Jesus Did It!

As James 5:14-16 instructs  ...

By: Norm Rasmussen

Healthcare costs are soaring in the United States.  In poor countries around the world, quality health care can be difficult to find.  What are God's people to do about this?  God gave us a solution when the Bible was written.   It is given in the Book of James, Chapter 5, verses 14 through 16.  It's simply called:  Answered prayer. 

Does God want us to pray prayers He has no intentions of answering?  Of course He doesn’t.  Jesus never prayed one prayer that He expected the Father not to answer.  Why would He want us doing anything differently?

However, experience teaches us that every prayer we pray doesn’t always get answered the way we hope or expect it to get answered, and that is one of the main reasons for this writing.  Praying wisely is something we all want to do better at.  By the grace of God, I’m hoping He will use this writing to give you some pointers on how to have a more “successful” prayer life - especially if you are in great pain and need a healing, or you have a loved one who does.  

“Heavenly Father … I ask that you anoint me with wisdom to write words that will help Your people in their prayer lives.  I trust You to … that You might be glorified.”

Your Faith completes the "circuit" of God's power in your life

Your Doubt can and usually does "break" the circuit of God's power in your life

The more prayers we pray that get answered causes our confidence in God to grow, and it has a way of rubbing off on others if we remain humble about it by continually giving God the glory for it.

The prayer of faith can be likened to the power of a nuclear warhead in our arsenal against the devil:  A trillion mega-ton nuclear warhead at that!  Why against the devil, you might ask?Because as soon as you pray the prayer of faith, the devil’s helpers are going to be right there to try to get you to doubt that God will answer the request you’ve asked Him for, and trusting Him for.  Doubt is the nail that punctures your tire.  Doubt in God's goodness and faithfulness is a serious insult to Him ... when the prayer of faith is prayed.  Doubt is the energy that opens the door for demonically inspired unbelief to cause one's prayer to be of no effect.  If you want to know what God graphically has to say about doubt, re-read James 1:6.  In case you don't choose to read it, I'll tell you what God is essentially saying:  "Don't waste your time asking Me for anything if you're going to wallow around in the demonic pig-pen of doubt!"

However ... please realize that being tempted to doubt is not necessarily the same as actually doubting.  Being tempted to commit adultery is not actually giving into the sin of adultery.  Being tempted to lie is not a sin; the actual act of lying is.  Being tempted to be angry at God is not the same as actually being angry.  When thoughts turn to confession, you may have moved from temptation to actually committing the sin. 

What makes doubt and unbelief such slimy sin is that one can actually doubt in their mind and be guilty of the sin of doubting if they are not careful.  If one reads James 5:14-16 and silently believes God may not want to heal them ... and holds onto that belief for very long, they can assume they are guilty of committing the sin of doubt.  It needs to be confessed so God can forgive them, which He will as 1 John 1:9 promises.  Believing God will not heal them through James 5:14-16 is outright committing the sin (guilty) of unbelief.  Doubt is no longer even in the equation (though doubt opened the door to unbelief.  They are partner sins - married and in one accord, we can safely say).

God tells us in Ephesians 6:16 that "the shield of faith" will quench all the fiery darts such as lies, doubt, fear and unbelief from Satan ... if we apply it wisely on a regular, persistent basis.  If someone doesn't understand the value and wisdom of applying "the shield of faith" on a daily, moment by moment basis, (See:  Why The Need For 'The Armor Of God'?) most likely they will have a more challenging time entering into a conducive atmosphere in the Spirit of seeing the James 5:14-16 prayer of faith working in their life regarding serious health issues. 

In case you are a Christian not well versed in the Bible, it is only right to take you to the Bible and show you where God tells us about the prayer of faith.  It is recorded in James 5:14-16:

Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will heal (save) the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”  

What the prayer of faith is not in this above portion of scripture:  It is not a prayer that includes: If it’s your will to heal this sick person, Lord.”  Anyone who prays a prayer like that is not praying the prayer of faith spoken of in James 5:14-16.  They are praying the prayer of doubt.  Praying such a prayer might imply signs of humility and reverence for God in one’s own mind, but the devil just chuckles with glee when prayers of that nature get prayed while God grieves and probably grimaces.  Those who pray prayers of doubt usually go without.  Sadly, most of the time when people pray this type of prayer, they are unaware of this truth.

