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Praying for Healing

by | May 30, 2016 | Blog

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 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 one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” James 5:13–16 ESV

There are times in this life when we are facing an illness, a serious health issue, or a physical or mental health crisis. We are left reeling, looking for answers. We seek out the best doctors, the best therapies; we read every article and research every possibility. No stone is left unturned in our efforts to understand and fight the illness and every resource we have is devoted to winning the battle.

Yet, often we neglect to fully engage our very best resource. The book of James specifically instructs those who are sick to ask for prayer and anointing from the church elders. It seems like something so simple and yet so formal, so what does that actually look like here at Exodus?

There are specific steps that our pastors use while praying for healing with a congregant.

1. Someone requests prayer with the elders

When someone is facing an physical or mental illness, we encourage you to go to the elders and ask for prayer. The request needs to be personal and specific.

2. A meeting is arranged

The person in need of prayer and their spouse/parents meet with the elders. This is purposefully kept to a very small group; only the person dealing with the illness and their spouse are invited to the time of prayer. In the case of a child in need of prayer, the parents would attend with the child.

3. During the meeting

The meeting is a time of quiet, fervent, focused prayer, petitioning God on behalf of the one who is sick. The elders have a structured format they go through that includes readings and an outline for the prayers.

We begin by mourning sin’s effects – Calling out to God

-Acknowledge the Fall – Romans 8:18-25, The elders express prayers of longing and groaning in our present struggles, for us to wait with patience, for us to endure the struggle of this life with hope of the life to come.

-Consider the discipline of the Lord  – Hosea 6:1, Just as it would be foolish for us to think that all suffering was because God was disciplining us, it also would be foolish to rule out God’s discipline.

Together we acknowledge God’s kindness in Suffering – Thanksgiving

Though we would rather not receive a trial as a gift, the Scriptures would urge us to count it all joy.

-Family Affections
In marriage, we have made promises to love one another in sickness and in health. We pray that these gifts would be realized and secured.

-Increasing our longing for Heaven
Our temporary lack of healing detaches us from this world, and produces a longing for our heavenly home where ultimate healing and wholeness will be realized. (Malachi 4:2 ESV)

Faithfulness through a trial can be a powerful testimony of God’s presence and goodness through us. Pray that this would be so in this current circumstance.

-Development of Godly Character
Endurance, character and hope issue from suffering (Romans 5:3-5) and God works our good in all things (Romans 8:28).

Going to the Elders

In obedience to James 5, we as a people can submit ourselves to God’s word, trusting in him for healing, provision and deliverance from a trial.

Anoint with Oil

The anointing of oil is symbolic of the elders tending the needs of our flock as well as God’s power and presence to save, heal and change our circumstances. Just as oil would have been applied to wounds medicinally, we apply it in prayer symbolically as our willingness to care for the flock of God and our submission to his word. The oil doesn’t heal; the Lord who hears our prayer heals.

Prayer for Healing

Spend time praying for specific healing – Matthew 14:14, Psalm 147:3, Isaiah 53:4-5.

If you are currently dealing with a health issue, or if you find yourself facing one in the future, we encourage you to follow the teachings of James 5 and to ask for prayer and anointing from the elders.


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