Anointing and Prayer for Healing

The following comes from a member of a church I served previously. It is a thorough and well-done explanation of this important blessing we Christians have to share.

The Ministry of Anointing and Praying for the Sick

James 5.1418

Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  15 The prayer offered in faith will save/heal the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power and effect.  17 (For example,) Elijah was a human being just like us, and he prayed fervently that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave   rain and the earth produced its harvest.

Exposition/Explanation of the Text

  • ·· Verse 14:
    • · Notice that it is the sick person who should call for the elders to pray for healing.
    • · To pray over someone who is sick gives the image of standing at that person’s bedside and requesting God to heal him/her. It may also include touching that person as Christ often did.
    • · The prayer and the anointing with oil are done in the name of the Lord.
    • · By anointing someone in the name of the Lord we are asking God/Jesus to act on that person. This is very powerful because God who is all powerful is the One acting.
  • Verse 15:
    • Healing is related to faith. Notice it is the faith of the elders that is referred to here. In the Bible, the concept of being healed (physical healing) is closely related to the concept of being saved from the punishment of sins (spiritual healing); the same Greek verb can be used for both concepts. In addition to physical healing, it may also be appropriate to pray for a person’s spiritual healing. “Praise the Lord….who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…!” (Psalm 103.2-3)
      “the Lord will raise him up” means the Lord will heal him/her.··

    Verse 16:

    • Confess your sins to one another” means we are not to struggle against sin alone.
    • Healing is closely related to confession of sins and prayer. In fact, when we pray for healing, it is also a time to confess sins. A person can give a general confession of sin or confess specific sin(s) that are in his/her life. Confession includes repentance, that is, a turning from sinful thoughts and ways to God’s thoughts and ways. God will forgive some-one who confesses his sins (1 John 1.9). This is comforting, especially since the devil (the accuser) likes to get us feeling guilty, depressed, and unworthy of serving God or receiving His mercy..
    • As children of God we are righteous (that is, we have a right/good relationship with God) because God has declared us righteous for Jesus’ sake, through faith. Jesus paid the eternal death penalty that we deserved for our sins. Our prayers are powerful and effective because God listens to our prayers as a loving Father and He is the One who acts on our requests to Him.

    Verses 17-18:

    • Elijah’s prayer is a good example of how powerful and effective a righteous person’s prayers can be.

Questions & Answers

  • Will everyone who is prayed for be immediately healed?   No. Sometimes God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12.8-10)   We know from the Bible and experience that, God heals sometimes miraculously, sometimes medically, sometimes mercifully. But our ultimate and eternal healing will be in the resurrection on the Last Day.
  • Who does God heal?  Those He chooses by His grace to heal. Out of all the people at the pool of Bethesda Jesus healed one paralytic (John 5:1-15). Following Jesus’ example, we pray, “(Heavenly Father) let Your will be done!” (Matthew 26.42)
  • Are some people sick because of sin?  Yes. For example, Paul said that many believers were weak, sick, or dead because they took the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27-32). The Lord disciplines those He loves. Because God is merciful, He may sometimes use sickness to get our focus back on Him and His will (Hebrews 12:4-13, Proverbs 3.11-12).
  • Is a person’s sickness always the result of sins which that person has committed?  No. When  asked whose sin caused a man to be born blind, Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (John 9.1-3)
  • What kind of oil is referred to in verse 14?  Probably olive oil.
  • Is oil absolutely necessary?  No. For most of the healings mentioned in the NT olive oil is not mentioned and so is apparently not used. However, James 5.14 makes it clear that oil should be used in the Lord’s name. Mark 6.12-13 says Jesus’ disciples “poured oil on many who were sick and made them well.” (Matthew 10.1, 5-14 and Luke 9.1-6 record the same episode but leave the use of oil implied.)
  • What is the purpose of oil?  In the OT, oil was often used to set someone or something apart for God’s service. Combined with the request for healing, it may symbolize that the sick person is being ‘set apart’ for God’s special attention and care.
  • Does the olive oil heal the person?  No.
  • Who heals the sick person?  The Lord does (v.5).
  • Who is righteous?  Everyone who has faith in Christ. Faith is a relationship with God that He has established (John 15.16).
  • In order for God to heal someone, must the sick person first have faith?  No,  although healing is often closely related to the sick person’s faith. For example: “As you believed, so let it be done to you!” (Matthew 9.29); Jesus “saw their faith” and healed the man (Mark 2.5); “Go, your faith has made you well” (Mark 10.52). However, in other cases there is no indication that the person had faith before he/she was healed. For example, in John 5.13 the man did not even know Jesus’ name. Sometimes healing is related to the faith of those who request healing for someone else, for example, when a Canaanite woman kept asking Jesus to heal her daughter, Jesus praised her strong faith and granted her request (Matthew 15.28).
  • Can unbelief hinder healing?  Yes. The unbelief in Nazareth was so great that Jesus could only do a few miracles (Mark 6.5). The disciples were unable to heal an epileptic because of their weak faith (Matthew 17.19-21). Lord, we believe! Help us with our unbelief (Mark 9.24).
  • How effective is prayer?  “….anything you ask for in prayer, believe that you have already received it, and you will have it.” (Mark 11.24-26)  “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 John 5.14-15)
  • Are there any other reasons why we should ask God to heal the sick?  Yes. Asking God for help shows our dependence on Him. We should daily submit ourselves to God’s loving rule and will. “You don’t have because you don’t ask (God)…. Submit yourselves, then, to God.” (James 4.2,7)
  • Are there any limits on how many times a person should be prayed for with oil?  No. God says that if a person is sick, pray (James 5.14).

