“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.” James 5:16 (NIV)
There is a powerful principle revealed in this passage that is rarely practiced by Christians and non-Christians - Asking for forgiveness (confession) when we have wronged someone. James is sharing, that when God’s people live in a lifestyle of confession and praying for each other, God will answer our prayers and heal, and deliver. When we live like this, we are walking righteously before God, and our prayers become powerful and effective. I believe, many times, our prayers go unanswered by God, is because we have unconfessed sin towards another family member in the Body of Christ, or even, an unbeliever. But, when we walk in sincerity and humility of heart and are willing to confess our wrongs to Christ and to each other, we are walking in a purity and obedience that opens up the avenue for God’s power to operate in our lives. Remember this is a two-way street, so when we are confessing and praying to and for one another we are fulfilling the command of Christ - “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:36-39. Sinning against a brother or sister in the LORD and not going back to acknowledge and ask for forgiveness cannot be understood as love, but instead, hatred. How can God bless our prayers when we are willfully walking in opposition to His will. Hopefully this can be a wake up call. Ask yourself, “Who have I deliberately wronged?” Then ask God to give you the grace and strength to love them the way Christ commands by asking for their forgiveness and by constantly praying for them. Live righteously and you will Pray powerfully!