by Bill Mellinger
James 5:16 NIV – “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
It was Saturday afternoon, and we were nearing the end of our Encounter Weekend. We were using the material that Joel Comiskey shared with us last year in our first Encounter. There had been some good community already. Our individual times and our times of prayer with a partner had already drawn us closer to one another and to the Lord.
We placed a chair in the center of the room. Everyone had been told at the previous session that we would be inviting people to sit in the chair, so that they could be prayed for, if they desired it. Our discussion had centered on the healing that Jesus wants to give us.
I began the session by reading James 5:14-15, where James invites the sick to call for prayer from the “elders.” After sharing that the chair was there for people to sit on and request prayer, we went into a time of worship. Then, I added the text from verse 16 where it tells us to confess our sins one to another. The Holy Spirit drew us close. It was obvious that the Spirit had some work to do and that it needed to happen in community. We had already been honest with God. Now he wanted to give us freedom by sharing/confessing to one another.
Some shared requests for personal healing. Another shared generational curses in their family. A couple openly and tearfully shared their struggles with sin, and unforgiveness. God was faithful, and we were experiencing His healing. Some were afraid to “sit in the chair.” Their pain was evident on their faces. Sometime they will “call for the elders,” and there will be healing, but it didn’t take place at that time.
God has placed us here to respond to one another when we “call for help.” This is the beauty of the community that is developed in the safety of a cell group or on an Encounter weekend.
God bless you when you “call for help.”