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Friday: Further Study: Prayer, Healing, Restoration — 7 Comments

  1. What shall we make of the fact that there are those who have been anointed (James 5:14) with the same result (positive or negative) as those who prayed in their closets?

    It might seem that the anointing with oil (James 5:14) is intended to deal with very serious cases which are too difficult for us to handle on our own, or somehow require extra prayer and ritual power. So debilitating illnesses with no definite or known cure are made anointing cases, at least until a scientific cure is found, while less devastating sicknesses with proven treatments are dealt with by conventional means.

    God’s power is required in every case of physical healing, even among those who do not regard Him, whatever the level of difficulty we perceive. The Great Physician does not need rituals and does not intend to make us plead or work harder or drive us into desperation in cases where we lack scientific knowledge of treatment for healing.

    Anointing has a lot to do with symbolism. It is intended to focus the mind on the power of the Holy Spirit who is at work and the ritual is particularly helpful to those whose faith may be aided by the symbols of the exercise.

    Jesus had special words of commendation for the Centurion who exercised great faith without the need for rituals or even the physical presence of Jesus (Luke 7:1-10). The Centurion clearly understood that Jesus had the power and the authority, and only need for us to trust Him without reservation. When trusting God and yielding to His will He does things for us we do not even ask for.

  2. Discussion 2: Based on James 5:16 and quote below - Effectual fervent prayer
    1. I must read God's word prayerfully to know His will for the time

    2. Even if God's word says it already and I know it, I must still pray confessing sin and claiming His promises

    3. I must come to Him in prayer (even fasting - hunger or physical material won't matter) in all humility, confessing sin, forsaking all else, recognising there's no good in me, even my best deed is filthy rags

    4. I must recognise and acknowledge God's goodness and greatness

    5. I must have a deep desire (obviously to be deep it ought to be genuine) for wat am petitioning God for. Genuine- not busy pushing my agenda at all cost but as Christ in Luke 22:42 made known His desire that the cup could pass Him but in same breath submitted to God's will.

    May God help us!

    Daniel’s Example of Prayer and Confession...

    “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

    As in ancient times, when prayer was offered, fire descended from heaven and consumed the sacrifice upon the altar, so in answer to our prayers, the heavenly fire will come into our souls.

    The light and power of the Holy Spirit will be ours.... That God who heard Daniel’s prayer will hear ours when we come to Him in contrition.

    And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: and I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession.

    Daniel’s example of prayer and confession is given for our instruction and encouragement.... Daniel knew that the appointed time for Israel’s captivity was nearly ended, but he did not feel that because God had promised to deliver them, they themselves had no part to act. With fasting and contrition he sought the Lord, confessing his own sins and the sins of the people....

    Daniel makes no plea on the ground of his own goodness, but he says: “O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies” (Daniel 9:18). His intensity of desire makes him earnest and fervent. He continues: “O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.”...

  3. Question 2 raises a question that I have often thought about. Why pray? Do we pray to get something? If so, what should we expect to get?

    James 5:15-16 says, "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. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed" (NKJV). Who is the prayer for and why?

    Is prayer like the good works we do as Paul says, "Therefore 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.'" (Rom. 12:20 NKJV)? (We could comment on this verse to some length).

    • Hi Tyler. The following is from J.R. Miller with the exception of my comment in parentheses. I read it often for its reassurance, especially as it concerns my children. Blessings... Sieg

      "Our duty of intercession is not limited to those who are kind and faithful to us. Any man can pray for those who are generous and loyal to him. We may not strike from our prayer-list those who have treated us with injustice or bitterness. Our Lord commands us to pray for those who despitefully use us. We sin against God if we cease to pray for the man who has harmed us and done us evil.

      He says, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” That is, the gifts are within our reach, but they must be claimed; they wait to be sought. This is true of good things both for ourselves and for others. We do not know how much we miss of the grace and help and fullness of life which God has in store for us, simply because we do not ask more largely. When we cease to pray for ourselves, or only ask little things, we impoverish our lives (God is glorified and honored when we ask for BIG things because it lets Him show us, the world and the watching universe how magnificent, loving and omnipotent He is).

      God has blessings manifold for our children — blessings which He is eager to put into their lives; but we must ask Him for them. If we do not, the blessings will not be bestowed, and the responsibility for their missing it will be ours. We have illustrations of this in the stories of Christ’s healings. Fathers and mothers came with their sick children, and at first they could not be cured because the parents had not faith. No doubt in many homes today children fail to receive the fullest, richest blessings because of their parents’ unbelief or small faith. Then what shall we say of the prayerless homes, where fathers and mothers love their children deeply and tenderly and yet bow no knee in supplication for them?

