By: Norm Rasmussen
Director, Precious Testimonies Evangelistic Ministries
What is the “prayer of faith” spoken of in James 5:14-15? It is CRUCIAL (If local church elders want to see positive results when praying for the sick) to understand what the prayer of faith is, and what it is not. IT'S SO IMPORTANT TO KNOW!
James 5:14-15 needs to be divided primarily into TWO separate categories. The FIRST category I'm going to name: PHYSICAL healing. The SECOND category I'm going to call EMOTIONAL healing. I'm not placing one category higher than the other. BOTH are critically important.
first category - PHYSICAL healing:
James 5:14-15 reads in the NIV translation:
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. And the prayer offered in faith will make
the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they
will be forgiven.
In the King James (KJV) translation, it reads: And the prayer of faith will save the sick … which I believe is not the best translation of this word in this particular case (saved v's healed). Otherwise, why would a healthy person request prayer from local church elders if they weren't "sick." The usage of the word "save" only confuses people in my opinion.
Does God want Christians confused about HOW “the prayer of faith” is to
correctly function? How it’s to effectively be executed? NO.
Does Satan want Christians to
be confused about how “the prayer of faith” is to correctly function? How it’s to effectively be executed?
YES. Why should
Satan want Christians to be healed of anything?
Where in God’s Word did He give Christians CRYSTAL CLEAR instructions in how “the prayer of faith” is to be prayed to get fruitful God-glorify results? This is a very CRUCIAL question being addressed here, so don’t breeze over this lightly, or brush it off as non-essential.
Jesus Himself gave local church elders CRYSTAL CLEAR instructions in HOW to pray “the prayer of faith” in Mark 11:23-24 KJV:
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Most likely, most reading this have never been used of the Lord to cast one or more demons out of a person. I have, and I speak from personal experience. You COMMAND the demon to come out of the person. You don’t ask the Lord to get the demon out of the person (nor ask God's will in the matter), because the demon will laugh at you, and the person will not get delivered 99.999% of the time.
If the demon does not come out the first time you COMMAND the demon to
come out … you KEEP ON commanding the demon to come out in Jesus’ name until
the demon comes out. Persistence in your COMMANDING is not optional if you
want positive results. (Having prayer coverage from others -- [with
fasting even better yet!] -- goes a long
way when being engaged in demonic deliverance by the way. Lack of
prayer coverage can make it more difficult, in other words).
God the Father has given born again Christians in Christ Jesus His full AUTHORITY over demons. Christ's authority given to us is exercised by our spoken word. Christians are to use that authority when the Holy Spirit moves them to use it. Jesus is clearly telling us to use that authority when the elders pray for the physically afflicted - the sick - the diseased. They are to COMMAND the cancer (for instance) to die - come out and not come back - in Jesus’ name. Once that is done, they are to keep believing God is at work in that person until the healing manifests. That is the elder's responsibility.
But here is where wisdom (perhaps caution might be a better choice of words) always needs to be applied. If the sick person is aged and is tired of living on this planet, that person may desire deep down inside to go home to be with the Lord. In such cases, don't be surprised if God honors their deepest heart's desire - no matter how much others pray and believe for a reversal of the sickness and/or disease in the person - and lets the sickness and/or disease be the catalyst to usher them into eternal glory in heaven. That's what makes physical healing such a "delicate" issue, I realize.
Moving on ...
[To gain a more thorough understanding of the authority of God given to Christians, you can go to this link: http://www.greatbiblestudy.com/spiritual_authority.php]
the account of the fig tree withering and dying, the Holy Spirit recorded
that occasion for you and I to grasp a very important
truth. In fact, I believe Jesus
the fig tree to essentially die
(in other words He cursed it) to teach us that there may be SEVERAL different usages for
using God's authority He's given us in Christ to influence the outcome of
situations we are faced with. Think about it. What possible harm
could come to us by speaking to all kinds of various issues we run up
against - commanding them to die? I think we should not be so quick to underestimate what God
might do on our behalf if we'll only COMMAND the "mountain" to get out of
our way. Let's curse the sickness or disease. Let's command sickness or disease to die in
the person we are praying for. Let's follow the pattern Jesus showed
us regarding the fig tree.
Now - Once the oil (that
represents and honors the Holy Spirit) has been applied to the sick
person, and once the sickness/disease has been commanded to die, then the elders and the sick person is to immediately
thank God for taking over and doing the rest. After that, God may lead
the sick/afflicted person to work with medical professionals, or perhaps not
- depending on what options are available to them. The sick person who
has been prayed for needs to seek God in this matter. It's only wisdom
on their part.
