James 5:13-18 – “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 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. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” NKJV
At this time, my wife is facing a fight for life, and I stand with her in that battle both as a participant and observer. I cannot endure her pain or take her calamity but I can stand with her linking my faith with hers and showering her with my love and compassion. This is the fiercest battle we have faced and is one that ONLY GOD can bring resolution. Therefore, we know what it is to need prayer and sense the deep desire to know the directive of God for dealing with the difficulties of life. What do you do when you face the difficulties of life?
James and Mark as well as numerous other passages in Scripture give us directive and offer us hope in times of hopelessness. I ask that you walk through some simple thoughts with me and hopefully, it will strengthen my faith and yours and lead us through the door of victory in Jesus. Consider the following with me:
- What Is the Biblical Directive for Those SUFFERING or AFFLICTED?
Before I attempt to answer that as simplistically as I can please consider the word translated SUFFERING or AFFLICTED. The Greek word is (kakopatheo) which means to be afflicted, endure afflictions or hardships, and suffer trouble. That covers virtually the entire gamut of life including the social, financial, relational, spiritual, and physical. It includes sickness but since sickness is specifically identified I suggest that the implication is everything else. What is the person SUFFERING or enduring AFFLICTION to do? James says, “Let him/her PRAY!”
In Leviticus 13:45 the requirement for a person suffering from leprosy was to walk around crying aloud “UNCLEAN, UNCLEAN.” That identified their malady and served as a warning to others of the infectious dangers but was also a cry for help through prayer. Those in the Old Testament era understood what many today fail to acknowledge, God is the Healer and Prayer garners results. Prayer, to the Old and New Testament persons, was not simply a routine religious exercise but Purpose Driven with Expectation. God Promised to Heal, Bless, Deliver, Guide, Guard, Protect, and Defend so they anticipated that if they Cried out to Him, He would respond. Therefore, James says to the person enduring the hardship of SUFFERING or AFFLICTION – Pray, Pray, Pray, and Keep on Praying!
- What is the Biblical Directive for Those Experiencing Joy and Have a MERRY HEART?
The Gospel is described as the “Good News” and the imagery is that of a young lamb skipping in glee. It is exuberant joy and overflows to the outward. James says, “If you have a MERRY HEART – Sing Psalms!” We are instructed in Isaiah 61:3 to “Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” We are told in Ephesians 5 to be Filled with the Spirit of God and to “Speak to yourselves in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord.” PRAISE is Powerful because in Praise we enter God’s Courts and praise is an activity that shifts our focus from Earth to Heaven, from Problem to Solution. Praise heats up our hearts and brings us into the Presence of God so we can “Ask what we will, knowing He hears us.”
- What is the Biblical Directive for Those Who are SICK?
The Greek word translated SICK is (astheneo) which means to be feeble, diseased, weak or sick. They are instructed to CALL for the Elders who are to Lay on of Hands, Anoint with Oil, and Pray the Prayer of Faith. That is a directive with expectation and several things are important in this consideration which makes it separate from those AFFLICTED or SUFFERING.
The Sick, especially those seriously sick are not always able to CALL or GO TO the Elders and also to PRAY effectively for themselves with faith and without doubting. THEY NEED HELP! They are SICK. They are battling emotions and physical conditions that may, at times, make it difficult for them to focus or direct their faith properly. They are under the heavy assault of the enemy. Therefore, those of us who are with them, near them, and love them, can and should initiate the call.
The burden of Faith, in this passage, is not placed solely or squarely on the SICK but on the Elders. I heard an Evangelist say once, “Everybody I pray for healing gets healed but some of them lose their healing by the time they get to the back door!” THAT MAKES ME FURIOUS! That is one of the most narcissistic, self-serving, egotistical, self-righteous, Pharisaical statements I have every heard and its root is HELL, not HEAVEN.
Mark 16:17-18 refutes that position in a most powerful manner. It says, “AND these signs SHALL FOLLOW those who believe: In My Name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means harm them; THEY WILL LAY HANDS ON THE SICK AND THEY SHALL RECOVER.” It did not say, “They shall lay hands on the sick and some of them will recover or they might get better, get well, or fully recover.” It said, “THEY SHALL RECOVER.” Who is believing? Hopefully, the one being prayed for but the onus is on the one Praying and Laying on of Hands! It is SIGN OF YOUR FELLOWSHIP and BELIEF.
Sadly, in the modern church, we have not taken the responsibility of Praying for the Sick to heart and allowed justification and excuse as to why the Sick do not recover when we pray. Consider I John 5:14-14, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” The number of passages in Scripture about Healing are many. Repeatedly, our Lord and the apostles made it clear that HEALING was considered a normal expectation by believers. Therefore, we should settle in our hearts that HEALING is the Children’s Bread and God desires to Heal spiritually, emotionally, and PHYSICALLY. We do not have to be sick to be taken to heaven, we can and should go there well having finished our course and run our race not because the devil took us out early.
My plea is that each of us studies God’s Promises concerning Healing of all aspects and dimensions and then takes Isaiah 53, 1 Peter 2, James 5, Mark 16, and 1 John 5 to heart and ask the Holy Spirit to increase our Expectation.
God, bless you richly is my prayer and desire. Thank you for praying for my wife. We are expecting God’s Miracle and know the Power of Effective Fervent Corporate and Multiplied Prayer!