I find it interesting that John goes from talking about the power and confidence we have in Christ to claim what God has for us in prayer to immediately jumping into praying for others in their sin.
Even more interesting, is that he discusses when we should pray for others, and when we should not.
If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. 1 John 5:16
This verse can be hard to interpret and understand, and many theologians suggest different interpretations of the “sin that leads to death” including:
- continuous, unrepentant sin
- blasphemy of the Holy Spirit/ rejection of God
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Looking at what the word “wage” means also helps to define this further. Wage means to “carry on, as in a war or campaign” (This makes total sense considering we are in a spiritual battle!)
So carrying on in a state of purposeful and intention sin leads to death, which very well could be someone who is un-apologetically engaged in a cycle of sin.
We know that when we go on sinning and do not ask confess, ask for forgiveness or repent, it will inevitably distance us from God.
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; Psalm 66:18
As believers we have a responsibility to pray for our brothers and sisters who may still be caught in a cycle of sin, but instead of willfully sinning they display something different, something that is evidence of the Holy Spirit within them.
A repentant heart.
A repentant heart is such a beautiful thing. Yes, it is hard to be convicted, but it is a beautiful reminder of how much God loves us.
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10
I lead a bi-weekly prayer group at my house on Monday mornings. This is a time where a group of us come together and prayer aloud following the A.C.T.S method of prayer. The “C” stands for confession, and it is a time that we confess our sins out loud to God and to one another and ask for forgiveness.
I can’t really explain it, but as soon as I open my mouth to openly confess my sin and ask for forgiveness, I literally feel the blood of Christ wash over me and make me clean. I feel lighter and at peace one I confess my sins.
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 5:16 (we will unpack this verse later in series also!)
So I’m going to ask you to do something that may be way out of your comfort zone, but that’s ok because we can’t become mature disciples of Christ and stay in our comfort zone at the same time.
Today, or the next time you are able to, go to a trusted person in Christ and confess your sins so they may pray for you. We often want to just pray for others and not focus on ourselves, but God wants us to confess our sins to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, so we expose our sin to the light of Christ. By asking for forgiveness and turning towards repentance in prayer, we allow God to work in us through confessing to him and each other, and also work through the other person who is willingly standing in the gap, and fighting for us in prayer.
Blessings sweet friends!
“Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.” – E.M. Bounds