Notice the passage above from James 5:14-16 -- nowhere does God ask us to seek Him for what His will is when someone is sick and they are seeking God to relieve him or her of that sickness.  There is good reason for that --   a very good reason.  The Great Physician is no different than your own doctor.  You don’t go to your local doctor and ask him or her to make you better … if it’s his or her will.  You would get laughed at, wouldn’t you?  God doesn’t laugh if we do that to Him, however, if we’re asking Him to make us better.  He just shakes his head in sorrow, because he knows His hands are pretty much tied in releasing His supernatural power in the situation to relieve our suffering … unless someone else is praying the prayer of faith for us.  Hence, the need for Holy Spirit led believer's in touch with the Holy Spirit to pray for the sick in James 5:14-15.  Sick people have a more difficult time praying a prayer of faith than people who are not sick.  The reason for the anointing of the oil is that it honors the Holy Spirit, who needs to be intensely consulted and obeyed before the prayer of faith is to be prayed over someone.       

What the prayer of faith is:  It is a prayer of total and complete confidence [confident trust] that God wants to heal you (or the person being prayed for to receive healing).  Furthermore, it is confidence that God will do the very thing asked for, or something better … no matter how long it takes ... no matter what method/s God chooses to use to manifest the healing.  The motive behind praying this type of prayer is that God might be glorified and Satan would gain no victory.  In fact, these are the two primary reasons for praying the prayer of faith.

Let’s expound on this before moving forward.  If the reader never receives enlightenment from the Holy Spirit on the necessity that the end result of the prayer of faith to be answered is that God might be glorified  … not many prayers of faith are going to get answered, I can assure you of that.  God will not tolerate for long His glory to be stolen.  Even if God works through the medical profession to manifest the healing, which He might well do for those who can afford it  (if their faith happens to be weak for a supernatural healing from God) -- God still desires the glory.  If He doesn't get it, He might not be so quick to answer one's prayer for healing next time around.

“Elders” who know positionally who they are in Christ yet will show a constant - outwardly, vocal display that they are “nothing: absolutely nothing in and of themselves” - are the type of elders God is speaking of in this portion of scripture as well.  “Elders” who know that they are weak in themselves, having no power of their own, become the most qualified to be conduits of God’s power to be strong through Him: 

“ … My strength (power) is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.  For when I am weak, then I am strong." -- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Christians will differ with each other until Jesus returns who “elders” are spoken of in James 5:14-15.   At the time the scripture was written, I suspect there was little doubt who the elders were at any given time in any given community.  Two thousand years later … well … depending on which fellowship you’re a part of … I’ll remain silent on the issue.

Persistence Is Vitally Important Seeing God Answer ANY Prayer

Persistence is vital to seeing positive results when the prayer of faith is prayed.  Immediate healing doesn't always happen right away.  God makes that very clear in the last portion of James 5:16.  "The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."  (NAS).  Verse 17 makes it clear for anyone reading this who "feels" their faith for healing is 0 on a scale of 1 to 100:  "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours."  Elijah evidently went through many cycles of doubt, in other words, before the rain actually stopped.  Once it stopped, it stayed that way until God moved him to pray for rain again (The rain stopped for 3 1/2 years).  When he began to pray for it to rain again, he had to persist in his praying and trusting ... before raindrops began to fall.  Aren't you glad God took the time to tell us that Elijah - the mighty man of faith - evidently battled doubt at times as well before his prayer/s got answered?

Faith is not a "feeling."  Faith is a decision.  The prayer of "trust" may work better for some people, because it is easier to comprehend that trust is not a feeling either.  Trust too is a decision.  Keeping it simple -- the "prayer of faith" and "the prayer of trust" can be considered the same thing.  However, when the Holy Spirit comes upon people at times and gives them the gift of faith as is mentioned in 1 Cor. 12:9, strong feelings of confidence can accompany the gift.  It's nice to have "feelings" of faith, but for most, the devil can steal those "feelings" very easy, which then can fool people to move quickly into doubt.

