James 5:13-15

From this earnest exclusion of an approach to profane speech, we are next exhorted to the course that befits in suffering or in joy, as well as sickness.
“Doth any among you suffer trouble? let him pray. Is any happy? let him sing praise. Is any sick among you? let him call to him the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil, in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save (heal) the sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he have committed sins, it shall be forgiven him” (vers. 13-15).
We are short in Christian intelligence if we do not know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to those that are called according to purpose. God often sends trouble as chastening for the good of His children. Sometimes as in 1 Cor. 11 it is because of positive sin; but they totally mistake who suppose that it is restricted to that. Heb. 12 puts it on ground quite independent of so sorrowful an occasion, and treats it as flowing from His Fatherly love, and for profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. It is as much or more to hinder sin as in consequence of its indulgence. It often is a trial of faith and an honor from the Lord, as the apostles so well knew, and many a simple saint in no such prominence. For the disciples as such are called through many tribulations to enter into the kingdom of God.
But in any case “doth any among you suffer trouble? let him pray.” God is the resource in trouble; and the saint, instead of only bearing it or sinking under it, is exhorted to “pray.” He is encouraged to expect blessing in crying to God about the trouble. It is a practical victory over the enemy who seeks our loss by it, if our mildness or forbearance be made known to all men, and our requests be made known to God. With unbelief it is the contrary: insisting on our rights as and with men, as if God entitled any to such a plea; and making demands or requests on men, instead of looking only thus to God.
Then there is a time when one experiences circumstances of joy. “Is any happy? let him praise.” For gladness has its dangers no less, perhaps more, than trouble. It is apt to elate the spirit, throw us off our balance in the Lord, and expose us to levity in feeling, word, and deed. The resource is to turn to Him in praise. Singing is not only due to Him Who gives happiness, but a safety-valve for His feeble ones, who easily at such a time slip from dependence. His praise recalls us to Himself.
There may also be the general or special need created by sickness. “Is any sick among you? let him call to him the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of [the] Lord.” It is good where any dealing of the Lord leads us to turn to Him, expecting not evil but good. In those days too elders of the assembly were there, men of moral weight and spiritual judgment, whose place it was to intervene in difficulties of a personal as well as public nature. They might not be evangelists or teachers; but apt to teach they were required to be, men able to take up in love and truth and faithfulness the burdens of their brethren. The sick man is exhorted to summon such as they are to pray for him with that application of oil which Romanism has distorted so wholly from God's mind. Extreme unction is a mere invention of superstition, to smooth the way when hope of recovery is gone.
It is remarkable that the inspired writer, though encouraging honor to the elders, attaches healing virtue, not to their official place or special art but to prayer, and this of an efficacious sort through faith. He says, “And the prayer of faith shall save [or heal] the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.” What a contrast this is with the gloomy superstition which sends “a priest” to absolve him and give extreme unction, because his death is regarded as inevitable! For if he recover, he will need the same hateful parody over again. Yes, unclean and drunken harlot, dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return, with no resurrection as being without life, nothing but a system of darkness and death.
Then comes the special character of the sickness, carefully discriminated from the common. “and if he have committed sins, it shall be forgiven him.” It is a nice and notable point in the true rendering of the clause that the sins are in the plural, the forgiveness is in the singular. It is right that each and all should be judged in order; but grace gives the forgiveness in full.