In a Nutshell
Here is advice about day to day living. Quiet advice about how to live quietly coram Deo.
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Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the congregation and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.
When questioned, one makes answer with a simple "Yes" or "No" without the need for oaths and promises, because ultimately one's cause is not in one's own hands at all, but in the keep of the Lord of heaven and earth. One's life is played out coram Deo. There is simply no cause to bolster one's answer by appeals to one's integrity that simply go into the air. But then one is not just reliant upon the Lord for when the time comes to give an account of one's hope to one's neighbours. One is directly dependent upon the giver of every good and perfect gift (1:17). And when one is suffering affliction the time has come to pray for release. Conversely, when one is happy and contented, it is timely and pleasant to resort to the singing of psalms which praise the Lord (5:13). Sickness needs to be shared with the entire believing congregation, and those with the authority to do so should administer what is needed to encourage the frail and the weak, and to reassure this person of the Lord's ongoing mercy (14-15). When one is sick, and prayers offered for a speedy recovery, it may be that those closest are made aware of their own failings and how their life together suffers because of many of their own persistent failings. These need to faced together. The opportunity arises from time to time for all bound by this faith to openly confess those sins they would prefer to overlook.
James encourages prayer among his readers. He encourages a spirit of compassion and tender mercy among those who have received the Lord's kindness. Get busy in the task of shepherding the flock. Help the community of all the faithful to function faithfully, to serve and to minister to those in great need.
These then are the routines of faithful patience. Under such conditions let what happens provoke you to further prayerful care of each other. Who knows but by your ministry the Lord Himself will actually bring back the one who is ailing to full and vigorous life. And the Lord is clearly wanting to see His restored people flourishing in all their ways (5:16).