"In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
The old joke goes that James is a Catholic Epistle because it just makes you feel guilty reading it. But there is some truth to it.
Faith in many respects can be imagined as a tree. If your heart is ready to receive the seed of God's word, God will grow it in you to maturity. How he does this is a mystery, but because it is His eternal life which animates our faith tree, we too share in it. But if the tree bears no fruits or works, it must be a dead tree good only for the fire. If the tree is dead, so is the person for God is not in it. Neither can we hope to make fruit without the tree. Such things aren't fruit but only made of sticks and mud.
So often can we divorce faith and action. We are more than happy to pray for people, but it's a different matter altogether to sit with someone and enter into their pain. If we are honest with ourselves, sometimes we just want to pray for people to get them to stop crying since it's making us uncomfortable. The Bible teaches us to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep. (Rom 12:15) Indeed a Christian life should be marked with the highest of joys and the profoundness of sorrows.