Day 8 James 5:13-20
Let’s face it – Peter blew it! His best intentions weren’t enough, and so when he felt threatened, he betrayed Jesus. We would imagine that that would qualify as sin, big time! But Jesus didn’t give up on Him. In fact, Jesus knew Peter was going to fail before it even happened. So, what did Jesus do? He prayed for Peter. He prayed for him before He blew it (Luke 22:31-34). And, because He prayed for him, Jesus knew that Peter would return to Him.
Many years later, James was writing to the first century churches. He told them that, whenever fellow Christians were struggling, they should pray for them. It didn’t matter if their problem was a need for physical healing or spiritual healing, they were to pray for them. In fact, he went so far as to say that they should confess their sins to each other so others could pray for them. And then he makes a very important statement: “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).
Who qualifies as a “righteous person”? Needless to say, Jesus was righteous, so we understand how His prayer for Peter was effective. But who else is “righteous”? The word righteous simply means “in right standing.” A righteous person, then, is anyone who is “in right standing” with God. In other words, if your sins are confessed and you have repented of them, you are considered “righteous.” You are in the position to pray for others – for their healing physically and spiritually – and know that your prayer will be effective.
That in itself is pretty cool, isn’t it? But let’s go back to the “effective prayer” of Jesus for Peter. When did He pray for Peter? It was before Peter had betrayed Jesus. There are two things to learn from this. First, you and I, when we are in right standing with God, can be praying for one another before we are in need of prayer. We can pray that, whatever may come, those we’re praying for will find their way back to Jesus should they sin.
The other encouragement we find is this: If Jesus prayed for Peter when He knew that Satan was on Peter’s trail, don’t you think He is doing the same thing for you and me? In John 17, Jesus prayed a prayer not only for his twelve apostles, but for all those who put their faith in Him in the future, including us. He continues to pray for us and He knows our need of prayer before it happens. We have prayer cover right now from our Lord Himself!
What excuse, then, do we have for staying down when life trips us up? None! We have our Lord and we have each other. Pause and remember the needs of friends and family right now. Take the time to intercede for them before the Lord. At the same time, give thanks for those who are lifting you up in prayer, including the Lord. As we often say, God is good…all the time!