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The Prayer of Faith
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.
From James we clearly see the healing ministry of Jesus Christ continues within His Church. The sick are told to call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over the sick anointing them with oil in the Name of the Lord. And then verse 15 unequivocally states “and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins they will be forgiven him.
What are we to make of this? Too many churches neither believe, teach, nor practice the present-day healing ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus, when physically on Earth, healed all who came to Him, and He also empowered those with whom He travelled to heal the sick and to cast out devils. In addition, Peter, in Acts 10:38 states "God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power and He went about doing good, healing all who were oppressed of the devil." From this we can all agree that God is not opposed to the healing ministry of Jesus Christ!
There are many reasons churches do not have an active ministry of healing the sick. I believe fear of failure underlies most of our unwillingness to pray for the sick. People simply do not see that, in Christ, God has called and equipped them to continue the healing, and delivering, work of Christ. They cannot pray in faith because they do not see themselves as having the power, the calling, or even the right to pray for the sick. Some believe it is scripturally wrong to pray for the sick, that God no longer responds to prayers of healing! James shows the thinking that says "God no longer heals" to be wrong. Also, fear of embarrassment breeds double-mindedness, and we all know what the scriptures say about a double-minded person - “let not that man think he will receive anything from the Lord”, James 1:5-8.
If we avoid praying for the sick because of potential failure or embarrassment, then the healing ministry of Christ will never be a meaningful part of our Christian experience. To pray prayers of faith we have to come to the place in our relationship with the Lord God that we can pray without fear of failure! Or, to say it another way - praying in faith means we partner with God by allowing Him to answer in the way He chooses. We say the words and then God takes our words and applies them according to His will! If we can partner with God, then we are empowered to pray big prayers; we can pray miracle prayers because we know God will take our prayers and perform them with His wisdom and His power!
As a Royal Priesthood, we can do much better than worrying about God not answering our prayers! If the Scripture is true, then there is a way for the local congregation to effectively participate in the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.
As stated earlier, the prayer of healing is a partnership with God. James clearly says we pray and the Lord raises him up! We do the praying - God does the healing. We pray in faith, He then takes our prayers and makes application according to His wisdom, His will, and His timing. We cannot carry the burden, or the responsibility, of healing the sick. Healing belongs to God alone. Our challenge is to first pray prayers of healing, then believe that God will hear our prayers, and then after hearing them, do something meaningful with them!
The Lord says "the prayers of the righteous are His delight", Prov. 15:8. David, expressing his faith that God would hear his prayer, began with the words, " O thou that hearest prayer", Ps. 65:2. God has committed Himself to hearing our prayers of faith. We can have confidence, knowing when we pray according to His will, He will hear us. 1John 5:14-15 is very clear that God has purposed to hear the prayers of His people!
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
So, our confidence is this – if I pray according to the will of God He will hear my prayers. With this truth, I quiet my unbelief, my worry, and my fear. In faith, I quiet all the negative voices that say God will not answer my prayers. In faith, I quiet my heart by knowing no prayer is too big, or too small, for God! In faith, I quiet my heart by believing what God says.
I will not fret about the exact way God chooses to answer my prayers. He said He will answer my prayers and that’s good enough for me. I will pray and then I will thank Him for His answer. I know His ways are higher than my ways and that He is perfect in wisdom. He is going to answer my prayer, He said he would, so when and how He chooses will be exactly right. I will rest in His Word, I will rest in His faithfulness, and I will pray in faith.
God bless you,
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