A recent article in the Wall Street Journal covered the number of Christians who refuse to get their health treated by doctors. They believe if they have enough faith, God will heal them. Having had medical problems of my own, I find it hard to believe that a person would not seek medical health treatment when they are having problems.

James 5:14 and 15 – “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”

Having been a church Elder for a number of years, I have had the opportunity to pray for Christians with health problems and anoint them with oil and pray that they would be healed. With that prayer I would pray for their doctors and nurses that God would provide the necessary medical treatment needed to recover. Never would I recommend they needed only to have enough faith that God was required to supernaturally heal them. Yet, I did encourage them to continually pray that God would intervene.
Acts 5:14–16 – “Yet more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord—crowds of both men and women. As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed.” NLT

It does not say some were healed but all. Scripture says that the sick and those possessed by evil spirits from the cities surrounding Jerusalem were brought into the streets to be healed. What the apostles were doing was exactly the same thing that Jesus had been doing. God was giving a sign to all who would believe that Christ was the Son of God. His followers were there to carry on with His ministry and had been given many of the same supernatural powers.

The apostolic gift of healing, meaning everyone was healed that they touched without exception, is no longer available in the church today. We know of no one who has the gift of healing as described in Acts. We know some have a gift of healing but their gift is limited. Otherwise, they could go into every hospital world-wide and heal the sick and demon-possessed.

Many believe that God has given the ministry of healing to church elders. The elders are told to anoint with oil. Oil in Scripture was often symbolic or sacramental. Kings were anointed with oil as were prophets & judges. Jesus also was anointed with oil. (Luke 7:46) Oil has a purpose and may be more than symbolic. Oil in the Old Testament was also symbolic with the Holy Spirit.

Does everyone who is prayed for get healed? Not always, but often times they are healed in different ways. I have been told by some that the Holy Spirit took away all fear when they went into surgery. They were healed through surgery as most are and we shouldn’t believe prayer always takes the place of surgeries and doctors. Others have said God gave them courage to battle through some tough times and they came out healed. Others have had life changing, miraculous healing experiences. Some were taken to heaven where there will no longer be any tears or pain. Once we have done what Scripture tells us to do, we must expect God to answer prayer and we are to accept His will; whatever it may be.

Medical statistics prove that those who are committed believers in Christ and believe that prayers heal and have Christians praying for them have a greater chance of being healed and recovering faster. Statistics also show that those who do not believe in prayer, on average, have poorer results.
Don’t let pride stop you from asking to be anointed with oil and prayed to be healed. The sick person or family it seems is obligated to make the effort. (“Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed.”) Supernatural healing is a possibility. However, God has provided many in the health industry with tremendous knowledge on how people are healed and how they should be treated.

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