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Pray For One Another

“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:13-16)

The highest blessings of prayer can come to ourselves only as we pray, interceding for others. In his poem called “Anselmo,” James Whitcomb Riley gives us a wholesome lesson on the value of intercessory prayer. He describes a religious person who, for years, had prayed “vainly” because his prayers were centered on himself. He prayed, fasted, did penance, and scourged himself to obtain spiritual satisfaction. But all in vain. Then, one day, this religious person lifted his eyes upon a “wretched outcast” and, in great pity for him, prayed for God’s grace to rest upon him. Whereupon a gentle voice fell on his ears, assuring him that his prayer had been heard. The poem closes with these impressive lines:

So is it now for all men else I pray;

So is it I am blessed and glad alway.