Praying For One Another
by Allan Knapp
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
This passage serves as one of the key marching orders for the elders at URC – be ready to pray over anyone who is sick. We expect to be doing that often during the days and weeks ahead. It has been our practice to arrange an appropriate meeting place, listen to a description of the ailment, and pray. We ask the Great Physician to heal, and we lift up concerns for circumstances, timing, wisdom, and such. Right now, we know how to have several people on a virtual connection for prayer, although we haven’t figured out the virtual anointing-with-oil part. Please don’t hesitate to contact one of the elders or the church office to ask for prayer.
Notice that this passage is not just for the elders – all believers are to be confessing to one another and praying for one another. There is great power in those prayers. Many of you will recall the several miraculous healings that occurred during our early 2019 Faith Focus on prayer. God tells us he rejoices to answer our prayers (Matthew 7:7-11, James 1:17).
Notice also that the command here is to pray for one another. That means you are praying for others, AND they will be praying for you. There are potential ditches on both sides of this road. Someone might spend all their prayer time on themselves and neglect to love their neighbor by praying for them. Others might never be ready with personal prayer requests.
It is ok to pray for yourself, and it is a good idea to have those needs in mind when you are asked how you can be prayed for. Troubles, hurts, family members, upcoming events, and circumstances are common prayer request topics. The requests don’t have to be “asks.” Praise and thanksgiving are great prayer items. And the command in James 5:16 includes confession. You don’t need to blab all your trespasses to everyone, but regularly asking for help with troublesome sins through prayer with a few close friends can be very beneficial.
The URC Prayer chain is open to all our members. You can submit a prayer request here. We often include the requests during the Tuesday morning prayer meeting. We start promptly at 7:00AM and end at 7:30AM. Here is the link to join. The virtual prayer meeting is working ok. There is not as much fellowship, but it is easier to show up in pajamas.