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Some comments on the prayer of faith

The prayer of faith

Some comments on the prayer of faith

By John Chopores


James 5:13  Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

"Is any among you afflicted? Let him not swear,  or engage in any improper use of the tongue,  but


let him pray. God is the Helper in such an hour.


Is any merry? Let his joy be shown,  not in wanton speech,  but in singing praises. Prayer and thanksgiving are the appropriate expressions for each condition." [PNT].

"He shows the best remedy against all afflictions,  that is, prayers which have their place both in sorrow and joy." [GENEVA].

"let him pray; to God that can save him; in the name of Christ; under the influence of the Spirit; believing in the word of promise.

Is any merry? in good heart and spirit,  in a good frame of mind,  as well as in prosperous circumstances,  in soul,  body and estate:


let him sing psalms; let him not only be inwardly joyful,  as he should be in prosperity,  and be thankful to God for his many mercies,  temporal and spiritual,  he enjoys; but let him express it vocally,  and melodiously,  by singing psalms,  hymns,  and spiritual songs: not that these are the only persons that are to sing psalms, or this the only time,  any more than that afflicted persons are the only ones that are to pray,  or the time of affliction the only time of prayer; but as affliction more especially calls for prayer,  so spiritual joy,  and rejoicing in prosperous seasons,  for singing of psalms: weeping,  and singing of psalms," [JOHN GILL].          

"{Let him pray} (proseucesyw). Present middle imperative,  "let him keep on praying" (instead of cursing as in verse #12).

{Is any cheerful} (euyumei; ).Present active indicative of euyumew,  old verb from euyumov (#Ac 27:36),  in N.T. only here and #Ac 27:22,25. {Let him sing praise} (qalletw). Present active imperative of qallw, originally to twang a chord as on a harp,  to sing praise to God whether with instrument or without,  in N.T. only here, #1Co 14:15; Ro 15:9; Eph 5:19. "Let him keep on making melody."  " [RWP]. 


14  Is any sick among you? 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:

"He shows peculiarly,  to what physicians especially we must go when we are diseased,  that is,  to the prayers of the elders,  which then also could cure the body,  

…and take away the main cause of sickness and diseases,  by obtaining healing for the sick through their prayers and exhortations." [GENEVA].

"Ver. 14. Is any sick among you? &c.] Which is often the case; the bodies of the saints,  as well as others,  are liable to a variety of diseases; they are sick,  and sometimes nigh unto death,  as Epaphroditus was: and then,


let him call for the elders of the church; in allusion to the elders of the congregation of Israel,  #Le 4:15. By these may be meant, either the elder members of the church,  men of gravity and soundness in the faith,  persons of long standing and experience; who have the gift and grace of prayer,  and are not only capable of performing that duty,  but of giving a word of counsel and advice to the sick. It was a kind of proverbial saying of Aristophanes the grammarian;


``the works of young men,  the counsels of middle aged persons,  and eucai gerontwn,  "the prayers of ancient men" {z}:''


or rather officers of churches are meant,  particularly pastors,  who are so called in Scripture; these should be sent for in times of sickness,  as well as physicians; and rather than they,  since their prayers may be the means of healing both soul and body: so in former times,  the prophets of God were sent to in times of sickness,  for advice and assistance. It is a saying of R. Phinehas ben Chama {a} that


``whoever has a sick person in his house,  let him go to a wise man,  and he will seek mercy for him.''


And it follows here,


and let them pray over him; or for him,  for the recovery of his health:" [JOHN GILL].      

"{Is any among you sick?} (asyenei tiv en umin; ). Present active indicative of asyenew,  old verb,  to be weak (without strength),  often in N.T. (#Mt 10:8). {Let him call for} (proskalesasyw). First aorist (ingressive) middle imperative of proskalew. Note change of tense (aorist) and middle (indirect) voice. Care for the sick is urged in #1Th 5:14 ("help the sick"). Note the plural here,  "elders of the church,  as in #Ac 20:17; 15:6,22; 21:18; Php 1:1 (bishops). {Let them pray over him} (proseuxasywsan ep auton). First aorist middle imperative of proseucomai. Prayer for the sick is clearly enjoined. {Anointing him with oil} (aleiqantev elaiw). First aorist active participle of aleifw,  old verb,  to anoint,  and the instrumental case of elaion (oil). The aorist participle can be either simultaneous or antecedent with proseuxasywsan (pray)." RWP]. Cf. Mark 6:13  And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.


15  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

We see here that the sick person must  exercise some faith. For he/she must call for the elders of the church to come, and them ask them to pray the prayer of faith! I would think that the sick person would also join with the elders, in praying for Divine healing!

"The prayer of faith. The prayer for the sick must be offered in faith to be effectual.


If he have committed sins. Often our sickness is due to sins against our body. The Lord,  who raises the sick in answer to prayer,  will forgive these." [PNT].

"15. prayer--He does not say the oil shall save: it is but the symbol.

  …have committed--literally,  "be in a state of having committed sins, "that is,  be under the consequences of sins committed." [JFB].

"Ver. 15. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick,  &c.] That is, the prayer of the elders,  being put up in faith by them,  and in which the sick person joins by faith; such a prayer is a means of bringing down from God a blessing on the sick man,  and of restoring him to his former health:


and the Lord shall raise him up; from his bed of sickness,  on which he is laid,  and bring him forth to praise his name,  and to fear and glorify him. 

…they shall be forgiven him; he shall have a discovery,  and an application of pardoning grace to him: and indeed the removing the sickness or disease may be called the forgiveness of his sins,  which is sometimes the sense of this phrase in Scripture,  as in #1Ki 8:34,36,50." [JOHN GILL].     


