Summary: A sermon for a healing/anointing service.

James 5:13-16

“Our Very Oxygen”

By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pator of East Ridge UMC, Chattanooga, TN

Prayer is the very oxygen through which our souls breathe.

I remember driving on a snowy road as a teenager, and going a bit too fast.

A buddy of mine and I were heading to another friend’s house.

Suddenly, I hit an icy patch going around a curb and lost control of the car.

If this has ever happened to you; you know what I mean when I say it is a very odd and scary second or two.

For as the car is careening out of control, you are not yet hurt in any way…

…the heater is still blasting, the radio is still playing one of your favorite songs…

…your bottom is still safely secure in your seat…


…You know SOMETHING is going to happen to change all that, and it is going to happen fast!!!

I would imagine, that it is in these kinds of situations, that the most prayers are raised!

Well, we slid from one side of the road to the other…

…and then whoomf!!!!

We landed in the ditch.

But we weren’t hurt.

The first thing out of my friend’s mouth was, “Praise the Lord!”


…I’d been praying, but I had no idea that my friend had been praying as well.

James, the brother of Jesus, instructs us, “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.

Is anyone happy?

Let him sing songs of praise.”

Prayer is to be a continual exercise; it should be as habitual as breathing in and out.

Without it, our souls will suffocate!

Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of the World, was in constant communication with God the Father.

In John Chapter 10 Jesus proclaims, “I and the Father are one,” and in the same passage He says, “the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

In Chapter 5 Jesus tells His listeners, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

Again, Jesus was in constant communication with God the Father, and because of Christ’s perfect obedience we too—are able to have unencumbered access to God the Father!!!

Paul proclaims in 1 Timothy Chapter 2: “there is one God and one mediator between God and [humankind], the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all…”

It is only through constant prayer that we are able to even come close to walking hand in hand with Jesus.

In Galatians Chapter 5 Paul tells us, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Again, this is only possible through constant communication.

And the fruit of keeping in step with the Spirit of God is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

These are the attributes of God which are available to us through the power of the Holy Spirit.

How amazing is the Christian journey!!!

As the famous hymn proclaims,

“What a friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and griefs to bear.

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer.

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,

Oh what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry,

Everything to God in prayer.”

But notice, that these things are spiritual attributes; not necessarily physical.

All of us become sick, do we not?

All of us deal with some kind of physical ailment—either throughout our lives, during a time in our life, or near the end of our lives.

We will all die.

At the same time, Scripture strongly affirms healing.

Jesus healed many, as did the apostles.

And we are called, as in James Chapter 5, to pray for the sick and anoint the sick with oil.

This is something we will be doing this evening.

The root word for healing in New Testament Greek is sozo, it’s the same word for salvation and wholeness!!!

Healing is God’s work of offering persons balance, harmony, the wholeness of body, mind and spirit, and relationships through confession, forgiveness and reconciliation.

But we must remember that healing is not magic!

Many of us, at some time or another will ask, “Why does God not answer all prayer?”

As we mature in our faith and experience, I believe we will find that God does indeed answer all prayer…

…but not necessarily in the way we would want!

I remember, at about the age of 5, I prayed that God would somehow, magically, cause a brand new red corvette to replace the old and ugly blue Plymouth Valiant which sat in our driveway.

I couldn’t wait, as I ran from my room, to get to the bottom of the stairs and look out the window.

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