need of prayer.
Advocacy – vs. 14, 15 In the community of believers there must be elder-leaders who are prepared to pray with and for others in their time of need. These leaders must be discerning of the needs of others. Likewise. these leaders must be prepared to hold in confidence the confessions of those in need of prayer.
Deliverance – vs. 16, 19, 20 God honors the prayers of the righteous. These prayers can bring about a change of heart and attitude that results in a change of life. Many are the sons and daughters who have been saved by God when a loving mother or grandmother prayed.
Exemplary story: A faithful elder pointed to the text in James 5:14, 15, and he asked how it was to be understood. He was troubled by calls of persons who were bodily ill and by persons who wanted to gain favor with God by having an elder pray over them. As we read together the passage, we found that sin was to be confessed, and we found that deliverance from sin was again mentioned in verse 19. Yes, God does heal. Here the healing appears to be an inner healing of spirit and soul.
James 5:13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.
Prayer: Lord God, in all circumstances of life – in our sorrows and in our moments of joy – it is to you we turn in prayer.
Thought for the day: The songwriter said, “Yes, he cares. I know he cares. His heart is touched by our grief.
James 5: 14, 15 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we would ever and always desire to be in a right relationship with you.
Thought for the day: If you need prayer, ask God to guide you to the prayer partner who will lift your heartfelt concerns heavenward.
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful, and effective.
Prayer: Almighty God, Our Heavenly Father, for every prayer someone has uttered on our behalf we offer our humble thanks.
Thought for the day: Today someone is praying for every child of God.
James 5: 17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for the prayers of saints like Abraham and Jonah, and Job; and thank you for the prayers of Jesus for the salvation of the world.
Thought for the day: Even Ahab believed in the power of Elijah’s prayer.
James 5:18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
Prayer: Lord God, in your good time and according to your will may you answer our prayers
Thought for the day: The seed sown by a gardener in May is a prayer that is answered in July.
James 5: 19 My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back,
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may we join you in the search for the one lost sheep.
Thought for the day: Jesus said the good shepherd leaves the 99 to search for the one lost sheep.
James 5: 20 remember this: whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, in the power of your Holy Spirit may we reclaim the soul that has lost its way.
Thought for the day: Someone is depending on you for spiritual directions on the road that leads to God.