James 5:16a NKJV
I Kings 19:11-13 NKJV
Matthew 18:19-20 NKJV
We learn in James 5:16a that we are to “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
I’ve learned that confession is a bit easier than I once thought. There are many ways to confess, but I’ve included some thoughts on how to do it.
Quiet your mind:
These days I find that quieting my mind begins confession. That’s because when I get really quiet I realize that God is already with me. God is in me but until I silence the busy and the noise around me it’s difficult to see, feel, and hear God.
When we close out the noise around us, God is IN the silence. It’s just like Elijah described it:
Elijah described God in I Kings 19:11-13, “Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Notice that before He revealed where He could be found, God showed Elijah where he was NOT found. God was not where you would expect Him to be. God was not in the wind. He was not in the earthquake. He was not in the fire. God wanted Elijah to SEE where He could be found.
God IN Us
God was IN Elijah and Elijah knew it. The Spirit of God was upon him.
Center on God:
When we realize God is with us and is IN us, we center (focus) on God. Just like Elijah, it’s been my experience that I am overwhelmed by God’s love, grace, and power. When Elijah centered on God he covered his face and went to the entrance of the cave.
Elijah covered his face because he was completely humbled with the realization of the presence of God. Elijah realized the power, might, glory, and wonder of God. When Elijah covered his face it was a sign he felt like he could not look at God.
He did not feel worthy.
Then, Elijah went to the entrance of the cave. The text does not say that he uncovered his face. At this point Elijah was fully centered on God.
God spoke to Elijah in a still small voice. God whispered.
Then, Elijah proceeded to tell God his troubles, and God gave him his ‘marching orders.’
On the mountain, Elijah was alone with God.
Sit with others:
In James 5:16a, the writer advised his audience they had each other. Certainly, Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 18:19-20, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
Because Jesus said “again I say” we know this wasn’t the first time he told them there is power in sitting with other believers. James’ advice was rooted in the words of Jesus. In the book of James readers were told to gather together because there was strength in numbers.
James also advised his readers they were to confess their sins to each other. While that may seem like a difficult task, we know that telling another person about the burden you are carrying lightens your load. That’s exactly what James wanted them to do.
At this point we need to remember that Biblical Historians believe James was writing to Jews who had scattered. Their support system would have been found in believers in the body…their special group (homies). James wanted them to rely on and find comfort in each other.
The biggest advantage to confessing our shortcomings to a believer we can trust is that they can pray for us and they can speak to God’s forgiveness. When someone speaks words of forgiveness to us (Go in peace, your sins are forgiven), we are more likely to embrace the forgiveness and remember it.
Pray for one another:
James also knew as we pray with another person and confess, we will have others who will pray for us after our meeting is over. As the Spirit brings our friend’s to our mind, we lift them up and hold them (carry them) to God.
I can tell you from experience that there’s nothing quite like having a person (or people) you can trust who pray for you. I’ve been blessed to have the same prayer partner for over 20 years, and I know my children pray for me. James was right…it IS a blessing!
Finally, James reminded his readers that when we confess and pray with others, we WILL be healed. God does hear us and we have the promise in Matthew 18:19-20 that God is in the midst of us!
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Pray and Confess
If you have a trusted friend or Priest/Pastor, confess your burdens and ask them to pray for you.
In God, Deborah