Example Prayer: Dear God, we ask You to heal   [name] in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Examples of Healing in the New Testament

  • · The Blind: Mt 9.27-31, 11.5, 12.22 (demon, dumb), 15.14, 0-31, 20.29-34 (Jesus touched), 21.14; Mk 8.22-26 (Jesus touched twice), 10.46-52; Lk 4.18, 7.21-22, 14.13,21; 18.35-43; Jn 5.3, 9.1-11 (mud, wash), 11.37; Acts 9.17-18
  • · The Crippled/Deformed: Mt 12.9-14, 15.30-31;    Mk 3.1-5 ; Lk 6.6-11, 13.10-13 (demon)
  • · The Deaf: Mt 11.5; Mk 7.31-37 (dumb, Jesus touched, spit), 9.14-29 (dumb, demon); Lk 7.22
  • · The Demon Possessed/Controlled: Mt 8.16,28-34; 9.32-35, 10.1, 10.8 (disciples), 12.22-28, 15.21-28 (remote), 17.14-18 (but  Mt 17.16,19–21) ; Mk 1.23–28,32–34; 3.15 (disciples), 5.1–20, 6.7,13; 7.25–30 (remote), 9.14–27 (deaf, dumb); (but 28–29), 38–39 (someone); Lk 4.33–37,41 (sick); 6.17–19, 7.21, 8.2,26–39; 9.1 (disciples), 37–43 (but 40–41), 49 (someone); 10.18,20 (disciples); 11.14–26, 13.11; Acts 5.16, 8.6–7, 16.16–18, 19.12
  • · The Dumb: Mt 12.22 (demon, blind), 15.30–31; Mk 7.31–37 (deaf, Jesus touched), 9.14–27 (deaf); Lk 11.14 (demon)
  • · The Lame: Mt 11.5, 15.30–31, 21.14; Lk 7.22, 14.13; Acts 3.1–8, 8.7, 14.8–10
  • · The Lepers: Mt 8.1–4, 10.8 (disciples), 11.5; Mk 1.40–45 (Jesus touched); Lk 5.12–16, 7.22, 17.11–19
  • · The Paralyzed: Mt 8.5–13 (centurion’s faith, remote), 9.1–8 (sins forgiven); Mk 2.3–12 (sins forgiven); Lk 5.17–26 (sins forgiven); Acts 8.7, 9.32–35
  • · The Sick: Mt 4.23–25, 8.16, 10.8 (disciples), 14.14; Mk 1.32–34, 3.10, 6.5 (Jesus touched),13 (oil), 55–56 (people touched); 16.18; Lk 4.38–39, 40 (demons); 7.1–10 (remote), 9.2,6 (disciples), 10.9 (disciples) ; Jn 4.46–54 (remote), 5.1–9, 6.2, 9.37 Acts 5.15–16, 19.12, 28.8–9
  • · Other Healings: Mt 8.14–16, 9.20–22 (woman touched), 35; 12.15, 14.35–36; Mk 3.10–12, 5.25–34 (woman touched); Lk 6.17–19, 7.21, 8.43–48 (woman touched), 9.1–2,6 (disciples), 11; 14.1–4; Acts 4.22,29–30, 19.11–12
·· Verse 15:
  1. Jackie Richardson said:

    I enjoyed this and appreciate you making it available to us. But as usual I wanted to add my two cents (for whatever it is worth, but you know how ministers are).
    Job was afflicted because he was righteous and God knew he would be faithful in his time of testing.
    Maybe God knew He could trust me during my time of trouble. My faith has remained storng and I have experience my faith growing stronger with each set back I have had. The devil is an accurser of the brethren, and he is also a lier. I believe he wanted me dead at the same time Mike died. As Paul tells us “God’s grace is sufficient to see us thorugh anything that comes our way. In
    2 Cor. 12:9 Paul Tells us that when he sought the Lord , :And he said to me “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” ALso our bodies have been created with healing qualities and as post-surgcal patients or accident vicitims know, the body kicks in and goes about the healing process that is a part of our body and the way God created us.
    I have searched my heart and asked God to search my heart to see if there is any sin in me that would cause me to have suffered what I have gone through the past 23 months. I can honestly say that the answer is NO. I believe it has been a test of my faith and my devotion to the Lord. Did I pass the test – well so far but it isn’t over. As the saying goes is isn’t over until the fat lady sings and so far I haven’t be able to sing. ALl the intubaions an anesthesia, etc. has taken it toll on my throat and voice, but I am praying that the Lord restores that along with the legs.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Jackie. I pray that you continue to recover!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: