[reprinted from September 20, 2011]
Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
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 produces wonderful results. Â Â Â James 5:13-16 (NLT)
I received a text from an acquaintance who has a relative who is very ill. She asked me about this passage, specifically if she should ask the leaders of her church to go with her to anoint her mother with oil and pray for her. I told her that the important question was whether that was what God was telling her to do. Did she feel the conviction of God’s Spirit in her spirit to do this? I could tell that she wasn’t sure how her mother would react to a group coming to pray for her and being anointed with oil was not a faith act that she and her mother were familiar with.
There is wisdom that I feel God has given me over the last ten years about prayer and healing.
Remember God answers our prayer better than we can pray it. The Gospels have many stories of healing and those who receive healing did not speak their request with a prescribe set of words. The requests came from the heart with great desperation. They believed they were helpless to help themselves. Some didn’t even recognize Jesus as anyone â€œspecial.â€ Some received their healing because a friend brought them near; they rode on another’s faith.
It is all about obedience and God’s Kingdom plan. There’s a scene in C.S. Lewis’ second story of Narnia when young Lucy asks Aslan why he didn’t save them like he had before. Aslan answered that he never worked in events the same way twice. I can see that in the many ways that Jesus healed. I so must be open to the path of healing that Jesus has for me. It could involve anointing with oil but it may be something as simple as faithfully going to my doctor appointments and taking prescribed medication. That would certainly be a lesson in obedience and discipline and, who knows, I may have a â€œdivine appointmentâ€ in a waiting room or even with the physician! God could have a plan for a group to gather and faithfully pray for someone. He can see so much more than I can and so I must be open to all God’s ways.
It is an intimate, wonderfully blessing to be used by God in prayer. It is a precious, life-changing moment to be touched by God in prayer. Listen. Learn. Receive His wisdom and then follow His plan. Always leave the person who desires prayer more encouraged and more uplifted than when you arrived. Truly the prayers of those who seek our LORD and live in a right and ready relationship with Him will achieve much. May God be glorified!
I Give You My Heart written by Rueben Morgan and sung by Hillsong Worship Team