The Prayer of Faith
“The Prayer of Faith”
June 28, 1998
13 Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.
14 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.
15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years.
18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
The subject of healing is one of the more controversial issues in Christianity today
Theologians: argue over whether or not healing is for today
Christians: some seem to talk about it all the time; others want to avoid it
My own journey:
Individuals whose faith has been destroyed because someone abused the doctrine
Yet, when I look at scripture: central to the ministry of Jesus
Convinced, biblically and experientially, it is still for today
Though not a complete foundation for a theology on healing, James is a helpful guide
Not just physical (see trouble in v. 13)
Connection With Sin
Is sickness/trouble result of sin
In one sense, all sickness is a consequence of sin (the fall)
Jesus came to reverse the consequences of sin - that’s why forgiveness and reconciliation are so central
But James is not talking here in the general sense; he is talking about personal sin
Note: James doesn’t say that sickness is always due to sin (John 9:2-3 agrees)
Important: we must be careful not to jump to the conclusion that sickness is punishment
Nevertheless: we should ignore the possibility that sin is the cause of the sickness
Importance of confession
Confess to God (Why?)
But notice also the corporate element
My stomach problems
Recent discoveries of medicine
They may call it psychosomatic, but maybe it is a spiritual problem
Part of the power of sin is its secrecy
Simplicity of James’ Command: Pray with faith, anoint with oil
James doesn’t say: shout, scream, yell at demons, fall on the ground, make a scene
God is not hard of hearing; and he doesn’t need our commotion to get His attention
Some contemporary healing services bear a greater resemblance to pagan healing rites
PRAYER w/ FAITH is what impacts God
God’s Response: YES
But, why aren’t all healed?
Answers in alternative way
1. Instantaneously (Parks Jordan)
2. Gradually (Bruce Larson)
4. Grace (Paul, Joni)
5. Death (Ultimately, all of us)
Faith is the Key
Faith in God not “faith in faith”
Bold faith is not the same as a demanding spirit
We can’t assume we know how or when God will act
Denial not necessary