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The Healing Power of Prayer
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Text: James 5:13-16

I. Is Any One of You in Trouble?
  A. Story of man who fell off a cliff and broke both arms. His friends lowered a rope to him and began to pull him up. Three fourts of the way up they asked how he was hanging on, to which he answered. "With my teeth!"
  B. We all have days when we are hanging on by our teeth.
  C. When the tough times hit it is easy to throw a pity party or to sink into deep depression, when what we really need to do is to pray.
II. Is Anyone Happy?
  A. Fortunately there are days when you can run and skip and dance and sing at the top of your lungs because life is so good.
  B. When you are happy – sing songs of praise to God.
    1. Singing songs of praise to God is prayer at its deepest level.
    2. Singing songs of praise returns to glory back to Him.
III. Is Anyone Sick?
  A. Here James plunges into the most difficult thing of all.
  B. The word “sick” is used twice in this text.  In the Greek two different words are used.
    1. The first refers to physical sickness.
    2. The second refers to a total sense of fatigue.  It takes in the whole spectrum of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational distress.
  C. James is not talking about every sniffle and sneeze – He’s talking about serious illness
    1. Where you are too sick to go to the elders – they have to come to you.
    2. Where the level of disease is resistant to natural remedies and appropriate medical care.
    3. Where the level of frailty cripples your ability to serve.
IV. Call the Elders
  A. James tells us to call the elders
    1. Not to see a charismatic faith healer.
    2. Not to rub snake oil all over your skin.
    3. Not to put your hands on the TV screen and go into a trance.
    4. Not to send money to a TV evangelist for a holy hankie.
    5. Not to fly off to a sacred shrine and bathe in the water there.
  B.
The sick individual needs to take the initiative to call the elders.
  C. Why the elders?
    1. They are representatives of the church.
    2. They know how to get you in touch with God.
    3. The ministry of healing is part of their job description
  D. The elders are to come as a group, because God operates in community.
    1. Medical science recognied this.
    2. Jesus recognied this - Matthew 18:19, 20.
V. Preparation for Prayer and Anointing
  A. The promise found in vv. 15, 16 implies that the forgiveness of sin and the restoration of fractured relationships is always preceded by deep soul searching and confession.
  B. Story of surgeon in the 1920s who experimented with local anesthesia and performed an appendectomy on himself.
  C. We need to open ourselves up, to do self-surgery and ask the hard questions.
    1. Why am I sick?  How have I contributed to my loss of health?
    2. How are things between myself and God?
    3. How are things in my relationships with others?
VI. The Service of Prayer and Anointing
  A. This is a time of intimate worship.
  B. This is a time to sing the songs of Zion, because as we sing we invite the participation of holy angels who in turn usher in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
  C. This is a time to stir our faith with the reading of Bible promises related to health and healing.
  D. This is a time of intimate fellowship – let there be words of fellowship and the affirmation of faith both on the part of those participating in the service and the person who is sick.
  E. This is a time of intimate intercessory prayer. Pray with solemnity, faith, submissive hearts, oil, and in the name of Jesus.
VII. The Lord Will Raise Him Up
  A. God is just as willing to heal today as in the days when Jesus walked this earth. MH 226
    1. The healing may not be as dramatic as those performed by Jesus during His earthly ministry because there are a lot of charlatans out there. 2SM 4
    2. Through the agencies of natural remedies, appropriate medical care, faith-filled prayer and divine intervention God is healing today.
  B. Sometimes the healing is immediate.
  C. Sometimes the healing is gradual.
  D. Sometimes the healing embraces the assurance that God will give us grace to endure. Story of Joni Eareckson Tada.
  E. Ultimately full healing will take place when Jesus comes
VIII. Appeal
  A. Tony Compolo story of the man with cancer. Tony prayed for the man and a wonderful peace came over him. He and his family shared wonderful fellowship, and then he died. He wasn’t cured, but he was healed.
  B. Healing prayer is all about coming into a relationship with the Savior.
  C. When you are sick and natural remedies/appropriate medical care has failed—When your broken health and relationships are so overwhelming that it is immobilizing your ability to serve—call the elders to come pray for you and anoint you.

Submitted by Dan Martella. Better Sermons © 2005-2007. Click here for usage guidelines.



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