Doubt is not to be given any place. Jesus clearly tells us so in the Mark 11:23 “prayer of faith”. Guard your thoughts! Give place to Satan's darts of doubt and he can stop your healing. (Anyone who believes that their sickness and/or disease is a "demonic thorn in the flesh given to them by God to keep them humble" might just as well forgo asking for prayer from the elders in my firm opinion. It only gives place to doubt, albeit disguised). Furthermore, if a person isn't 100% convinced God wants to heal them of their sickness and/or disease ... they might just as well go directly to a medical doctor and take their chances and bypass asking elders to pray "the prayer of faith" over them, because their doubt more than likely will cancel out the prayer of faith offered on their behalf.
Wisdom needs to be intimately entertained regarding the sick person. The sick person needs to discern what the Holy Spirit wants him/her to do after the “prayer of faith” has been prayed. The Holy Spirit may lead that person to alter his/her diet. God often will not heal a person just because a “prayer of faith” has been prayed if that person is seriously putting harmful food and/or drink into his/her body.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit will want that sick person to become more wisely engaged in better exercise.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit will use a doctor to assist in the healing process. Christians who get locked into believing they don’t need a doctor to assist in the healing can rob themselves of the healing God wants to give them.
However – the sick person needs to hear clearly from the Holy Spirit about accepting all the advice the doctor/s give them. Sometimes God chooses to heal WITHOUT the assistance of a doctor. The sick person needs to really seek the Lord in prayer (and I recommend fasting as well if the sick person can) in seeking the Lord’s direction as to what they are to do after the elders have prayed “the prayer of faith” over them.
An excellent way for the sick person to stay free from the poison of DOUBT in their journey back to healing is to frequently THANK GOD that the healing is going to manifest. This demonstrates faith on their part and acts as a HUGE BARRIER for demons to sink their “doubt darts” in the sick person. "Believe you received" is subject to interpretation: WISE interpretation. Once the healing is fully manifest, I personally have received. Until the healing has fully manifest ... thanking God continually that the healing is coming is my understanding of HOW to ultimately receive.
the one who has been prayed for and is trusting God for a healing: Staying
in the continual mindset of praise and thanksgiving is crucial ...
especially when doubt and fear is trying to gain a foothold. THANKING
and PRAISING God that the sickness - decease - physical and or mental
affliction - is in the death process is so vitally CRITICAL in keeping doubt
and fear at bay.
Regarding prayer overall: There is a time to ask God in prayer about matters. Then there is a time to COMMAND then trust and keep trusting. James 5:14-15 linked with Mark 11:23 clearly says to COMMAND then keep trusting.
Once the sick person has been
prayed for, there is no need for the sick person to keep asking the
elders to anoint with oil and keep repeating "the prayer of faith" on their
behalf (unless the Holy Spirit should direct differently).
Sin in the life of the sick person (Unforgiveness being a critical one that can go back many years) needs to be addressed if that is an issue. James 5:16 tells the sick person to be willing to confess any sin/s that need to be confessed to the elders. Otherwise – the sick person may not receive their healing.
When it comes to physical healing and James 5:14-15, Satan has successfully stripped God’s power to heal sick Christians by blinding many local church elders as to how to properly pray “the prayer of faith.” Let’s do a reversal to the glory of God, what say?
Now then, allow me to address the second category - EMOTIONAL healing:
Anytime someone is struggling emotionally, and the elders are available and willing, I believe the "emotionally sick" person should be able to receive prayer if they desire it ... especially after a church service, or in an informal setting if that works better. This matter truly transcends just elders praying for the person as well. God gives us clear instruction to "pray for one another, that you can receive healing" - thus God fully desires that every Christian be willing to pray either individually and/or corporately with others for someone going through emotional challenges. Modified degrees of "the prayer of faith" are called for in these situations. The wisdom of the Holy Spirit needs to be applied in each situation. If a person is under demonic oppression, then it can be very appropriate to SPEAK to demons to depart from this individual. Emotional challenges such as depression, fear, hopelessness, tormenting dreams, hearing voices, etc., -- these are often caused by strong demonic oppression. When discerned by one or more people praying for someone else who is being afflicted, they need to be quick to take authority of these demonic assignments against the person -- command them out loud to loosen their hold on the person, and leave. If no demonic oppression is discerned, then a comforting prayer is most likely called for.
In each and every situation, "elders" are to be assumed to be mature in Christ - more skilled in hearing from the Holy Spirit. That's WHY God directs us to "elders" in James 5:14-16.
Whether seeking Physical healing or Emotional healing or BOTH ... we need to be wise in WHO we ask to pray for us. As much as possible, we need to find the most mature Christians we can find to pray for us, who fully understand the importance of walking in the Spirit daily.
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