TEXT: James 5:13-18
13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
14 Is any sick among you? 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:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
Alan Carr said, “When we, or others are sick, we are to call out their names in prayer. God is a healer! Therefore, we are to go to Him in prayer on behalf of those who are afflicted with sickness. We are to be in prayer for one another in the family of God. We have a duty to one another to prayer fervently about the needs, burdens and lives of our fellow believers.”
One man tells the story of his church’s return to the tradition of true intercessory prayer. The church, located in a small rural Georgia town, had the typical `who’s-who-in-the-hospital’ prayer time on Wednesday evening. `We began to dread the service and felt guilty for feeling that way,’ he said. Attendance was limited to a faithful few.
“One deacon decided to research the church’s history of Wednesday night prayer meetings. Going through records as much as a century old, he discovered that the midweek prayer meeting had been one of the most exciting times in the church’s life. Its attendance rivaled the Sunday morning crowd. The central element of the prayer meeting was `the prayers for the lost.’ Specific names and situations of family members, friends, and co-workers were lifted up in intercessory prayer. Not coincidentally, the number of baptisms in the church was at a record high during this time.
“The deacon reported this history to the congregation. At the conclusion of the report, one faithful member declared, `We must reclaim the great tradition of prayer in our church.’
“The next Wednesday, a larger-than-usual crowd came to the prayer meeting, some out of conviction, others out of curiosity. For 45 glorious minutes, nothing but intercessory prayer for the lost took place. Word spread about the exciting prayer time, and the crowds grew steadily.
“`Probably the most exciting development took place three months later on a Sunday morning,’ the church member said. `We were totally unprepared for what took place. George Carlson, probably one of the meanest sinners in town, came running down the aisle during the invitation. George was one of the people we had been praying for every Wednesday night, though none of us really expected him to change. George didn’t even try to keep his voice quiet. Every person in the church heard him tell the preacher that if he didn’t change his ways he thought he would die on the spot.
“`The preacher explained to him the way of Christ, and George accepted the Savior right then and there. We all heard him pray out loud: “I need Your forgiveness, Jesus, I accept You. Please come into my life.”
“`That’s when it happened,’ the church member explained. `Almost spontaneously the church folks broke out into applause. Then people began standing and laughing and crying and hugging. Nothing like that ever happened in our stuffy church! Now we see someone accept Christ almost every week. And, almost always, that person is someone we have prayed for. You can’t tell me that prayer isn’t powerful!’
Last week, we saw how this passage instructs to pray in all circumstances.
Second, we are given instructions of prayer for those who are sick. James 5:14-15 says, “Is any sick among you? 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 shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” There is some debate among scholars over whether James meant healing from disease or healing from spiritual weariness. We know that God can heal both physical sicknesses and spiritual sufferings. When we are dealing with these, James instructs the sick person to call for the leaders of the church and have them to pray over him in faith. David Guzik said, “James also said that the elders of the church, as they pray, should anoint the sick person with oil in the name of the Lord. This anointing with oil has been interpreted as either seeking the best medical attention possible for the afflicted (oil massages were considered medicinal), or as an emblem of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power. Many have wondered if James guarantees healing here for the sick who are prayed for in faith. Some interpret this as a reference to ultimate resurrection. The reference to sins being forgiven adds to the idea that James is considering a spiritual work and healing, not necessarily a physical healing. Yet the context of the statement demands that James does not exclude physical healing as an answer to prayer, though he does seem to mean something broader than only a physical healing. We should pray for others in faith, expecting that God will heal them, then leave the matter in God’s hands. Clearly, God does not grant immediate healing for every prayer of faith, and the reasons are hidden in the heart and mind of God. Still, many are not healed simply because there is no prayer of faith offered. The best approach in praying for the sick is to pray with humble confidence that they will be healed, unless God clearly and powerfully makes it clear that this is not His will. Having prayed, we simply leave the matter to God.” God responds to prayers that are made in a spirit of faith in Him. Ray Fowler said, “It’s not the oil that brings the healing here but the prayer of faith. Whose faith? The elders! We cannot blame a lack of healing on a lack of faith on the sick person’s part. They already demonstrated faith in calling the elders. Now it’s the elders’ job to pray in faith. In response to the prayer of faith, James says the Lord will raise the person up. This is resurrection language, but probably refers to the person getting out of their sick bed. Notice it is the Lord who raises the person up. Once again, it is not the elders, not the oil, not even the prayer of faith that is ultimately responsible for healing, but the Lord. Only God can heal. Sometimes God will heal miraculously and immediately. Sometimes God will use doctors and medicine to heal. Sometimes God will speed up the natural processes of healing he has already built into your body. And sometimes we just need to trust God while we wait for his answer.”
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.