Read James 5:13-20

James reminds us that our reaction, as soon as there is any trouble (big or small), should be to pray. Often we run to the 'phone to call a friend, our minister or even a prayer partner, but really we must first call our Heavenly Father who knows all about us. (Philippians 4:6) We should sing songs of praise whatever situation we are in. (Acts 16:23-25) I cannot overemphasize the power of praise in all circumstances because this silences the enemy. (Psalm 8:2) It also shows God that, despite what everything looks like, we trust Him completely - that this will work for our good. (Romans 8:28) When we praise God as a "sacrifice", we will see situations turned around. There is never a time more vital for us to praise God than when we are sick and yet, because we feel so bad, we find it so difficult. This is when we need the support of other believers to help us in standing by our faith and not relying on our feelings or symptoms.

The aim of healing is complete and total health in every area: body, mind and spirit. This comes about in our lives through salvation; because, as we have a new heart and spirit, we have a whole change. This is not a make-over. It is a complete death to our old nature and a new life from God. As our spirit responds to all that Jesus paid for with His death, so our body changes.

Why should we be healed?

It is God's desire for us. Consider these scriptures:

"I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you even as your soul is getting along well!" (3 John 2)

"Jesus is the same yesterday, today and for ever." (Hebrews 13:8)

"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him." (Acts 10:38)

"Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering... and by his wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:4-5 - New International Version)

Covenant blessing

Healing is part of the covenant: “that the blessings of Abraham might come on the Gentiles [non-Jewish people] through Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 3:14) What were those blessings? They are listed in Deuteronomy 28:1-14. A similar promise was made by God to His people as He led them away from Egypt: "I will take away sickness from among you." (Exodus 23:25-26) There is a mystery here, for believing people do get sick. (Job 2:7) At the same time, the Bible, including the New Testament, leads us to look expectantly to God for healing and wholeness.

How can we be healed?

Various Bible passages talk about specific actions that are relevant to healing:

  • Elders anointing believers with oil. (James 5:14-16; Mark 6:13)
  • Praying in (or with) faith. (James 5:14-16; Proverbs 15:8; 1 John 3:22; Matthew 21:22; Mark 9:29; Psalm 41:4)
  • Knowing and trusting the promises made in God's word. (Proverbs 4:22; Psalm 107:20; 1 Peter 2:24; Matthew 8:5-10; John 4:50)
  • Speaking God's word with faith. (Mark 11:22-23; Isaiah 55:11)
  • Physically using our hands to touch people when praying for healing. (Mark 16:18; Luke 4:40)
  • Taking communion with another believer daily, remembering Jesus' death on the cross. (Isaiah 53:5; Luke 4:18)
  • Fasting and praying. (Matthew 6:17-18)
  • Taking authority over the enemy. (Luke 10:19)

We can receive healing by using relevant scriptures. We do this be believing them and "confessing" them (speaking them aloud) three times a day at least, just like you would take any kind of medicine. When we do this, our faith will rise until we trust God's medicine even more than the word of a doctor. The following scriptures can be used in this way.

Scriptures for healing

Exodus 15:26 He said: "If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes; if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you."
  This is vital because, sometimes, God will heal us as we are walking with Him; at other times, He allows us to go to the doctor whose advice we need to take.
Exodus 23:25 "Worship the Lord your God and His blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you."
Deuteronomy 7:15 "The Lord will keep you free from every disease."
Deuteronomy 28:11 "The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity – in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground – in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you."
  Verses 1-14 of this chapter list a long series of blessings that will follow obedience to God's word.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord you God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him."
Joshua 21:45 "Not one of all the Lord's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled."
1 Kings 8:56 "Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave through His servant Moses."
Psalm 91:16 "With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation."
Psalm 103:3 "Forget not all His benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases."
Psalm 107:20 "He sent forth His word and healed them; He rescued them from the grave."
Proverbs 4:20-22 "My son pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart."
Isaiah 41:10 "Do not fear, I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 53:4-5 "Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him and afflicted."
Jeremiah 1:12 "The Lord said to me, ‘You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that My word is fulfilled.’"
Jeremiah 30:17 "'But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds', declares the Lord."
Matthew 8:17 "This was to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah. ‘He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.’"
Matthew 18:18-20 "I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I tell you, that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
Matthew 21:21 "Jesus replied: I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain: 'Go, throw yourself into the sea' and it will be done."
Mark 11:22-24 "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain: 'Go, throw yourself into the sea' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done. Therefore I tell you: whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."
Mark 16:18 "They will place their hands on the sick people and they will get well."
John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
Romans 4:17-20 "As it is written: 'I have made you a father of many nations.' He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed - the God who gives life to the dead and calls all things that are not as though they were."
Romans 8:11 "And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you."
2 Corinthians 10:5-6 "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
Galatians 3:13 "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us."
Ephesians 6:11 "Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."
  Verses 10-18 of this chapter describe for us the "full armour of God". It is worth reading this entire passage.
Philippians 2:13 "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose."
Hebrews 11:11 "By faith Abraham, even though he was past age, and Sarah herself was barren, was enabled to become a father because he considered Him faithful who had made the promise."
Hebrews 10:23 "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful."
Hebrews 10:35 "So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded."
Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and for ever."
James 5:14-16 "Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven."
1 Peter 2:24 "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed."
1 John 5:14,15 "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of Him."
Revelation 12:11 "They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony."

Healing is part of prayer

God always has plenty to say but we will only hear it if we are listening very carefully. "The sheep hear his voice and come to him and he calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. He walks ahead of them and they follow him, for they recognise his voice. They won't follow a stranger but will run from him, for they don't recognise his voice." (John 10:3-5)

Try praying for the sick today:

  1. Don't be afraid of making a mistake or you will miss out on the joy of acting on the voice of the Lord. Instead, trust the leading of the Holy Spirit and let him show you how to listen and what to do and how to pray God’s will for the sick. He will start by showing you little things. Then, as you obey His voice, He will show you greater things. The voice comes like an idea in your mind, called an "inner witness". It is really an idea in your spirit and it gets stronger until you act on it or choose to disregard it.
  2. The "inner witness" is always in line with the word of God.
  3. The Holy Spirit always lifts Jesus up.
  4. Listen through God's word, through preaching, teaching, prophecy and interpretation of tongues.

Obviously, salvation is the most important healing and that lasts for ever - for every person that believes - and sometimes that is all we see. The person may not recover or may even die, but God is the answer to all our questions. Sometimes we never know "why", but we can know that whatever happens will work for our good, because we are called according to His purposes. Many famous people today who have a "healing ministry" have prayed for people who died when they prayed; but they did not give up and guarded their faith. The prayer of faith will be successful and Jesus will heal today. When Jesus was on earth, He had the power both to heal the body and mind and also to forgive sins. Through faith, all believers in Christ can receive that same power.

Finally, in James’ own words: "Let us consider it pure joy... whenever we face trials of many kinds, because we know that the testing of our faith develops perseverance." (James 1:2-3) We have looked at many ways of dealing with various problems; let us keep on keeping on. Let us encourage one another while there is still time and declare our faith in Jesus to any who will listen!

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