What Is The Prayer Of Faith In James 5:13–18 And How To Pray It

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Published by Kenneth Garcia


Co-Founder of Biblekeeper, Author & Theologian

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In the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den, Daniel, a faithful servant of God, faces a decree that forbids prayers to anyone but the king. Undeterred, he continues praying openly to God. His rivals report this to the king, leading to Daniel’s condemnation of a den of lions.

Despite the dire situation, Daniel’s unwavering faith prevails. Throughout the night, God keeps the lions from harming him. Astonished, the king rescues Daniel the next day, acknowledging the power of Daniel’s God. This narrative illustrates the prayer of faith—Daniel’s unshakable trust in God’s protection and intervention, even in imminent danger.

What Is The Prayer Of Faith In James 5:13–18?

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.

— James 5:13–14

The “prayer of faith,” as discussed in James 5, is a profound approach to supplication where a righteous person or devout individuals intercede on behalf of the sick[1], seeking their healing and recovery. It also encompasses the practice of praying under all circumstances. Our ancestors often pleaded with God for a grain harvest, and heaven gave rain.

In certain instances, when a collective of believers unite in praying for healing, there is a possibility that God will grant restoration to the afflicted. It’s essential to recognize that this process doesn’t invariably guarantee the restoration of the sick person, as illuminated within this exposition. Were this the case, no believer would ever succumb to mortality.

The prayer of faith is a reminder for all believers to trust in the Holy Spirit profoundly. The outcome might manifest as a physical rejuvenation or a deep serenity experienced by both the faithful and the infirm.

This prayer is a conduit through which we lean on God’s wisdom and Holy Spirit, acknowledging that the source of all healing stems from Him. The decision to restore health to the ailing individual within our lives rests solely with His divine discretion.

What Does The Prayer Of Faith Teach About Faith?

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command so that what is seen is not made out of what is visible.

— Hebrews 11:1–3

The prayer of faith underscores the importance of genuine faith in God’s sovereignty and goodness. It explains that our prayers carry more weight than empty phrases or routines as they hold potent manifestations of our connection with the Divine.

Genuine faith transcends mere hopeful desires; it embodies a profound conviction that the Divine listens and reacts to our petitions in alignment with His intentions.

Reflect, for instance, on the narrative of Abraham and Sarah as recounted in the Old Testament. Despite their old age and Sarah’s inability to conceive, they were bestowed with the divine promise of bearing a child.

Their faith surpassed mere hopeful contemplation; it stood as an unwavering assurance of God’s competence to bring His promise to fruition. In due course, defying all improbabilities, Sarah conceived and gave birth to Isaac, showcasing the immense potency of prayers fueled by faith.

Similarly, within the New Testament, the account of the woman afflicted with an issue of blood portrays faith-driven prayer. Enduring a longstanding ailment for twelve years, this woman believed that a mere touch upon the edge of Jesus’ attire would lead to her healing.

Her faith wasn’t a momentary aspiration; it stood as an unshakeable certainty in Jesus’ capacity to restore her well-being. As she touched His garment, Jesus affirmed her faith and healed her, showcasing the potency of genuine faith in action.

In essence, the prayer of faith is a teaching tool about the nature of faith itself. It underscores that authentic faith involves trust in God’s character, authority, and providence.

Such faith transforms prayers from mere words into dynamic expressions of our profound relationship with the Divine, demonstrating our understanding that God’s responses align with His divine wisdom and plans.

priests in white robes standing in circle holding papers and praying

When Are We Going To Pray The Prayer Of Faith?

A petition prayed fervently is rooted in unwavering trust in God’s ability to intervene in our lives and bring about healing. But the prayer of faith is also most relevant when we face other challenging and troubling situations.

  • In Times of Need: We can pray the prayer of faith when facing challenges, difficulties, or situations of need.
  • For Healing: The prayer of faith is said to heal physical, emotional, or spiritual ailments.
  • During Sickness: When someone is sick, seek the prayer of faith for their healing and recovery.
  • When Encountering Trials: In moments of trials and tribulations, the prayer of faith provides strength, guidance, and comfort.
  • For Others: The prayer of faith can be prayed for oneself and others in need or suffering.
  • When Seeking Guidance: When seeking direction, wisdom, or discernment, the prayer of faith can be used to seek God’s guidance.
  • In Times of Joy and Thanksgiving: The prayer of faith is not limited to difficult times; it can also be prayed when we sing praise in times of joy and thanksgiving.

Does The Prayer Of Faith Promise Healing?

