Summary: James explains to us how to pray for healing: There’s the confession that precedes it. There’s the intercession that provides it, there’s the illustration that proves it.
Now, most of us are trying to save face and that’s the one thing we need to lose. Most of us are trying to maintain our dignity rather than have revival. I remember hearing Dr. Charlie Culpepper and Ms. Bertha Smith tell of the great Shantung revival. And, they said that the mark of that revival that was so powerful there in China that the missionaries began to confess their faults one to another and pray one for another. If you study the history of revival in the great awakening it began when people began to confess their faults one to another and pray one for another.
It was true in the book of Acts. Turn to Acts chapter 19 with me for a moment and look if you will in verse 18, Acts 19:18. I want you to notice a mighty revival that took place. The Bible says in verse 18, “And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.” And, what was the result of confession and repentance? That is getting rid of the books on the occult and burning those things and destroying those things and being open with brothers and sisters and confessing their faults and saying pray for me and I pray for you. What was the result of it? Look in verse 20. “So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed” (Acts 19:20). That is, the Word of God spread and the Word of God had power because there was confession in the church.
Do you know what real revival is? Do you know what real spiritual power is? It is not just getting the roof off. It is getting the walls down. You say, “What do you mean by that, preacher?” Many of us are content to confess our sins to the Lord, to confess our faults to the Lord, we’re glad to get the roof off, but we sure don’t want to get the walls down, do we? I mean, we don’t want anybody else to know what’s in our hearts, we don’t want anybody else to know where we failed. We don’t want anybody else to know our faults and we refuse to get the walls down. But, dear friend, real revival, genuine revival, revival from above, revival that heals, revival that restores, revival that reconciles is revival where we confess our faults not only to God, but to one another.
Now, having said that, I want to say something about the confession of sin. The confession of sin needs to be in keeping with the circle of sin. Now, the devil can use even the confession of sin to his advantage if people are not wise and if people are not scriptural. The Bible does not teach that we should necessarily broadcast our sins to everybody indiscriminately. We may find ourselves casting “…pearls before swine…” (Matthew 7:6).
And, the circle of sin and the circle of confession need to be relatively the same. For example, if there’s private sin in your heart and in your life then there needs to be private confession before God and God alone. The exception to that is you may include your prayer partner if you have somebody that you can trust who is very intimate and you pray with that person and say, “Help me, I’ve had the problem of lust or I’ve had the problem of pride, I’ve had the problem of selfishness, I’ve had the problem, it is a personal problem, it is within me.”