“Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to 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, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.”
---End of Scripture verses---
The appropriate response to suffering is worship. The appropriate response to delight is worship. When we are grieving or sorrowful we “must pray” to the One who has the greatest ability to make something positive come from our distress and anguish (verse 13). And listen—don’t merely cry out to the Lord in your despair and beg for relief. Please do that! But also thank Him and praise Him for all the wonderful things that He has done in the world and in your life! Our God is an awesome, powerful and loving God. We have much more to praise Him for than to petition Him for. Do both! And do “sing praises” to the Lord out of a heart of gratitude and joy!
Elders, oil and prayer for the sick (verses 14-15). It appears that James is referring to the serious illness of a Christian from which the Lord alone can “raise him up”. Surely our spiritual leaders are not to be burdened every time a member catches a cold or gets an ear infection. I don’t believe the “restoration” is anything of a miraculous nature either. James advises the use of “oil” which was “the most common medicine in biblical times” (The Expositors Bible Commentary). “Anointing” oils and “essential” oils are God’s therapeutic blessings from the natural world.
It is “prayer” that “will restore the one who is sick,” but only “the prayer offered in faith.” Remember that when we pray we must do so “in faith without any doubting” if we expect “to receive anything from the Lord” (1:6-7). This does not guarantee that the Lord will grant our request for healing and restoration if it is not His desire to do so. But we must pray with unwavering confidence that the Lord can and will do what we ask of Him, if it is according to His perfect and divine will. When we apply the best remedies and pray the right way (or the elders do) and we are healed; remember, it is the Lord who raises us up. Our God is a God of healing and forgiveness.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” (Psalm 103:1-5)
Please read James 5:16-18 for tomorrow.
Please come worship God with us today at the Taylorsville Road church of Christ.
We assemble at 3741 Taylorsville Road in Louisville Kentucky.
9:30 AM Bible classes for all ages. 10:30 AM and 5:00 PM worship services.
Have a blessed Lord’s Day!
- Louie Taylor