The Advent prayer for Thursday, December 8, 2002, comes to us from: Hark the Herald Angels Sing: Daily Prayers for Advent by Stephenie Hovland
16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.
James 5:16 NRSV
In Pentecostal and Charismatic circles, James 5:16b is often quoted to underscore the power of prayer. What is sometimes overlooked is the first portion of verse 16, as it reminds us of the challenge of confessing our sins to one another. I submit, unlike the confessional of the Roman Catholic Church, James is referring to the spiritual discipline of confessing our sins to those we have sinned against. When was the last time you confessed/admitted to someone you hurt, that you were wrong? When was the last time you apologized and asked for forgiveness? When was the last time you offered forgiveness to someone who apologized to you?
James urges us to admit our wrongdoing to one another, to seek forgiveness, to offer forgiveness, and to pray for one another, so that our relationships might be reconciled. The Covid-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of treasured relationships. James challenges us to cherish our relationships by admitting when we are wrong and praying together for healing. As we move through the Advent season, let us accept the challenge of confessing our sins, seeking forgiveness, and praying for relationships to be reconciled.
Advent Prayer – Day 12
Dear Lord, we know the prayers of faithful people have great power, because that power is directly from you. Remind us to use the power of prayer every day, not just when we’re in moments of crisis. Also, help us to see the needs of others. Show us whom to pray for and how to help, so your grace and hope may be shown to all who need it. Amen.