I've followed the practice of James 5 and I’ve seen it practiced by others for 40 years, and it is a great blessing. In fact, I don’t know if I can recall a case in which God didn’t heal in response to the anointing of oil and the prayer of faith for the sick in according with these instructions (though I don’t believe that He is obligated to do so or that He always does heal in such cases). I’m just talking about my own experience with this matter.
I don't understand why so many seem to ignore the passage. Perhaps because the charismatics have so abused it.
1. Miscellaneous introductory points
a. The Bible nowhere condemns doctors and medicine, but it does condemn trusting in man rather than God (2 Chron. 16:12)
b. This passage shows that the apostolic gift of healing would pass away. Here the elders of the church are called rather than someone with the gift of healing. The elders do not lay hands on the person or rebuke the sickness or cast out devils, but they simply anoint him with oil and pray for him. The gift of healing was associated with the apostolic age, and God gave the apostles sign gifts to authenticate their calling (2 Cor. 12:12). See Mark 3:14-15; Acts 2:43; 4:33; 5:12, 15; 19:12. The apostles laid the foundation for the church (Eph. 2:20), and when they died their sign gifts ceased. If the sign miracles were operative throughout the church age, they could not have been effective as apostolic sign gifts.
Even in the early churches, all Christians could not do the sign miracles of the apostles. The only exceptions were a few men upon whom the apostles had laid hands. There was no general miracle-working experience among the first churches. If there had been, Paul could not have pointed to his miracle-working ability as a special sign. His would have been just another miracle-working Christian ministry if all could have performed such things; but all could not. If all could have performed miracles as a matter of course, the Christians would not have called for Peter to come and raise Dorcas from the dead (Acts 9:36-42). Peter’s miracle that day was the “sign of an apostle.”
c. James begins by saying that the afflicted should pray and the merry should sing psalms (Jam. 5:13). We see that God’s people are not required to pretend to be something they are not or to try to “work up” any certain condition. When I attended Pentecostal meetings as a young Christian, I felt great pressure to act out something I did not feel. There was pressure to be exuberant in praise and to exhibit various “gifts” such as tongues, but James does not support that type of thing. If I am afflicted, I am not instructed to be merry, and if I am merry, I am not instructed to be afflicted. If I am afflicted, I need to pray and seek God’s face for wisdom and strength. If I am merry, I need to sing and glorify the Lord. This does not mean that the merry should not pray or the afflicted should not sing, but James is showing what should be emphasized in each particular situation.
Continue reading this article……
Yet this man saw revival twice in his pastorate, and then was a key figure in one of the greatest revivals in the history of the United States. In many ways he was to the U. S. what Praying Hyde was to India. He is known almost exclusively for his powerful prayer ministry.
The great evangelist, Charles Finney, left his itinerant ministry for the pastorate within three or four months after this man’s death. Finney never counted on his theology, messages, preaching style, logic, or methods to save souls. He looked rather to mighty prayer and the resulting powerful work of the Holy Spirit to sweep in with great conviction on his audience, that his conversions might be thorough. This may well explain why 80 per cent of those converted in his meetings stood the test of time. Years later Moody followed a similar pattern but without such a prayer warrior. He saw perhaps 50 per cent of his converts last. Today, a well-known evangelist (well-financed and highly organized) recently stated that he would be delighted if 20 per cent of his converts were genuinely converted. In this day of apostasy with many decisions but few true conversions, with many programs but little prayer, with much organizing but little agonizing, we would be wise to learn lessons from the past. One of our godly forefathers whose life can teach us such is Daniel Nash.
Continue reading this article……
January 27, 2009 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org) -
The following is from the new Advanced Bible Studies Series on the Epistle of James.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit” (James 5:16-18).
James says that effectual prayer availeth much. It changes things in this wicked world. We don’t have to understand everything about prayer to have a fruitful prayer life. It is enough that God has taught us to pray. Christ modeled prayer in His earthly life, and if the Son of God needed to pray, how much more do we! Effectual prayer changes things, and I need to ask myself what things are being changed through my prayers?
1. Effectual prayer is fervent and earnest (Jam. 5:16-17).
The Greek word translated “effectual” (energeo) in verse 16 is elsewhere translated “be mighty in” (Gal. 2:8). The words “prayed earnestly” in verse 17 is translated from proseuchomai (Strong 4336) prosyookhay (Strong 4335), which could literally be translated “and he prayed prayed,” thus emphasizing the earnestness of the prayer. Effectual prayer is not rote prayer; it is not repeating a prayer out of habit; it is not reading a prayer as a mere mental exercise. Effectual prayer is earnest, enthusiastic, zealous, heart-felt.