Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Prayer and Healing, Part 1

Chuckle: "You know it’s a bad day when you call your spouse and tell her that you'd like to eat out tonight, and when you get home, you find a sandwich on the front porch.
Quote: "The less I pray, the harder it gets; the more I pray, the better it goes." --Martin Luther
"Is anyone of you sick: He/she should call the elders of the church to pray over him/her and anoint him/her with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up" (James 5:14-15 NIV).
The subject of prayer and healing became very personal for me when I dealt with a cancer diagnosis followed by two major surgeries. I became aware of the power of prayer in a fresh and comforting way as I prayed and as many brothers and sisters in Christ prayed with me and for me. If you've experienced something like this, you can understand my feelings.
James says we should pray when we are physically sick. He is also talking about times when we may be too sick and weak to pray because of serious life-threatening illnesses. When you are in this situation, James says you should call the leaders of the church together for prayer.
Anointing with oil was a first century custom (Mark 6:13, Luke 10:34). Oil was used both for medicinal reasons and as a symbol of God's healing power. But the medicinal use of oil is not the issue here. Being anointed is to be symbolically touched with oil -- not rubbed in, poured on, or taken internally as a medicine.
The oil symbolizes the healing power of the Holy Spirit. However, the main teaching is that healing comes through prayer, not the oil. Today, Christians should pray while using all available medical treatments -- always trusting the Great Physician to bring healing. We have seen people healed when we have prayed while others have died. We are reminded that we serve a sovereign God whose ultimate will is expressed in His decision whether or not to heal an illness. We should pray in faith and trust in Him.
“Healing is one of the most striking manifestations of the redemption of our bodies which salvation will bring, but it is an anticipation graciously and mysteriously vouchsafed to some and, equally graciously and mysteriously, withheld from others.”  --John Gunstone 
None of us has everything figured out about Divine healing. Some say God doesn't do miraculous healing today. Not true. But we must understand it is not God's will to heal everyone just because we want it to happen. We should pray but leave the ultimate outcome to God and His sovereign will. Robert Lawford put it this way: "Prayer is not getting our will done in heaven, but getting God's will done on earth."
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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