For many years, researchers have tried to determine if prayer has any effect on physical healing. An assistant professor at George Washington University School of Medicine says that “trying to scientifically determine prayer’s effect on health is nearly impossible.”

Even Christians who agree that God heals may differ widely on how, when, and why He does. We struggle to understand why the Lord restores some to health while others suffer and die.

James addressed the matter in a way that is worthy of careful study and attention. He discussed healing in the context of a fellowship of believers and said: “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

James’ purpose was not to stir up controversy or to prove a scientific point. Instead, he focused on the privilege and power of prayer. While speaking of physical healing, he also included a call for restoration to spiritual health through repentance and confession (v.15).

Science tries to prove cause and effect. Faith directs us to call on the power of our loving God, whose ways we can rarely understand but can always trust.