James 5:14-15a – Prayers of Faith

James 5:14-15a

14 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. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well;

The second verse is split in half because it is a good place to break.  It is included in the next section.  Like many other things in the book of James, this is easy to take out of context.  This is not a guarantee to cure all sickness if someone really just believes hard enough.  To suggest otherwise is insulting to everyone who has ever lost a loved one to sickness.

We should pray for the sick.  God absolutely can heal and cure things that our doctors have no ability to fix.  Doctors encounter healings all of the time that defy medical explanation.  God still works miracles in answer to prayer.

Sometimes the answer to our prayers is no.  It is not that the prayer was not made in faith.  It is not that God has failed.  Sometimes the answer is just no.  We do not live forever.  Ever since sin entered the world, death came with it.  This is easy accept when an 88 year old dies from heart trouble despite many people praying for them.  It’s much more difficult when a person is 60 and should have many more good years left.  And it is baffling at times when children or people in their 20’s and 30’s are struck down by disease.

What James offers in these verses is not a guarantee of healing if a person just has enough faith.  What it is is an invitation that God can heal and we can call upon Him in times of need.  A prayer of faith needs to be offered with “Your will be done.”  Faith is not just believing hard enough that God can do something.  Faith is accepting that God’s way is better than our way, even if we earnestly desire something and know that God can deliver that desire.

The next set of verses give us some explanation as to why not all prayers offered in faith end in physical healing.

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