‘Probing Deeper’ Meditations: 12. Leaders praying
“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.” (Jas 5:14,15)
We need to see this in the context of what we have been considering these recent days, not as some abstract verse with no context. Let’s be honest, this is another of those verses that says the modern church (us) is not what it could be. I mean, how many churches do you know where regularly the elders pray over anyone who is not well and they are healed? And let’s not go anywhere near the Pandemic! Yet we have just been reflecting on what may happen when we ‘remain in him’ when we ‘abide in Christ’ – fruitfulness, things enabled by God. Surely this is such an example?
I did warn you this might be uncomfortable. If you consider yourself a leader, great, but first, how many sick people have you prayed over (and there are quite a lot around!) and second, how many have you seen healed? Of course we need to create an environment of expectation and obedience first and need to start praying over any sick person who calls, and perhaps, just perhaps, we might start seeing the church being transformed – and then people queuing up outside for prayer – just like they did with Jesus.
Yes, let’s do what we have started to do again and again in this series, go back over the basics that we have stated and seek to take it deeper. Let’s have a little realism: expecting sick people to get well normally in life only comes when accompanied by a doctor and a course of medicine or other treatment. If we can touch on the mental realm in passing, we expect people with mental problems to go to a therapist for weeks if not months or (and I sometimes hear) years. To pray over someone and expect instant physical or mental changes is the realm of faith and it seems largely lacking from the church and one cannot help but wonder why? If you do a little digging in history – and that includes modern history – you will find numerous examples of God moving in healing crusades or through individual ministries and people were healed or delivered instantly.
No, what we need here is a change of perspective, a godly perspective that when God’s word says something, we believe it and act on it. One of the things Jesus did more than anything else apart from teaching was healing people, so why do we have such an aversion to stepping out in faith in prayer and giving him the space to continue that healing ministry? If we are leaders we need to start doing it and keep on doing it until real faith grows in us and we see its fruit. May it be so!