James 5:13–20 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. 16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
These verses are often misunderstood:
1. Some think this means God will always heal believers.
2. Others have said this is spiritual healing, not physical healing.
3. The truth is in the middle.
I. The truth about Prayer.
A. This passage is really about Prayer.
1. “Pray(er)” is mentioned in every verse, 13–18.
2. Prayer is the theme.
B. Who should pray?
1. The one suffering v. 13
2. The church leaders (elders) v. 14
3. Other godly people v. 16
C. Why should you pray?
1. Because someone is suffering
2. Because someone is growing
“You should pray. Are any of you happy [growing in their faith]? You should sing praises [pray].
3. Because the need is great
D. How should you pray?
1. First, pray in private.
2. Call on others to pray with you,
3. Pray “in faith” believing God can and will answer.
4. Confess sins
II. The truth about suffering and sickness:
A. Suffering in v. 13 and sickness in v. 14 are used in different ways.
1. v. 13—Describes spiritual suffering only.
2. v. 14—Describes physical suffering only.
B. Here they describe both (v. 15–16).
1. Physical suffering over a spiritual matter
2. Often times the physical and spiritual are connected.
C. Physical sickness can be caused by . . .
2. Specific sin- We suffer because of our specific sin.
3. Generic sin- We can also suffer becomes we live in a fallen world.
III. The truth about healing:
A. Healing is Spiritual.
1. God cares for your spiritual healing.
2. God’s focus is always spiritual.
B. Healing can be physical.
1. God can heal people.
2. God does heal people.
C. How should we pray for healing?
1. Pray privately for yourself.
2. Call on the elders to pray for you.
3. Anoint with oil:
a. Oil was medicine.
b. Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
D. Why healing does not always take place:
1. Lack of faith
2. Unrepentant sin
3. Because we do not ask (James 4:2)
4. It is not God’s timing.
App 1. God can and does heal.
2. Praying for healing is good. However, we should pray more for sinners to go to heaven than we do for saints to stay out.
3. Do not base your faith on whether or not God heals you.