DAY 4: THE FRIEND WHO IS ILL
Yesterday's reading ended with a promise that we will receive healing when we pray for each other (James 5:16). The Bible is full of stories affirming this promise of God.
On some occasions in the Bible, afflicted people asked God for their own healing, but many others were healed through intercession. In Matthew 15, a mother asks Jesus for healing on behalf of her demon-possessed daughter. "A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, 'Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely'" (Matthew 15:22, NLT).
A person who is ill may sometimes be so trapped by the devil's attack that he or she is not able to pray for themselves. The spiritual aspects of disease may sometimes be too overwhelming to overcome by oneself. In Mark 9, when the disciples failed to cast out an evil spirit, Jesus explained that prayer is often the only way. That is when we need someone to bridge the gap.
Do you know someone who is ill? How does the illness affect the afflicted person's spiritual life? Perhaps they are struggling to keep having faith in a miracle. Or maybe there is some unrepented sin that prevents them from approaching God.
Whatever the case may be, through Christ we have the privilege of activating healing in our friends' life. "Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven" (James 5:14-15, NLT).