Thursday, October 19, 2006

praying elders only?

James 5.12-18, "Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is any 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; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought fort its fruit."

Three kinds of prayer:

  • pray for yourself (v. 13)
  • elders pray for you (v. 14-15)
  • pray for each other (v. 16)

Regardless, the example of Elijah used by James indicates that he understood ordinary people at ordinary times can be used by God in extraordinary ways (not limited to OT super guys or Jesus and the Apostles).

On the other hand, this
does not teach that everyone we pray for will get well. It's when the prayer of faith is prayed when healing will occur. And this prayer of faith is a gift, not something we can build up or maintain. It is given as God desires and when done so, His power will be made manifest (Mk 11.23-24; 1 Co 12.9; 13.2) and His will will be done.

Finally, it's important to note that it's the elders, not the "healers" that are called. Again, this reinforces this is the gift of faith and the concept of gifts of healings. When we are wounded, we need our shepherds. The issue may require any number of kinds of prayer requiring spiritual discernment. We should not assume a standard physical healing situation and then presume some person or persons possess such a power. But we can be sure that our God has a plan, that His plan is good, that He is capable of completing His plan, and that He is using use to execute His plan.

Because of this, we should be zealous for spiritual gifts practiced in an environment of love - so that all the world might know that He is King.

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