James 5:14-18 (NLT): “Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well.
And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.”
Selwyn makes a number of interesting statements in today’s study. One is that ‘confession of sin is needed, too, so that the spirit is cleansed and made whole’. Maybe, God uses illness to bring some people to the point of confession, perhaps their spiritual ‘illness’ is severly limiting their Christian ministry – what do you think, is this possible?
Another comment, is this one about the use of oil. He says: “Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38[NLT] – ‘And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.’)”. Therefore, as a symbol, it is not really required – what is required, is a belief in the power of the Holy Spirit. Do you agree?
Finally, in his conclusion, he writes: “When the elders (those leaders of a church who are spiritually mature in their faith – unfortunately – this is not always the case) pray and anoint a sick person with oil, they draw together the faith of the whole church in believing intercession for the person who is sick. God’s promise is that such faith is rewarded. And, if you think that only the prayers of spiritual giants are effective, James reminds us that Elijah was just an ordinary person like you and me. A spiritual giant is anybody – plus God.”
The main thought I think we can carry in our hearts is that the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power. All those, who follow Jesus, have the power of the Holy Spirit within them: are you living your life, with His power?