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

— James 5:15–16

The passage does indicate that the sick can be anointed with oil and prayed over for healing. James 5:15 initially promises physical healing to those who pray in faith: “And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.”

Despite his immense faith, the apostle Paul repeatedly implored the Lord to remove his “thorn in the flesh.” Yet, God chose not to grant Paul’s request. Instead, God bestowed His sufficient grace upon Paul, teaching him to embrace weaknesses and rely on God (2 Corinthians 12:9–10).

Even Jesus Christ pleaded with our dear heavenly Father three times to alleviate His suffering (Matthew 26:39–44). Nevertheless, the Father willed Jesus to endure agony and a grievous death for humanity’s forgiveness.

Beyond physical healing, God extends a more profound gift: spiritual healing and forgiveness of sins. While God may heal physical bodies or manifest His glory through suffering, ultimate deliverance from sin, ailment, distress, and death awaits.

Ultimately, God will resurrect us with renewed bodies. Our optimism lies not in earthly healing but in spiritual restoration and eternity ahead.

Indeed, physical healing isn’t invariably assured by the prayer of faith. Divine will and timing must be considered. Furthermore, recovery isn’t exclusively physical; often, it’s spiritual. When Jesus cured a paralytic, He prioritized forgiveness of committed sins before bodily healing (Mark 2:1–12).

Although Jesus later healed the man physically, the focus remained on addressing spiritual needs first. Though life may present physical afflictions, spiritual wounds necessitate the Savior’s restoration.

However, the outcome is subject to God’s will. The prayer of faith is not a guarantee of immediate physical healing but a recognition that God’s plan is higher than our understanding.

Can The Prayer Of Faith Save Someone Who Is Sick?

The short answer is yes. Recall the story in the Gospel of Matthew (8:5–13) when a centurion approached Jesus, seeking help for his paralyzed servant, who was suffering terribly.

Displaying deep faith, the centurion told Jesus that a word from him could heal the servant. Jesus praised the centurion’s remarkable faith, stating that he had not found such faith in Israel. He granted the centurion’s request, and the servant was healed instantly.

This story underscores the power of unwavering faith in Jesus’ holy healing ability, as exemplified by the centurion’s belief in Jesus’ authority. It emphasizes that healing can transcend physical presence and occur through faith alone.

How Do We Pray In The Way James 5 Encourages?

Confidence In God’s Character

The foundation of the prayer of faith lies in having unwavering confidence in God’s unchanging character. When you pray, declare Psalm 136:26, “Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.” Approach your prayers with the assurance that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Community And Support

The prayer of faith isn’t meant to be practiced in isolation. Embrace the communal aspect of faith by involving your fellow believers. As the early church came together for collective prayers (Acts 2:42), reach out to your faith community for shared supplication.

Whether it’s a small group, your church congregation, or a group of friends, their presence amplifies the power of your prayers. The bond of unity strengthens as you stand together in faith.

Honesty And Vulnerability

Amid your prayers, emulate the raw honesty of Job. Like our earthly father, approach God with your genuine emotions, doubts, and fears.

The prayer of faith isn’t about presenting a perfect facade; it’s about baring your soul before your Creator. Like Job, pour out your heart honestly and openly, trusting that God welcomes your genuine self. This authenticity deepens your connection with God and paves the way for profound transformation.

Submission To God’s Will

The prayer of faith acknowledges God’s sovereignty and places His will above personal desires. Reflect on Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:36).

Just as Christ Jesus submitted to the Father’s will, express your willingness to align your prayers with God’s divine purpose. While presenting your requests, remember to add the notion, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” This surrender demonstrates your trust in God’s all-knowing plan.


Recall the parable of the persistent widow (Luke 18:1–8), who kept pleading with the unjust judge until he granted her justice. Similarly, infuse your prayers with unwavering persistence.

Understand that the timing of answers to your prayers might align differently with your schedule. Persistency doesn’t imply nagging God, but a deep commitment to trusting His timing. Continue praying with faith, even when faced with delays or challenges.

a lone person sitting cross-legged on top of the mountain


Amidst the chaos of everyday life, it’s pretty common to overlook how God fits into our lives. We tend to be all unserious about things, and that often ends up with us feeling frustrated, hurt, or even under the weather.

This prayer from James encompasses reliance, communal spirit, and modesty, all while recognizing our constraints in light of God’s supremacy. As we integrate the tenets of the prayer of faith into our prayer journeys, we establish a stronger connection with God and encounter His life-altering influence in every facet of our being.

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