“Atmosphere” can be so crucial to seeing the prayer of faith accomplish that which is desired. Here is an real eye-opener on the matter:  Scripture reveals to us just how powerful unbelief is from stopping the flow of God's power:  Now He (Jesus) could do no mighty work there, except that he laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.  And He marveled at their unbelief.  (Mark 6:5-6)  

Just preceding this portion of scripture in Mark 6:5-6 is another crucially insightful scripture that can be easily overlooked as unimportant to seeing the prayer of faith manifest what one is believing for.  Nothing God has given us in scripture is "unimportant."  In Mark 5:40 the Holy Spirit directed Jesus to "clear the room" of disbelievers, or unbelievers, before Jesus could perform the miracle on the dead girl.  This is WHY it is so crucial to hear from the Holy Spirit in each instance prayer goes for in the more difficult cases. 

Another key insight to keeping a healing or miracle is given to us in Mark 6:43.  Once a healing or miracle has been manifest in a person, one can see that healing or miracle be reversed by telling too many people, or the wrong people, about it.  Continuing to apply "the shield of faith" is vitally important.  The power to give Satan a second chance to gain back the glory by someone losing the healing or miracle can be very great in the immediate days following the healing or miracle.  Again, the necessity to hear in each instance the wisdom of the Holy Spirit for each individual situation.

Mark 8:23 gives us another key insight.  For Jesus to to heal a man's eyes, the Holy Spirit directed Jesus to get the man out of town for the miracle to manifest.  What is inferred here  for those who are able to see it is that there was so much doubt and unbelief in town that Jesus would not have been successful attempting to heal the man's eyes under that heavy cloud of demonic spirits over the community.  Then notice in Mark 8:26: once the miracle had manifest, Jesus firmly instructs the man to completely avoid going back into town -- going back under that cesspool of demonic activity of doubt and unbelief hovering over the community. To do so would probably have caused the man to lose his miracle.

Notice I've been speaking here of "healing" or a "miracle."  There are occasions when we do not ask and trust God to manifest a healing in a person when a miracle is actually needed.  When a miracle is needed, ask and believe for one.  When healing and a miracle is needed, ask and believe for both.  

The prayer of faith in James 5:14-16 is not to be dissected and debated yet never executed where little success seldom comes forth.  The prayer of faith is a potent weapon for God’s people to fight against the devil … to be used by competent warriors of God who appreciate a powerful, dangerous weapon when they have one at their disposal.  This weapon should never be placed in the hands of incompetent soldiers who don’t know which end is the barrel.

When was the last time your doctor asked you if you first had your elders anoint you with oil and prayed the prayer of faith over you when you went for help from him or her?   I already know the answer in most cases.  If God had intentions of the medical profession to take care of our every sickness and disease, shouldn't He have included something in scriptures about the issue?  Seems "strange" that God remains silent on the issue regarding the Medical Profession and only gives us James 5:14-16.

Please don't misunderstand: I am not speaking against the Medical Profession.  Thank God for them!  They are vessels God uses day in and day out to help people get better.  But ... the question remains: Do we rob God of potential glory by hardly ever going the route of James 5:14-16?  Probably more serious yet ... are we teaching younger disciples of Christ that the prayer of faith is a big waste of time to even consider?  Seems to me things are quickly moving in that direction, at least in the United States.  Jesus asked this question:  "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"  -- (Luke 18:8).   Stealing the glory from God is Satan's true delight.  Stealing the faith of God's people steals the glory that rightly belongs to God. 

God has given every born again believer the opportunity to be instruments of our heavenly Father to manifest his love and compassion for sick people in Mark 16:18, for those who are able to receive it. Just because you don't see yourself as an "elder" does not mean God can't or won't use you to help another get healed. 

Confession of sin spoken of in James 5:16 can play a vital part in seeing James 5:14-16 accomplish its desired result. The sick person being prayed for should always  seek their own heart and do all to ask God to reveal to them if they are holding onto unrecognized and/or unconfessed sin.  Doubt and unbelief in the sick person can be unconfessed sin.  Doubt and unbelief can also reside inside an “elder” doing the praying, and needs to be confessed as well, or that Elder needs to remove himself until secret sin is dealt with.



