Of all the “one another” passages in the New Testament constraining the manner of our engagement within the body of Christ, none has registered more relentlessly of late on my mind and heart than the one found in James 5:16.
Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed (emphasis mine).
The pray for one another segment of that passage has dominated my thinking and pastoral practice ever since reading this in The Deliberate Church by Mark Dever and Paul Alexander (Crossway, 2005, 221 pages):
One of the most practical things you can do for you own personal prayer life, and for the prayer lives of other church members, is to assemble a church membership directory . . . so that everyone in the church can be praying through it a page a day. . . . We usually encourage people to pray through the page number that corresponds to the current day of the month.
Capitol Hill Baptist Church, where these brothers minister, has a lot more folks attending than OGC does. I have discovered that we can pray through our entire flock every week without much difficulty. Teddie, our church office manager and executive assistant, prepared a special version of the directory for me that has the days of the week in the margin. Each day has about fourteen family units contained within. This breaks down the whole church into manageable portions. It makes it easy for me to pray for all our people at least once a week. No other tool of late more dramatically influences my praying.
On Sunday in our concert of prayer during the 9:30 hour I introduced this concept related to another important section of Scripture, namely Eph. 6:18. Paul concludes his treatment related to putting on the full armor of God with this exhortation:
Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.
I take that to mean that to some extent we cannot fully dress ourselves in spiritual armor without the aid of intercession by our fellow saints. This is a sobering conclusion! Who wants to go into battle without adequate protection?
So I reiterate my exhortation of Sunday morning to all of you who attended the concert of prayer and received a copy of the latest directory divided into days of the week. PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER. Join me, the staff, and the leadership team as we press in with concerted, regular, faithful intercessory prayer that we might be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might (Eph. 6:10).
If you missed our prayer time last Sunday but would like a copy of the directory for prayer purposes, contact the office and we will be glad to see that you get a copy.