Pray for each other so that you may be healed. (James 5:16)

THEY STOOD OUTSIDE THE HOUSE but wouldn’t enter. Circling together, they began to pray. My father faced yet another chemo treatment for his cancer. And my parents’ community group had gathered the night before to cover him in prayer. Each time he began a new round, they came. They always remained in the driveway out of respect for my dad’s sensitive immune system. But that didn’t matter. Their prayer was heard in heaven . . . and felt here on earth.

James reminded us to be deeply involved in each other’s lives, to share each other’s struggles and joys. But he especially encouraged supporting someone who is ill. Our prayers can be a part of our Great Physician’s healing plan. Miracles can happen through them. Imagine! But James also encouraged us to remember the soul as well when we do this. When someone is struggling physically, his or her heart is often especially sensitive to the Spirit and most in need of God’s loving, forgiving touch. Spiritual restoration should be a part of the healing process too. For sometimes it’s the soul God heals.

Pray with the sick. If you’re sick, let others pray for you. It’s powerful. The prayers outside my parents’ house made a difference. The treatments went smoothly with few side effects. Perhaps as importantly, my parents felt God’s love in a tangible way. And that soothed their hurting hearts.

Today, take several minutes to pray for someone who is sick.

Diane Gardner lives in the San Francisco Bay area, where she enjoys theater, street fairs, and watching the sun set with her husband.