James 5:13-14 NKJV
The ancient practice of anointing with oil is still used today in various faith traditions. It’s a great practice, it is scriptural, and olive oil (which is what would have been used in Biblical times) has soothing properties.
In James 5:13-14 he wrote, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? 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.”
James was basically telling his Jewish Christian friends whenever they have a problem with something…anything, they just need to turn to God.
I’ve written before about a prayer ministry I was part of beginning in 2005. It was a great ministry and I loved the years I spent praying for people. It was a healing prayer service so people could come to be prayed for. It didn’t matter what they needed prayer for because anytime we were concerned about anything it needs some kind of healing.
At the service, we prayed for anything and everything. We prayed for, women who wanted to conceive, we prayed for cancer patients, we prayed for men and women seeking God’s help in finding a life-mate, we anointed people with oil if they asked for it, we served communion, we even prayed for people’s pets (even though they didn’t bring their pet). Basically we prayed for anything and everything people wanted or needed from God.
I loved that ministry!
Eventually the Director moved to the West Coast and I was asked to be their new Director. It turned out that God knew exactly what He was doing.
After I accepted the position God called me to go to Seminary. Because my major in Seminary was Ministry Leadership, I needed to head up a ministry. Even before I knew I would need to have a leadership position, God had it all covered.
About the same time I joined the healing prayer service ministry, I also joined the hospital visitation team. My church at the time was a very large church and there were many many people in the hospital on any given day. I would go to the hospitals and pray for those who notified the church they were admitted.
God blessed me with those two ministries more than I ever dreamed possible!
I loved praying for the elderly, those who were struggling with chemotherapy, people who were having or had just had surgery, people who were suffering to find out why they were suffering, and I also spent a lot of time at the children’s hospital.
Most of the time I noticed when praying for a child, they didn’t question the existence or the ability of God to heal them.
Most of the time, children had a great attitude about being in hospital.
Most of the time, even when they were dying, they looked to God with eager anticipation. I discovered that when a child had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and the treatment wasn’t working, they were not afraid to go see God.
Even without being told by their parents to ‘look to God’, they knew who was holding onto them. They were not fearful of going to heaven.
They knew it was a wonderful place where they would be able to run and play with Jesus.
During that time period the movie, The Shack came out. I am not the kind of person who can watch horror movies or movies that have bad things happen. I tend to have nightmares after I watch those kinds of movies, so I steer clear of them. The Shack was a different matter. Even though a very bad thing happened, there is a scene where the child who was abducted was in heaven playing with Jesus. THAT is the memory my brain holds onto even today.
Of all the sick and even dying children I prayed for when I was part of that ministry, I finally understood why the children were not afraid. They knew who they were going to see. They wanted to go play with Jesus.
Their outlook changed my heart forever. They taught me that when we suffer, even unto death, we will get to go play with Jesus.
I recently lost a friend I met when I went to that church. I think she was the kindest woman I’ve ever met (well along with my Grandma Ruby). We had prayed for her and she battled cancer for years. A while before she died, I ran into her at a store and I prayed for her. I moved away when I retired and I didn’t see her again. But I know without any doubt that I will see her again. I know she’s in heaven playing with Jesus.
Life is hard at times.
Sometimes we don’t want to let go of those we love.
I am reminded we are not really letting go…we are only saying “I’ll see you later.”
After a time, we will play with Jesus.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Anoint with Oil
Anointing with oil: separate a few drops of oil in a container. Pray for the oil and if you choose, you can ask others to pray for the oil you will use. Spend time sitting with God and either have someone place a drop of the oil on your forehead or you can place a drop on your hand. Give your healing request to God. (You can also add a drop of essential oil to the olive oil).
In God, Deborah