[I want to make special note of something here before moving forward.  I believe God is usually far more interested in our emotional state of well-being than our physical state of well-being.  Our emotional state of well-being affects the quality of our spiritual intimacy (which usually affects several other areas of our lives) with God.  If a person is "emotionally sick" ... I would hope most of the Body of Christ can agree that a person should be able to go to a "spiritual hospital" to find healing for their "emotional sickness and/or disease."  Wouldn't the "local church" be the most logical place for that to happen?  Are not Elders usually picked to be the spiritual overseers of each "local church?"  Of course.  I think God wants us to clearly realize from James 5:14-16 that Elders who have pure hearts before God wear "hats" God gives to them because of the office from God they have been given.  Godly Elders will hear from God on our behalf things that others cannot hear or discern, including hearing it from God ourselves.  You may not have the greatest respect for one or more of your local church elders (sadly), but never underestimate the "hat" God gives to an Elder.  When one holds a high office assigned from God, God provides a special "hat" or "anointing" for the office that person holds.  We must never allow ourselves to become blinded and/or deceived to the "hat" our spiritual overseers are given by God.  Thus ... we should never shun totally the counsel our Elders give to us in our emotionally sick states.  God will usually speak wisdom and direction  through our spiritual overseers that will not come from any other human source.  Your elder or elders might appear to be fully qualified to start a "traveling circus" in your own mind (again, sadly), but the "hats" God gives them to wear  in the office they hold might mean the difference between you getting set free from emotional affliction or not getting set free from it ... which often-times then evolves into physical afflictions of various kinds, which you can/or may end up dying from].

God is very serious: The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous person can accomplish all kinds of miracles.  "Righteousness" here means not walking in sin, and walking in obedience to God.  What is God's solution for our getting victory over strongholds of sin in our life when prayer and trust alone is not breaking those strongholds?  Here it is:

Holding unforgiveness against someone can be one of the biggest reasons people become sick and diseased.  Partaking of communion in an unworthy manner without judging oneself first can also be a sin that needs to be confessed. (See 1 Cor. 11:26-31).  Some people simply are sick or diseased because they have abused their body over time with bad nutrition and/or lack of exercise, and they need to inquire of the Lord and trust Him to reveal to them what substance/s they have abused and ask for God's help to quit that abuse as quickly as they can.  Why should God necessarily heal someone who will only get sick again because of their refusal to realize what brought on the sickness in the first place?  In America and other parts of the world, abuse of refined sugar, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, lack of key vitamins and/or minerals, (the list goes on and on) is pandemic.  [As long as our youth continue to gulp down soda pop and munch chips day in and day out, doctors will never lack for patients]. 

Having caused hurt to others without caring can be another sin that God wants acknowledged and dealt with, especially if the one needing the healing has engaged in it.

Confession cleans the soul and spirit.  Staying silent about known sin can place a roadblock between God and the person being prayed for … or the person doing the praying.  Roadblocks of this nature are usually assured victory for the devil.

To help us understand the importance of “confessing our sins one to another,” we can compare it to going to our doctor when we have serious ailments.  Depending on the ailment or problem, a good doctor will interrogate us of what we eat, what we drink, how much we smoke, how much exercise we may not be getting, how much stress we might be under, etc.  Doctors realize that sickness and diseases usually are caused by excesses of something our bodies don’t like, or are depleted of (or both) … at least doctors that understand the importance of proper nutrition and a healthy balanced mental and spiritual attitude with proper exercise.  If we are abusing our bodies (oftentimes unknowingly), and we don’t come clean with our doctor, we usually only end up hurting ourselves.  The “elders” God gives us to see God perform our cure need to be informed just as our medical doctor needs to be informed, otherwise we just might not see healing come. 

Satanic opposition in executing successfully the prayer of faith is so intense that I'm going to mention Elijah.  God says:  “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours …” I choose to believe what God is saying to us here is that Elijah wasn’t always the “man of faith” we like to assume he always was.  Elijah sinned on occasion just like you and I.  Elijah had fears just like you and I at times. He battled with doubt and unbelief on occasion.  Elijah went through dry times when there seemed to be zero faith inside him.  Certainly Elijah walked in some very supernatural dimensions that many of us may never walk in, yet there were also times when he was so unspiritual it seemed almost unimaginable.  Don’t ever refuse to let God use you just because your faith is as small as a molecule (never mind a mustard seed).  Faith comes from God.  He’ll provide it when He puts you on an assignment.           

I believe the most important thing that every Christian believer must strive to constantly do is seek to know what our heavenly Father wants us to do in every unknown, uncertain or challenging situation.  Jesus did only what the Father instructed Him to do.  Jesus spent a great amount of time earnestly praying and fasting to walk very closely with the Father so that He only did that which He was instructed to do by the Father:  Nothing more … nothing less.  If Jesus had to do that to have the success in God He had … can you and I be expected to do any less if we expect to see God do “impossible feats” through our prayers and trust?

