The significance of prayer and anointing by the elders
Part 1 of 2
Prayer is the commune with God and can move the hands that hold all things together.
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 KJV).
Those among you, the prayer of the elders, confession of sin, and the Lord for the body.
The Significance of prayer and the anointing by the elders is multifaceted. We have the sick calling to the elders, the prayer of the elders, the anointing of oil by the elders in the name of our Lord, the prayer of faith and the confession of our faults that we may be healed.
We see that the sick, which are “among you” must call on the elders of the church for healing. Those among you are referring to those in the church. A.B. Simpson would call this kind of healing “the Lord for the body”.
“He based his interpretation on the fact that Christ ministers to the believer as a whole person. This kind of healing is not always immediate. For the Christian, the correction of a physical condition sometimes requires the correction of a spiritual condition. The believer does not seek healing as an isolated experience. It comes within the context of his total walk with God”
Based on Pastor Simpson’s bases not all healings are immediate lines up with Mark 16:18 “they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18 KJV). They shall recover is not always immediately. And the correction of a physical condition sometimes requires the correction of a spiritual condition, which is the confession of sin. If the believer is walking in the spirit, they will be walking a lifestyle of repentance and striving for Christ-likeness. This is the total walk with God I believe Pastor Simpson is talking about. David was a man after God’s own heart not because he was sinless but he knew that obedience was better than sacrifices and repented before God to stay in right relationship with Him. We also see that those “among you” are to pray for one another that they may be healed. Then the elders will pray from them anointing them with oil in the name of Jesus.
The elders are those that have been appointed as overseers or here in James they are called presbyters. His qualification can be seen in 1 Timothy 3:1-13, for Bishops (Episkopo, overseer or a superintendent) and deacons.
These elders where to anoint with oil in the name of Jesus. In Mark 6:7 Jesus commanded the twelve to go and in verse 13, it says;
And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. (Mark 6:13 KJV)
There was an anointing of oil and they were healed. In that time oil was used for healing the sick and even wounds like in the story of the good Samaritan. But it can also represent the agent of the Holy Spirit and the virtue of the gifts of the Spirit, (i.e. the gift of healing or miracles) and the present of our Lord.
Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Psalms 45:7 KJV)
I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: (Psalms 89:20 KJV)
Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth. (Zechariah 4:11-14 KJV)
We can see in these verses the approval of God and the anointing of oil on those who love righteousness, are God’s servant and those who stand by the Lord. Also in Psalms 133 we can see God’s anointing as plentiful and His covering of approval.
Yet it is always in the name of the Lord that we ask God to do anything and healing is no exception. It is the expression of believing in His finished atoning work as Christ our Saviour, Christ our Sanctifier, Christ our Healer, and Christ our coming King. Peter after the healing of the lame man and the astonishment of the people who looked at him if he had done some great miracle straightens them out by giving God the glory by saying in Act 3:16, “And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all” (Acts 3:16 KJV). It is truly about Jesus and His will for us.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” Fervent is the Greek word, ενεργεω, energeo S.C. 1754 which means – to be active, be mighty in, to produce an effect. When God’s Holy Spirit gives in this case the elders of the church an unction to pray for the sick, He is giving them a fervent or an effectual mighty working prayer that will produce healing.
Here the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the effectual fervent prayer avails much, healing in the sick.
The sick, from the Greek word S.C. 770 – ασθενεω, astheneo – to be feeble (in any sense): – diseased, impotent, sick, weak. This can be in any sense physical, spiritual or a feeble soul, (Luke 4:40; John 4:46-47; Acts 9:36-41 and Phil 2:26).
So I believe that God can heal us in body, soul and spirit, when those among the church call on the elders to pray for the sick, through the anointing of oil in the name of our Lord and the fervent prayer of the righteous man will avail much in those who are walking in the will of God.