James 5:14-16 says: "Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."
We in the individualistic Western world see “church” and think “congregation.” But the starting point in the New Testament when you see “church” is the city, not just the local congregation. The local congregation is one part of the citywide Body of Christ. So “elders of the church” likely refers to recognized leaders in an entire area – especially since the book of James was written to “the twelve tribes scattered among the nations” James 1:2.
The closest personal experience I’ve had, then, to the backdrop and setting described above in James 5:14-16 is a John 17 weekend. Leaders from over 60 Tucson area congregations are participating in these 72-hour retreats together. Far more of the “whole church” is together in the same place (and same Spirit) than most of us ever get to experience in everyday life. Consequently, the results come
closer to what James describes than I’m used to as well. I’ve experienced exactly what James 5 describes on every John 17 weekend.
When the dates get published in the next month or so for the Spring 2020 weekends, you might think
about jumping in!
Dave Drum, Founder