Wednesday, January 5: James 5:14-16
Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. A prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about, can accomplish much.
Does God still answer prayers for healing?
This is one of the harder questions on prayer, and it’s one many wrestle with because it hits home personally. This question typically comes up when we have a specific person or situation in mind; we tend to read passages like this through the lens of our circumstances. Our response is, “Okay, God: now please heal this person! You say the ‘prayer of faith will restore the one who is sick;’ I’m praying right now!” In moments where we don’t see Him healing, we may use this Scripture to justify a demand to God: “Why haven’t You healed this? Why aren’t You at work?”
Think back on the passage from yesterday. Isaiah 55:8-9 remind us that we can’t see everything from God’s perspective. When it comes to praying for healing, we often want a guarantee from God that He will heal us or the people we love, but our concept of healing is often limited to this side of heaven. Yet, we can be confident that God will ultimately heal, whether now or in the life to come.
Promises in Scripture like this one in James 5 mean much more considering eternity. The hope of the gospel goes beyond the grave. When we follow Jesus, we have been healed from the cancer of sin. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 puts it this way: “‘O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Our hurt is real. Earthly ailments are painful. Physical deficiencies remind us of our brokenness and the spiritual deficiency of sin within us. Yet God promises that He provides healing over both—at times in this life, but always in the life to come with Him.
- What experiences have you had with praying for healing? How have these experiences affected your faith?
- How does the assurance of complete healing in Christ bring you hope?
- Pray and thank God for the complete healing that comes through Him.