Friday, April 21, 2006

Praying in Faith, Healing the Sick

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. (James 5:13-5)
Is anyone troubled, afflicted, undergoing hardship? The appropriate response is to take it to the Lord in prayer. Peter said, “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). God cares enough to do something about all the things that worry us. (See How to Cast Your Cares)

Is anyone happy, of good cheer, free from care? The appropriate response is to give thanks and praise, making melody to the Lord. Perhaps James has in mind the previous situation where someone was afflicted, but is now free from care because He cast it upon the Lord.

What if someone is sick, feeble, diseased, without strength? Then the appropriate response is for him to call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a one is, apparently, too sick to go to the elders; he must call for them to come to him.

Up until now, it might seem like James is simply suggesting ways to cope, to learn to live with adversity. But in the next verse we see that that is not his attitude at all. No, he actually expects to get results:
And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up! (v. 15)
There is no if about it. When you offer the prayer of faith over this fellow, he will recover; the Lord will raise him up from his sickbed.

The problem many people have when they pray for the sick is that they do not pray in faith; they pray in ifs: “If it be Thy will.” That sounds good and pious, but it is not how Jesus went about healing, nor is it how He taught His disciples to go about healing.

When He sent them out, is was not so they could go and pray if it was the Father’s will. He sent them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and cast out demons (Mark 3:14-15). And that is exactly what they did:
So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast our many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them. (Mark 6:13)
They understood the prayer of faith, that it is not about finding out if it is God’s will to heal, but that, yes, it is God’s will to heal, otherwise Jesus would not have sent them out.

The prayer of faith has no wavering to it. In the first chapter of his letter, James says,
But let him ask in faith, with not doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that ma suppose that he shall receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:6-8)
Then in chapter 5, he says this:
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. (James 5:16-17)
The Greek phrase translated “he prayed earnestly,” literally means he prayed prayer! In other words, he was able to accomplish what he did because he knew how to pray the prayer of faith. (See The Effective, Fervent Prayer of Elijah)

When we begin to understand that Jesus is the perfect expression of the Father’s will (John 5:19, 30; John 8:28,29); that He never turned away anyone who came to Him for healing, but healed them all (Matthew 9:35; Luke 6:17-19); that He bore our sicknesses and pains, and by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 8:16-17; 1 Peter 2:24) — then we will begin to heal as Jesus and His disciples did. Our prayer will not be if, but when. It will not be please, but thank You! That is the prayer of faith.

Healing Scriptures and Prayers

Healing Scriptures and Prayers
by Jeff Doles

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Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.