Praying for the Sick - James 5

Praying for the Sick

James 5:1-20

        "Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray."  All right.  It's not difficult to pray when you are hurting.  Suffering is often an incentive to prayer.  "Is anyone cheerful?  Let him sing psalms."  That's fine.  It's easy to sing when you're happy.  When you're feeling good, a joyful song is appropriate.  James 5:13. 

        "Is anyone among you sick?"  This sickness is not some minor illness.  The patient here is apparently bedridden, and seriously ill.  He cannot make it to church.  What should he do?

        First, "let him call for the elders of the church."  The one who is sick takes the initiative.  He does the calling.  There are times when some Christians complain that no one came to see them.  No one came, because no one was called.  Nobody knew. 

        Call for the elders of the church to come and pray.  These should be spiritual men, who know how to pray.  That's why they hold positions of leadership in the church. 

        Second, "let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord."  Prayer we understand, but anointing with oil?  Why should we bother?  Some think that the oil is for medical purposes.  If that's the case, then the person who is sick should call for the doctor, not the elders. 

        The oil is symbolic of the presence of the Spirit of God.  It isn't magical or supernatural.  Anointing with oil is an act of obedience.  It conveys a message of hope that the Lord is there to heal.

        Third, "the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up."  The prayer of faith is believing prayer.  Jesus promised, "Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."  Matthew 21:22.  Men of the Spirit understand this.  God heals the sick in answer to prayer.  That's the way it is.

        Fourth, deal with sin.  "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed."  Confession clears the air, and opens the door for God to work.  Besides the healing of the sick, this may also be a time of forgiveness and cleansing.  Healing presents a broad concept, which involves a right relationship with the Lord.

        Healing may occur immediately, or it may be experienced later.  The Lord is in control of the timing, and we leave that with Him by faith.  

        The bottom line is this: "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."  James 5:16. 


        Heavenly Father, thank You for hearing our prayers.  Thank You for health and happiness.  Open our eyes to see You at work.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!


All About God

Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
Copyright ©
1979, 1980, 1982
by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by Permission.
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