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James 5: 14 – 15

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 offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.

Earlier in this series I wrote to you on Matthew 18:19. Here is the text of that verse, “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.” The point of the message, and indeed of the verse, is that there is power in praying together. James addresses this point specifically related to healing. We all want to know what to do when we get sick and here is Jesus’ brother telling us exactly what to do.

Let me ask you a challenging question. Have you asked an elder of the church or pastor to pray for you for healing? If not, was it because you didn’t know this instruction or was there another reason? Truthfully, we have not been trained in the way we should go, so when things come up, we do not default towards these kinds of instructions. It is a shame that we have not been taught. After today, though, none of us will have that excuse. So, what is the next excuse?

Would you be embarrassed to ask me to pray for you? This isn’t just prayer list praying, is it? This is in person, anointing with oil. What? Does this sound weird to you? I imagine to some it does sound odd and how tragic is that? Jesus’ own brother gave us explicit instructions and yet it sounds strange to us. Some of us have been in the church for many years. This should be old hat by now, but here we are, feeling awkward. I hope, though, by talking about prayer for healing it becomes more natural to us.

There is one other part that we must tackle. You know if you get sick you are going to be hesitant to call me or another elder to go lay hands on you, anoint you with oil and pray the prayer of faith. Can we predict that? The first question is why? Why are we hesitant? The second question is, what do we call it when we have been given direction by God and choose not to do it? I think you see the problem. How are we availing ourselves of God’s grace for healing while we are in disobedience? This is a very hard lesson, I know, but believe me, things have been changing in my household as well. Once we see what God has said to us, then it is incumbent upon us to obey. Embarrassment is not an excuse for disobedience.

God loves you. He is trying to get blessing and healing to you. He isn’t trying to embarrass you. We embarrass ourselves, but don’t let that be an impediment. Do as the Lord says, receive prayer and be healed, in Jesus’ name.

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