The Book of James – Prayer FAQ James 5:13-15

29 Jan



James finishes his letter by reminding us of the power of prayer in verses 13-20.  We will be covering verses 13-15 in this post.  These verses cover three types of prayer requests: affliction, prayers of praise and sickness.

There is something I have noticed during prayer requests over the years: requests for sickness far outnumber prayer requests for the lost.  Our bible is full of challenges for us to tell the lost about Jesus.  When we get out of balance on our requests it says something about us; it says we are living in the here and now and are not thinking so much about spiritual matters.  However, to say that asking for, or praying for, the sick shouldn’t be done is not right either.  James clearly states that we can ask for, and pray for, the sick.


In verse 13 the word “afflicted” can mean sickness of the body; it is more of a broad term referring to those who are going through hardships or trouble for some reason.  James addresses physical sickness in a moment which leads me to believe that James was addressing those who are going through hardships or trouble.  One example would be affliction suffered as a result of persecution.  This means for those who are afflicted for their stand for Christ, whom Satan has attacked, can ask God for relief. 


Continuing in verse 13 we are reminded to be thankful when times are good.  God should be consulted in times of need and praised in the good times.  So often people want to use God as a life preserver in times of need and forget who is really responsible for the good times.

Physical Sickness

Verse 14 gives us instruction on praying for the sick.  You will notice a very big difference in the instruction recorded here and what is done today.  What we will normally hear is “pray for brother Bob, he is having tests run and pray that God gives the doctor’s wisdom to treat him”.  That sounds good but it isn’t what James says to do.  We are to call on the veteran Christians, the prayer warriors if you will, they would join the sick in prayer to God.  This type of prayer is an intercessory prayer asking God to heal.  (Often times we say “Lord if it be your will heal them”.)

Verse 15 holds the key to the success of this type of prayer: we must pray, faith believing, that God will heal them.  (We will all say God can heal but are we willing to be actively involved in a prayer of faith?  It takes no faith to say God can do anything. True faith says God can do anything through me.)  It also mentions here forgiving sins. Notice “if he hath committed sins”.  Sickness can be a result of sin; in those cases confessing sin must be part of the process for healing to take place.

Example Time

healingprayerI remember this specific instruction, intercessory prayer, used when I was young.  I remember my dad being called on to take part in this type of request for healing. 

In the church I attend now I remember this specific procedure used to ask God to heal a young man stricken with cancer.  The doctors had found several spots of cancer within his body; after the young man was prayed for the next scan revealed no cancer within his body at all.  God can absolutely heal; it is the faith exhibited by those who pray that determines the outcome.

Final Thoughts

It is true that sickness can be part of God’s plan.  The sickness of Lazarus that resulted in his death was part of God’s plan to show Jesus’ power to raise the dead.

Can God’s mind be changed by intercessory prayer?

  • David & Bathsheba: David prays but God does not change His mind.  2 Sam 12:14-20

  • God’s anger at Israel: Moses pleads and God does change His mind.  Ex 32:9-10,14

The answer is yes; sometimes God’s mind can be changed.

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Until Night,

A Servant



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17 responses to “The Book of James – Prayer FAQ James 5:13-15

  1. Tom Huff

    January 29, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Good article! 🙂

    • A Servant

      January 29, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      Thank you Tom. I have really enjoyed the series. Lord willing I’ll finish up on Friday.
      A Servant

  2. vwoods1212

    January 30, 2014 at 2:49 am

    I wish you’d go into affliction a little bit more. And just a passing thought on that piece you mentioned about praying “Lord if it is your will”; i think it is a good measure to pray in God’s will but somehow I believe it is abused at times when God has already given us the authority (those in authority) to do things. Such as with Ezekiel with the dry bones. God gave him the vision and the instructions and said You do these things.
    Not sure if its a lack of faith where folks believe in prayers, yet don’t have the faith to back up what they are praying for or pressing into the shadows to get the mind of God on a situation. Just curious. W.

    • A Servant

      January 30, 2014 at 8:22 am

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.
      I have learned over time that articles over a certain size are not read. As a result I can see how someone would think I’m brief on a particular subject. I am trying to wet the whistle hoping the reader will go to the scripture for more.
      A Servant

      • vwoods1212

        January 30, 2014 at 1:26 pm

        I ingest the bible :))). but you have an art of explication which is interesting. I have my own thoughts on the matter, good to see someone else’s every now and then:)

  3. Nicolette

    February 2, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    A Servant: How wondrous the Good Lord is! You are finishing a study on James, while we are 4 weeks into our study of “James, Jesus’ Bold Little Brother,” by Resurgence..foreworded by our Pastor at Mars Hill, Mark Driscoll. This is indeed a small world. i will be checking in to compare my study with yours-if you don’t mind. i like having different views to roll around in my noggin. Be back soon!