" {The sick} (ton kamnonta). Present active articular participle of kamnw,  old verb,  to grow weary (#Heb 12:3),  to be sick (here),  only N.T. examples. {The Lord shall raise him up} (egerei auton o kuriov). Future active of egeirw. Precious promise,

…{And if he have committed sins} (kan amartiav h pepoihkwv). Periphrastic perfect active subjunctive (unusual idiom) with kai ean (crasis kan) in condition of third class. Supposing that he has committed sins as many sick people have (#Mr 2:5; Joh 5:14; 9:2; 1Co 11:30)." [RWP].   

Cf. James 1:6  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 


James 5:16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

I believe that the healing talked about here, is for the body, but also for the soul.  Sin harms in many ways, and we need to be healed from all of Sins harms!

We need to use care in confessing our sins (that are not again another person) to someone, because some may not keep a confession quiet. It is best done with a person that you know to be spiritual.

Now if it is to a person that you have wronged, then that is a chance you may have to take.


This verse does not say, that God will not ever answer the prayer of the unsaved. It does say that a born-again Christian, who leads a good and holy life, will find great power in true pray!

"Confess your faults. This verse springs from #Jas 5:15. We all need healing of our sins. Let the brother confess his faults as a demonstration of repentance and let brethren pray for each other. Repentance,  confession and prayer are the conditions of the forgiveness of sins committed by church members." [PNT].

"One to another; where you have injured one another. Be healed; that the calamities which your sins have occasioned may be removed. Effectual; sincere,  earnest,  believing. Availeth much; has great influence in procuring blessings from God." [FAMILY].

"Because God pardons the sins of those who confess and acknowledge them,  and not those who justify themselves.

Therefore the apostle adds,  we ought to freely confer with one another concerning those inward diseases,  that we may help one another with our prayers." [GENEVA].

 "Ver. 16. Confess your faults one to another,  &c.] Which must be understood of sins committed against one another; which should be acknowledged,  and repentance for them declared,  in order to mutual forgiveness and reconciliation; and this is necessary at all times, and especially on beds of affliction, 

And pray for one another,  that ye may be healed; both corporeally and spiritually:

"the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Not any man's prayer; not the prayer of a profane sinner,  for God heareth not sinners; nor of hypocrites and formal professors: but of the righteous man,  who is justified by the righteousness of Christ, and has the truth of grace in him,  and lives soberly and righteously; for a righteous man often designs a good man,  a gracious man,  one that is sincere and upright,  as Job,  Joseph of Arimathea,  and others; though not without sin,  as the person instanced in the following verse shows; "Elias,  who was a man of like passions",  but a just man, and his prayer was prevalent: and not any prayer of a righteous man is of avail,  but that which is "effectual,  fervent"; that has power, and energy,  and life in it; which is with the Spirit,  and with the understanding,  with the heart,  even with a true heart,  and in faith; and which is put up with fervency,  and not in a cold,  lukewarm, lifeless,  formal,  and customary way: it is but one word in the original text; and the Vulgate Latin version renders it,  "daily"; that prayer which is constant and continual,  and without ceasing, and is importunate; this prevails and succeeds,  as the parable of the widow and the unjust judge shows. Some translate the word "inspired": the Spirit of God breathes into men the breath of spiritual life,  and they live,  and being quickened by him,  they breathe; and prayer is the breath of the spiritual man,  and is no other than the reverberation of the Spirit of God in him; and such prayer cannot fail of success: it may be rendered "inwrought"; true prayer is not what is written in a book,  but what is wrought in the heart,  by the Spirit of God; who is the enditer of prayer,  who impresses the minds of his people with a sense of their wants,  and fills their mouths with arguments,  and puts strength into them to plead with God,  and makes intercession for them according to the will of God; and such prayer is always heard,  and regarded by him: this has great power with God; whatever is asked,  believing,  is received; God can deny nothing prayed for in this manner; it has great power with Christ,  as Jacob had over the angel,  when he wrestled with him; and as the woman of Canaan,  when she importuned him,  on account of her daughter,  and would have no denial: such prayer has often been of much avail against Satan,  who has been dispossessed by it; even the most stubborn kind of devils have been dislodged by fasting and prayer: it has often been the means of preserving kingdoms and nations,  when invaded by enemies,  as the instances of Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah show; and of removing judgments from a people,  as was often done, through the prayers of Moses,  as when fire and fiery serpents were sent among them; and of bringing down blessings as rain from heaven by Elijah; and of delivering particular persons from trouble,  as Peter was delivered from prison,  through the incessant prayer of the church for him: and this power,  and efficacy,  and prevalence of prayer,  does not arise from any intrinsic worth and merit in it,  but from the grace of the Spirit,  who influences and endites it,  directs to it,  and assists in it; and from the powerful mediation,  precious blood,  and efficacious sacrifice of Christ; and from the promise of God and Christ,  who have engaged,  that whatever is asked according to the will of God,  and in the name of Christ,  shall be done." 

  "{Confess therefore your sins one to another} (exomologeisye oun allhloiv tav amartiav). Present middle (indirect) of exomologew. Confession of sin to God is already assumed. But public confession of certain sins to one another in the meetings is greatly helpful in many ways.

…{Pray for one another} (proseucesye uper allhlwn). Present middle imperative. Keep this up. {That ye may be healed} (opwv iayhte). Purpose clause with opwv and the first aorist passive subjunctive of iaomai. Probably of bodily healing (verse #14), 

…{Availeth much} (polu iscuei). "Has much force." Present active indicative of iscuw (from iscuv,  strength)." [RWP].    


James 5:17  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

18  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.