Powerful Reality Contact Prayers

April 10, 2018

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.”  (James 5:16)

When Alcoholics Anonymous first started it was called “The Saint James Fellowship” because it was founded on this verse. The founders later changed the name to include people of all faiths and those with no faith. While millions of secular people apply the truths of this Scripture and experience healing, it is a shame that many believers never make these healing applications.

When you meet with another believer, do you keep your sins in the closet?  Do you give the impression that you don’t have a problem in the world? Do they do the same?  That does not burden you to pray for each other.  But if you trust them and share some of your sins with them they will be burdened to pray for you. They would also more than likely have what I call “reality contact” with you by sharing their sins that will burden you to pray for them. The result of these mutual prayers will be mutual healing.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote extensively about spiritual community, put it this way: “Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous.  So they remain alone with their sins, living in lies and hypocrisy… He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone.”

A paraphrase of James 5:16 is that honest prayers explode with power!  It is a strategy of the evil one to isolate us into self imposed solitary confinement. Never let the evil one isolate you into being a closet sinner; instead, find healing in confessing your sins and praying for one another.

Dick Woodward, 14 April 2013


A Message for Control Freaks

September 30, 2016

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer …let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Have you ever heard someone confess, “I’m a control freak?” My response is: “Welcome to the human family!” The truth is we’re all control freaks.  Both Jesus and Paul taught that we should not be anxious.  What they meant was don’t worry.  They also taught us not to worry about the things we cannot control – like the height of our body.

Speaking as one control freak to another, the thing that really freaks us out is what we cannot control.  In what Alcoholics Anonymous calls the “Big Book,” there is an illustration with which all of us control freaks can resonate.  We think that life is a stage on which we are directing a play.  The people in our life are characters in that play.  As the play director we give them their scripts and their cues, but when they don’t respond to our direction, our frustration drives us into a bottle or some other addiction.

When I was a student I had a mentor who wrote a poem with these lines: “You can’t control the weather or rainy days, but you can control the emotional climate that surrounds you.  You can’t control the height your head will be from the sidewalk, but you can control the height of the contents of your head.”

After quite a few of those his punch line was, “Why worry about the things you cannot control? Accept the responsibility for the things that do depend on you.”

Follow the advice of Jesus and Paul and don’t worry about what you can’t control.

Dick Woodward, 20 February 2011


Out of the Closet!!!

April 24, 2015

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.”  (James 5:16 NLT)

When Alcoholics Anonymous started it was called “The Saint James Fellowship” because it was founded on this verse. The founders later changed the name to include people of all faiths and those with no faith.  While millions of secular people in AA apply the truths of this Scripture and experience healing, it is a shame that many believers never make these healing applications.

When you meet with another believer do you keep your sins in the closet?  Do you give the impression that you don’t have a problem in the world?  Do they do the same?  That does not burden you to pray for each other.  But if you can trust them and share some of your sins with them they would be burdened to pray for you.  They would also more than likely have what I call “reality contact” with you by sharing their sins and that would burden you to pray for them. The result of these mutual prayers would be mutual healing.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote extensively about spiritual community, put it this way: “Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous.  So they remain alone with their sins, living in lies and hypocrisy… He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone.”

A paraphrase of James 5:16 is that honest prayers explode with power!  It is a strategy of the evil one to isolate us into self imposed solitary confinement. Never let him isolate you into being a closet sinner; instead, find healing in confessing your sins and praying for one another.

Dick Woodward, 14 April 2013


Closet Sinners

April 14, 2013

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.”  (James 5:16 NLT)

When Alcoholics Anonymous started it was called “The Saint James Fellowship” because it was founded on this verse. The founders later changed the name to include people of all faiths and those with no faith.  While millions of secular people apply the truths of this Scripture and experience healing, it is a shame that many believers never make these healing applications.

When you meet with another believer do you keep your sins in the closet?  Do you give the impression that you don’t have a problem in the world?  Do they do the same?  That does not burden you to pray for each other.  But if you trust them and share some of your sins with them they would be burdened to pray for you.  They would also more than likely have what I call “reality contact” with you by sharing their sins and that would burden you to pray for them. The result of these mutual prayers would be mutual healing.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote extensively about spiritual community, put it this way: “Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous.  So they remain alone with their sins, living in lies and hypocrisy… He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone.”

A paraphrase of James 5:16 is that honest prayers explode with power!  It is a strategy of the evil one to isolate us into self imposed solitary confinement. Never let him isolate you into being a closet sinner; instead, find healing in confessing your sins and praying for one another.