Faith That Prays
Topic: Faith Passage: James 5:13–20
Community Group Discussion Questions: James 5.13-20
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Read James 5:13-20 as a group and then work through the following questions:
- Compare James 5:13 with the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. How do the two passages compare? Why is prayer in every season of our lives so important?
- Technically, James tells us to “sing” our prayers in vs. 13b. Do you believe praise songs are a form of prayer? How can we sing our prayers in our gathered worship and our daily routines?
- Verses 14-15 instruct a Christian who faces severe illness to call for the elders, be anointed with oil (as a symbol of being set apart for special, focused prayer), confess any know sin in their life, and then allow the elders to pray over them with faith, asking God to heal them. Have you ever gone through this process? Share your story with the group.
- Is James suggesting that prayer by the elders should always lead to healing? Or, does he assume some exceptions? (see James 4:15, Jesus’ prayer in Luke 22:42, and Paul’s unanswered prayer for healing in 2 Cor. 12:7-10) What should we do when God says “not right now” to our request for healing? (see James 1:2-4, 12)
- Sometimes in the Bible sin and sickness are related (see John 5:14, 1 Cor. 11:27-30). Other times, sin and sickness are not connected in any way (see John 9:1-3, and the example of Job who suffered even though he was righteous). In James 5:15b, James suggests that in cases where sin and sickness are connected, a miraculous healing gives assurance that sin is forgiven as well. Have you ever thought of the connection between sin and sickness? Why are we often cautious to explore this subject as Christians?
- Verse 16 instructs every Christian in the body to be engaged in prayer ministry. We are to confess our sins to one another, and pray for one another, that we might experience spiritual “healing.” Have you ever been involved in an accountability relationship with another Christian, where you confessed sin regularly and prayed for one another? How did that experience help you grow in Christ?
- James urges us to have “righteous” people praying for us (vs. 16b), people who pray with fervency like Elijah (vs. 17-18). Do you have people praying for you in your fight against sin? What can we do to develop such relationship in our lives?
- Verses 19-20 encourage us to chase down those brothers or sisters who begin to wander from the truth. Have you ever been involved in bringing someone back who was wandering? Or, have you ever been chased down when you were going through a season of wandering? Who did God use to bring you back? Share the story.
Prayer exercise: If the group feels comfortable, take time to confess your sins to one another by having each member share about one area of their life where they need to grow. (be sensitive and appropriate in what is shared, based on the makeup of the group). Remind one another of forgiveness in Jesus (1 John 1:9) and pray for one another.