Prayer and Healing – James 5:16

Sometimes when you need something, you have to go in search of it, so in the last few days, I have been searching the Word for encouragement in regard to healing.

Today I came across James 5:16. It says, “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (NAS)

One of the things I like to do is learn what each word means in its original language, in this case Greek.

confess: exomologeo(NAS Word Usage – Total: 10: confess 2, confessed 1, confessing 2, consented 1, give praise 2, praise 2)

  • to confess; to profess; acknowledge openly and joyfully; to one’s honour: to celebrate, give praise to; to profess that one will do something, to promise, agree, engage

sins: hamartia (NAS Word Usage – Total: 173: sin 96, sinful 2, sins 75)

  • to be without a share in; to miss the mark; to err, be mistaken; to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong; to wander from the law of God, violate God’s law, sin; that which is done wrong, sin, an offence, a violation of the divine law in thought or in act; collectively, the complex or aggregate of sins committed either by a single person or by many

pray: proseuchomai (NAS Word Usage – Total: 87: make…prayers 1, offer…prayers 2, pray 44, prayed 14, prayer 1, praying 24, prays 1)

  • to offer prayers, to pray

healed: iaomai (NAS Word Usage – Total: 26: curing 1, heal 4, healed 16, healing 2, heals 1, perform healing 2)

  • to cure, heal; to make whole; to free from errors and sins, to bring about (one’s) salvation

James 5-16
effective: energeo ( NAS Word Usage – Total: 22: accomplish 1, brought about 1, effective 2, effectually worked 2, performs…work 1, work 6, working 2, works 7)

  • to be operative, be at work, put forth power; to work for one, aid one; to effect; to display one’s activity, show one’s self operative

prayer: deesis (NAS Word Usage – Total: 18: entreaties 2, petition 3, prayer 6, prayers 6, supplication 1)

  • need, indigence, want, privation, penury; a seeking, asking, entreating, entreaty to God or to man

righteous man: dikaios (NAS Word Usage – Total: 79: innocent 1, just 6, justice 1, right 7, righteous 48, righteous man 8, righteous man’s 1, righteous men 1, righteous one 4, righteous person 1, righteous persons 1)

  • righteous, observing divine laws; in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God; of those who seem to themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves in their virtues, whether real or imagined; innocent, faultless, guiltless; used of him whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting is wholly conformed to the will of God, and who therefore needs no rectification in the heart or life; only Christ truly; approved of or acceptable of God; in a narrower sense, rendering to each his due and that in a judicial sense, passing just judgment on others, whether expressed in words or shown by the manner of dealing with them

accomplish: see effective above

much: polus (NAS Word Usage – Total: 416: all 3, better 1, deep 1, earnestly 3, enough 1, even more 1, few* 1, freely 1, full 1, further 1, further* 3, great 33, greater 4, greater numbers 1, greatly 5, hard 2, harshly 1, heartily 1, high price 1, large 30, large numbers 1, large sums 1, larger 1, late* 2, lengthy 1, long 5, longer 1, loudly 1, majority 3, many 181, many more 1, many people 1, many subjects 1, many things 17, many…things 4, more 25, more numerous 1, most 8, most people’s 1, much 50, often 1, plentiful 2, quite 2, several 1, some 1, something greater 2, strict 1, terrible 1, very 1, very large 1, very long 1, very much 1

  • many, much, large


I’d love to sit here and just focus on the healing aspect, but I won’t. I will, however, ask you to reread the definition again: to cure, heal; to make whole; to free from errors and sins, to bring about (one’s) salvation. It’s so easy to believe God for our spiritual healing (salvation) and yet so hard to believe for our physical healing. And yet, they go together. Do you see that?

Now let’s look at this same verse in a few different translations/versions.

AmplifiedConfess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].

The MessageMake this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. 

New Living TranslationConfess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Young’s Literal TranslationBe confessing to one another the trespasses, and be praying for one another, that ye may be healed; very strong is a working supplication of a righteous man;

Notice in Young’s Literal Translation that the verbs are active… be confessing, be praying. It’s not a one time thing. It’s continuous.

If you have a testimony of God’s healing (spiritual or physical), I would love to hear it. You may comment here, or use my contact form.


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