The story was told about a country that was experiencing an epidemic of psychiatric problems. The doctors could not handle all the mental health cases brought before them. In short, many people in that country were getting crazy. But later on, a civil war broke out in that country. It was a terrible, destructive war. Yet, to the surprise of the doctors, the war “had the unexpected effect of ‘curing’ many of [that country’s] thousands of neurotics. When they became concerned about the welfare of their families, friends and country instead of their own, their neuroses disappeared and hospitals and clinics were almost emptied of such cases.” (John MacArthur, Jr., “Ephesians: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary.”) They were cured when they stopped concentrating on themselves and started caring for others.
We are commanded in James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (ESV) In this chapter, James was encouraging people to pray for those who are suffering and sick. He taught believers that they should care enough to pray for others and not just for themselves. Prayer is not just about our personal needs. It is also about the needs of others. When we just think of our own needs without thinking of the needs of others, we become selfish. But, when we think of the needs of others also, we become sacrificial. Philippians 2:4 tell us, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” That doesn’t mean that we no longer care for our interests. But it means that we are care for the interests of others also. We don’t avoid our own needs. But we do address the needs of others. The Contemporary English Version goes like this: “Care about them as much as you care about yourselves”. When we do so, we really show that we are followers of our Lord Jesus who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) The best way to prove that we are thinking of the needs of others also more than our needs is when we pray for one another. Someone said, “Love heals both the one who gives and the one who receives.” You want to be blessed? Prayer blesses both the one who prays and the one who is prayed for.
Brethren, let us pray for one another.