The theme of this section is prayer. If you’re in trouble or sick pray. If you are happy then worship God and sing songs of praise. We often pray when life is difficult and can certainly understand James writing that people of faith should pray when they are in trouble or are sick. But, sometimes, it is tempting for us to celebrate our happiness as if it came from us and not from God. It is easy to forget to give thanks to God when life is good.
The early church experienced a variety of troubles: favoritism (2:1-4), exploitation and litigation (2:5-7; 5:1-6), lack of the physical necessities of life (2:15), slander and cursing (3:9-12; 4:11-12), and community disharmony (3:13-4:3). There are many troubles in life. The first response to all of these troubles should be prayer. Why? Because God is good and desires to raise his people up, bring healing, wholeness, health, and redemption to all.
Confession of sin leads to forgiveness and wholeness and there’s healing in sharing that confession with other people of faith. Confession is good for everyone.
Helping anyone who wanders from the truth return to Christ brings new life and overcomes many sins. James ends his letter in 5:19-20 by encouraging God’s people to remain faithful to the truth and to love others enough to help those who wander return. Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”