    • A Servant

      February 2, 2014 at 8:55 pm

      I am honored every time I have a visitor at our site. You are welcome to anything on the site any time. Good luck with the study and thanks for coming by.

  4. Freedomborn ... Aussie Christian Focus

    March 28, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Sickness and death came because of the fall but all good things come from God and He does not do evil to bring good out of it, the Scriptures say this is slander but as you shared A Servant, God can and does bring good out of evil, like sickness and death.

    He knew Lazarus would be sick but He did not afflict Him so He would be, He also knew Lazarus would die and He also knew He would bring Him back to life.

    Lamentations 3: 33 For God doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.

    Paul said to Timothy to have wine for his stomach sake, it is said he had ulcers, also many healings were done through being anointed with a God given Balm by the Priests in the Old Testament, I use one He gave me through a friend, it has given me besides pain relief, complete healing, I have shared about it on our Blog. Jesus used mud and water too.

    God as well as healing Miraculously as I have experienced much more than once, can and does use tools for healing, such as Medicine, Surgery, Chemo Therapy etc through these many have experienced complete healing but do they Thank God for these Blessings….yes He even blesses those who are evil and ungrateful and don’t believe He even exists… God is the only Healer regardless of what tools He uses.

    Christian Love in our Unity with Christ Jesus – Anne.

    • A Servant

      March 28, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      Thank you Anne. I appreciate the support and hope God is honored by what we do.

      • Freedomborn ... Aussie Christian Focus

        March 28, 2014 at 5:35 pm

        If what we share A Servant is confirmed in the Scriptures, He will be glorified but will anyone read them if we share the Scriptures to confirm what we say, many don’t, they continue to believe what they want to and say we are wrong or complain our comments are too long – Wow have they read Paul’s or John’s etc or do they read just bit’s and pieces from the Bible but even more importantly do they read Scripture and our messages in the Light or in the darkness. (1Corinthians2:9-6)

        Blessings – Anne

        • A Servant

          March 28, 2014 at 5:39 pm

          Very true, however, it is our duty to declare it until our Lord’s return. I will admit it can be discouraging when it seems no one is listening. It is also tough when we are despised and mocked but all will be set strait in God’s timing.

        • Freedomborn ... Aussie Christian Focus

          March 28, 2014 at 5:41 pm

          Sorry A Servant it should be-1Corinthians2:9-16

          1 Corinthians 2:9-16 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that Love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with Spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are Spiritually discerned. But he that is Spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the Mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? but we have the Mind of Christ.

          Blessings -Anne

          • A Servant

            March 28, 2014 at 5:44 pm

            Spiritual discernment is in short supply today. Not by God’s choice of course. It because of the hardness of hearts.

  5. Freedomborn ... Aussie Christian Focus

    March 28, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Yes I agree A Servant but how many do as He asks, many believe they know it all in their own understanding or what they have been taught by others. How many ask for The Holy Spirit believing they have received Him or for God’s wisdom which we were not Born with.

    Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?

    James 15: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

    Yes we are to share God’s Truth as you said A Servant and to be honest I can’t not do this and it gives me great Joy and assurance to share about God’s Loving greatness with others and it hurts me like it hurts Him, when others share error.

    Blessings – Anne

    • A Servant

      March 28, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      It is always good to share God’s word with others when their spirits bear witness that they are children of God.

  6. Freedomborn ... Aussie Christian Focus

    March 28, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Yes so very True A Servant and we are also to plant seeds that will bear good fruit, which I have witnessed you do and I’m sure like me no one has to tell you to do so, you can’t not do it , your very spirit longs to.

    Yes I know I’m anointed Evangelist under God’s Authority and so to hold back from sharing would be almost impossible but I see this same motivation in you and so I Love to share with you, your words speak also of God’s Love.

    I mainly do my Devotions A Servant in the mornings with the Blogs, sometimes I come back to comment later, sometimes much later. I talk to Jesus many times during the day about the Posts and many other things and He speaks to my heart, I don’t hear Him audibly like some do but I hear His Truth loud and clear. What gives me untold Joy though, is He understands me like no one else can, He sees me with Loving eyes and so He calls me precious.

    Thanks for sharing with me this morning ,it must be getting late for you, I’m going to create a few Power points now for my friends in the Nursing Home, see you tomorrow.

    Blessings – Anne

    • A Servant

      March 28, 2014 at 7:27 pm

      Have a great day Anne. God bless


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