The book of James describes the procedures to be used when praying for the sick. There is a wealth of information brought to light in these few verses. James backs up the fact that the effective prayer of an upright person brings results. The words “the prayer of faith shall save the sick” takes us back to the words of Jesus in Mark 11:24, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
In the book of James significance is also given to the action of admitting our mistakes to each other. “Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry let him sing psalms. 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: 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. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:13-16)
Anointing with oil is an important factor because it was also referred to when Jesus sent his disciples out in twos to convert souls. “And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” (Mark 6:13)
If in a situation where no one is available from your church or if your church does not practice anointing with oil, you can anoint someone or anoint yourself with oil. To anoint with oil, fill a small vile or bottle with extra virgin olive oil and pray for God’s blessing on the contents. Place a small amount of the oil on your finger and touch it to the person’s forehead, praying for their, or your, healing in the name of Jesus Christ.
It is a special blessing to know that the word Christ in the Greek is Christos* (Khris-tos), which means, “anointed”. Care for this oil with reverence. Consider it as holy. It is not the oil, but the obedience that brings about the healing. *(Strong’s Concordance #5547)
Twice in the third chapter of Proverbs, the values of obedience, humility and repentance are hinted to as being important to our long life and health. “My son forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” (Proverbs 3:1-2) “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.” (Proverbs 3:7-8)
Through Moses, God stated to the people that he would keep them from diseases if they would heed his words. “And ‘God’ said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.” (Exodus 15:26) Part of the commandments that God gave to Moses was concerning which foods should be eaten and which should be avoided. The food we eat does affect our health. If you are interested in the food laws that God gave the people, one place they are given is in Leviticus 11:1-47.
It is possible that a correct attitude and living a righteous life, or doing what is right, could contribute to our good health. Peter says God is watching us and listening for our prayers. “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile; Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” (I Peter 3:10-12) Peter’s words are similar to those written in the book of Psalms. “What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” (Psalms 34:12-15) One way to generate a right attitude is to direct our thoughts in a more positive direction, as Paul explains. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4: 8)
What gift could be more precious than peace of mind? These words are spoken of a good man. “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. (Psalms 37:37) Paul says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
It is written to the believers, “he shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.” (Psalms 91:15 and 16)
God’s response to Hezekiah’s prayer for healing was, “I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee.”(II Kings 20:5)