Weekly Lectionary Reading

james3_13Proper 21 , September 27, 2009

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22  •  Psalm 124  •  James 5:13-20  •  Mark 9:38-50

13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 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. 15 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.

16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.

This passage really speaks to the power of prayer in a believer’s life.  It gives us a good idea of what the body of Christ (that is the church) is suppose to look like.  Several years ago, I preached a series entitled, “Five Things James Would Tell the Wesleyan Church.”  Here is a model of what the church should do for each other.  We don’t like to hear it much because one of the things involved is confession.  One of the things that the church should be is a place of prayer.  Lord, grant that we would be powerful and effective in our prayers that you would produce powerful results.

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