Many, many years ago I had the opportunity to serve under a wonderful man by the name of Deacon Bill. Some of you may be more familiar with his counterpart and equally wonderful man, Deacon Dave. In fact, many of you make the trek over the hill we call Vasco Road to go witness the spectacular light display that is Deacon Dave’s home, each year during the Christmas Season. What you may not know is that Deacon Bill and Deacon Dave compete with one another every year for the best display. And, every year they both claim to “have won”! Deacon Bill also treats his volunteer staff to a Christmas party at his house. If you think Deacon Dave’s is something to, “Ooo and ahh” about, you ought to see the inside of Deacon Bill’s home. A winter wonderland is an understatement and yet it is done so beautifully one doesn’t know where to look first!
At the time I served under Deacon Bill he was the one who oversaw all the youth ministries at St. Michael’s Church. I was the coordinator of the children’s Sunday preschool program ministering to three, four and five year olds. Every Sunday Deacon Bill would come in to see how things were going but mainly to see the children. He loved the children and they loved him! They would run up to him and he would lay his hand on their forehead and bless them. One particular Sunday one of our youngsters was catching a cold and she asked Deacon Bill to pray for her and bless her. He immediately obliged and laid his hand on her forehead and specifically asked Jesus to heal her. It has been over 16 years since this took place and I can still see the picture in my mind as if it happened yesterday and I am still in awe of what took place. Here was a child who trusts Jesus so much she asked for prayer for healing for a cold! And, here was an adult modeling to this child what practicing Biblical truth looks like!
Lately, James 5:14 keeps coming to mind.
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
There are some interesting things to point out about this verse. First, I believe we ought to take God at his word. If we are sick we should call the elders and ask them to pray over and anoint us with oil. I say we should take God at his word because I think a lot of times we might not look at God’s word as black and white meaning if God’s word says we ought to do something then we ought to do what He says in his word and not let his commands become convoluted with theology and doctrine.
The word pray in James 5:14 in its original context means to interact with the Lord by switching human wishes or ideas with God’s wishes as He communicates his divine persuasion, which is faith. The picture I see is God laying his heart over our heart and we begin to pray in tandem with the Holy Spirit for God’s will.
The word oil in James 5:14 in its original context is the word elaion (el’-ah-yon) and symbolizes the Holy Spirit and means the empowering of the Holy Spirit within each believer in Christ. I am struck by the similarity of elaion and one of the name’s of God-El Elyon (el-yone’), which means the Supreme, Most High God.
Putting this altogether in regards to James 5:14, when the elders pray and anoint someone for healing they are praying in faith by the power of the Holy Spirit to the Supreme, Most High God for his healing. I believe praying in faith for healing is a gift God gives to the elders of our faith families and a gift that may be under utilized in the modern day Church. While any believer can anoint and pray for the sick I believe there is something, by its very nature, special when the local Body of Christ operates in its gifts for the good of one or many of its own.
Precious One is any one of you sick? Like the sweet little one and Deacon Bill, call the elders of the church to pray over you and anoint you with oil in the name of the Lord.