      There is a Bible story of a battle between the Israelites and the Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-16). Moses was on a hill top, overlooking the conflict. While he held up his hands Israel prevailed; but when his hands grew weary and heavy and sank down the battle went against Israel. Our friends and children are in the valley in sore conflict. While our hands are lifted up in intercession they are victorious; but if we cease to pray for them they falter and fail.

      We do not know how much the blessing and saving of others depend upon our praying for them. We do not know how often men’s failures, defeats, and falls are due to our having ceased to pray for them. We stand between God and needy lives, and are bidden to give ourselves no rest, but to cry continually to Him for those about us. The healing of the world is in our intercessory prayer."

      • Sieg, it seems to me that what God wants out of us is for us to see a connection between the blessings we get and the God of all blessing. A couple of texts should suffice to demonstrate this:

        Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." (Jn. 6:26-27 NKJV).

        And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you (Lk. 12:29-31 NKJV)

        So, do we need to pray for everything? What about the text that says, "for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matt. 5:45 NKJV). It seems to me, therefore, that even those that do not pray at all still get something from God.

      • Sieg,
        In our experience do we really have to claim every good gift, or can we think of some things we got without asking? If we had to ask for everything we would be in trouble, because we would forget some things until it is too late?

        Is God really restricted to small manifestations because of our modest and humble prayers (1 Kings 3:10-13)? Are the big things which we are to ask for to prove to us something about God we are not quite convinced about, or to convince the unfallen worlds of something in doubt? Perhaps the only big thing needed is salvation, the restoration of the image of God in man.

        Is it true the "blessing and saving of others depend upon our praying for them?" Has the Savior really wagered (placed at risk) the salvation of others on the prayers of fellow unreliable mortals? And if so can the lost claim a pass (excuse) on the basis of other delinquent saints who failed to pray early and often?

        Prayer, while it has such side benefits is not primarily about getting God to act, but acting to get close to God. Put differently prayer is essentially and firstly the communication channel which fosters the development of the relationship with God, and thereby makes us more like God (restoration/salvation). If prayer yielded nothing else, mission accomplished.

  4. How did Jesus teach us to pray?
    Our Father – we are appealing to one who loves us
    Hallowed be they name - we trust in your holy, true, loving character
    Thy kingdom come – we submit ourselves to your rule as King over our lives
    Thy will be done - we acknowledge that the LORD knows what is best for me and my part in His plan
    Give us our daily bread – we acknowledge that the LORD gives us everything we need every day
    Forgive us our sins – we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness
    Keep us from evil – we agree to avoid evil in our activities, to live in harmony with His will
    Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever – Praise the LORD and acknowledge that the LORD owns everything, He has the power to do anything He wills.

    So when James teaches us about praying for the sick, all the above still applies, they are part of the praying for the sick. In addition to the normal prayers he adds – call the elders and anoint with oil.

    Elders – they are the shepherds of the flock, the ones Jesus told to care for his sheep, they are there to demonstrate Jesus’ love and care for each one of his sheep, the sick one is not alone.

    Anointed with oil – at the dedication of priests and kings they were anointed with oil, it is a symbol of dedication and of the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Messiah/Christ means the Anointed One, to be anointed is an indication of our desire to be one with Jesus.

    What does James say is this result of prayer for the sick? Is it they will be saved, resurrected and forgiven or is it cured from their disease, get up out of sick bed and be forgiven? Or is it that some might be physically cured and some might not but that the most important aspect is being resurrected to eternal life is more important than physical life.

    James 5:16 KJV
    The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
    Is it the prayer OR the righteous man that gets the result OR something else?
    The Greek has 5 words: much, force, petition, righteous, energy/active/efficient
    KJV has these words in a different order and has expanded them:
    Energy/active/efficient: the effectual fervent
    Petition: prayer
    Righteous: the righteous man
    Force: availeth
    Much: much
    The literal translation is: Very strong is a righteous petition, being made effective
    Or I would say: A righteous prayer is very powerful and things will happen
    Why is a righteous prayer powerful?
    One – because it is righteous – it is in harmony with the LORD’s will and character
    Two – because most importantly – we are praying to the LORD who is all powerful and loving and it is His power and energy that makes things happen.


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