James 5:16 16 For this reason, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous person is powerful in what it can achieve. (CEB)
[Scripture taken from the Common English Bible®, CEB® Copyright © 2010, 2011 by Common English Bible.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.]
The church has long preached that prayer will conquer suffering and illness. “The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” In truth, there have been two significant outcomes for this attachment to prayer — when someone you pray for finds healing, you can end up feeling righteous, powerful, and effective (post hoc ergo propter hoc); if healing does not happen (and, especially when some “christian” intones the canticle that lack of healing was ‘God’s will’) it becomes easy to blame God and church and prayer. Prayer is not a panacea, a cure-all, or a quick-fix elixir.
James 5:16 does provide some insight into the more complex workings of prayer as part of the God-process. It is important to be aware of (and acknowledge) your needful condition (‘confession of sins’) as an overt act.Then you can move toward some symbol of restoration outside yourself (praying for the other).Finally, prayer’s efficacy is demonstrated in the acknowledgement and affirmation of restoration (‘sins will be forgiven’).
Prayer is a way to stir up our inner being toward transformation. Praying together can agitate the collective consciousness. Prayer is about relationship and mutual exchange that engages wholeness, not the negotiating of a contract for goods and services. Truth is in the relational affinity.