Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed…
I. THE PRINCIPLES OF THE TEXT.
1. Prayer should be united and mutual; with each other and for each other. The secret root of piety is to be watered in private; but then this will prompt us to social efforts. To prevent selfishness we should pray with others, and learn to say "our Father." It has a happy effect on men to hear themselves prayed for, and may set them to pray for themselves. It promotes mutual love and sympathy to pray to ether. It also heightens the flame of our devotedness and zeal. It often corrects and regulates our prayers, which in privacy might grow erratic or careless. It is due to the interests of Christ's Church that we should unite in prayer.
2. Mutual prayer demands mutual confidence and love. Quarrelling and fault-finding separate us from one another. First, we should confess our faults one to another, with real sorrow for them and determination not to repeat them. Then we should forgive each other freely, and from our hearts. Not to forgive hinders prayer (Mark 11:25). To this must be added zealous interest in each other's spiritual good, not cold and haughty distance and mutual estrangement ever after.
3. True prayer must be righteous. We must seek righteous ends. We must be influenced by righteous motives. We must seek right things.
4. Our prayer must be earnest. The words "effectual fervent" are one in the original, where the term denotes labouring, energetic, agonising prayer; prayer in the spirit; prayer with our whole heart and strength, and under the impulse and guidance of God's Holy Spirit.
II. THE ILLUSTRATION (1 Kings 18:41, &c.).
1. Elijah was a righteous man.
2. Yet he was nothing more than a man.
3. He gave himself to prayer to fulfil the purposes of his mission.
4. His prayer was effectual in regard to material things.
5. His prayer at first was for temporal evil.
6. It was for a public benefit.
1. In some cases unite to prayer for temporal good, when it is for God's glory.
2. Unite to prayer for spiritual blessings; for the deepening of God's work in your own hearts — for the conversion of friends — for the welfare of the Church you belong to — for a blessing on God's Word; for a revival of religion at large.
Parallel VersesKJV: Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.