There are times when the Holy Spirit will need the intense prayers of many Christian believers praying through until the prayer of faith begins to manifest the healing sought.  There are times when the Holy Spirit will impart the need for fasting to take place as well.  There are times when prayer alone will not tear down the assignment Satan has on someone’s life and fasting needs to be included.  Jesus gave us hints of this necessity in Mark 9:29, in the King James translation.  Hearing clearly from the Holy Spirit in each individual situation is not optional for success: it is absolutely critical.

Here are two writings on fasting that I would recommend everyone read, especially if they are struggling in their faith and in need of healing:

If the sick person believes sickness and disease originates from God, rather than Satan, praying the prayer of faith for them will probably be in vain.  I don’t see the wisdom of “casting your pearls (faith) before swine.”  Save your faith for those who won’t glorify the devil with it in their ignorance, unless they are willing to realize how they have been deceived by what they have believed, and tell God they are sorry.  Attributing the works of Satan to God does not make the Holy Spirit very happy.  

Every unselfish prayer we pray for someone else is being recorded in heaven.  In the overall scheme of things, it makes very little difference how our unselfish prayers get answered for another, because somehow in heaven God is going to reward us for praying them.  Here's God's promise in two separate scripture passages: And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24).  Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.  (1 Corinthians 15:58).  If praying for someone's life is not "abounding in the work of the Lord," I don't know what IS?  If the person we pray and believe for dies, or does not totally recover, we have lost nothing, but will only be rewarded for it somehow in eternity.  

In summary, God heals essentially in one of four ways (and/or a combination thereof):

1)    Answering prayer sovereignly (without anyone having faith [confident trust], which is usually the exception).  
2)    Answering prayer because someone had faith [confident trust] (hence, James 5:14-16) which scripture supports more than #1).
3)    By praying and seeking God and trusting Him for direction and wisdom to be healed through change of diet, proper nutrition, proper exercise ... and/or a combination of all three.
4)    By God using the established medical profession.  

If a sick or diseased person doesn't see God respond to their prayer through method Number 1, it would seem only reasonable and God honoring that method Number 2 should be implemented, out of obedience, and one's willingness to listen and pray about what the "elders" might believe God is saying to them about your specific situation.  If method Number 2 is not bringing promising health in a reasonable amount of time (as God leads, of course), God might be pointing you to seek Him about method Number 3. (At the time the scriptures were written, unwholesome foods and other substances that we now put into our bodies over time were not as serious issues as they are today to have God heal someone).  Regarding method Number 4, obviously people who are sick and/or diseased should work with the established medical profession to receive proper diagnosis and possible healing options, as the Lord leads them.  [However, it might be noted that not all of the established medical profession recognizes method Number 3 as a viable healing option, for good reasons in some situations, but not all.  Again ... I believe the wise child of God seeks the Lord for wisdom and direction in each situation before making possible life and death decisions about their health issues]. 

Any person who has been told by their doctor (or medical professionals) that nothing else can be done for them, so essentially prepare to die -- may well be one of the likeliest candidates for God to heal through James 5:14-16.  Desperation can trigger faith (trust) like little else can!

I want to go on record as saying that I am not of the school that once one is prayed for, and someone leads them to believe that the are "already healed" ... therefore they are just to claim their healing and wait until it manifests without working with the Medical Profession is asking for potential serious consequences.  Though many healings have manifested that way, too many people have gone to the grave "waiting for their healing to manifest" while shunning any advice from Medical Professionals.  To me, working with Medical Professionals as one has access to them and can afford them is displaying great wisdom, but not to the exclusion of omitting James 5:14-16.  The two need to be balanced with wisdom -- great wisdom. 

In closing ... if God has revealed wisdom and insights into executing the prayer of faith [confident trust] to you, I would greatly appreciate it if you would forward it to me, so I can pass it along to others.  Satan’s constant desire is to strip the power and the glory of God from the Body of Christ, and make and keep God's people as sick and diseased as he can.  We must not let him have his way. 

Here is a writing on this topic of prayer I highly endorse:  Understanding Prayer - Wisely


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