Posted by: Heather | November 26, 2008

Let them call the elders

Sunday, a family called the elders of our assembly (we have a name now, Memorial Christian Fellowship) to pray. A lovely Christian family with 6 children ages 10 through about 24. (the oldest was not there, but joined us via speaker phone) Sunday was the first time I have actually met this family, though I have known of them for about 8 years. They have a reputation in the community of being a very gracious and godly family. I don’t believe they live here all the time. their home church is back east. The mother has cancer. I am not certain how long the fight has been going on. I have been aware of it for about a year. These people do not attend our church, I am not sure where they attend, and that doesn’t matter much to me, they are part the body of Christ. When one part hurts we all hurt.

They are close friends with one of the elders, and acquaintances of the other two. As I said, I met them Sunday. I really didn’t know what to expect, for a few reasons. The first reason, is that I did not know the people, so I was a bit uneasy as to what the expectations were. What they expected of God and of us . . . I just felt that area was a complete unknown. The second reason, is that I as an elder have never been involved in this type of prayer. I believe that James 5 applies in this case,
“Jas 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing psalms.
Jas 5:14 Is any sick among you? 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.
Jas 5:15 And the prayer of faith will cure the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up. And if he has committed sins, it will be forgiven him.
Jas 5:16 Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one avails much.”

I was uneasy because while I do not doubt at all God’s ability to heal, I worry that I am not as “righteous” as I could be.
There was an added sense of discomfort in me because one of the elders was rather adamant that he felt God is going to heal her. I did not have this certainty.

So I went with some timidity because of the unknowns. I purposed in my heart to be listening to God and follow his leading. I rode to the family’s house with two of the other elders, as I was not certain of the location. As I was sitting in my truck waiting for them to pick me up, I was praying through this uncertainty with God, and while I knew I was supposed to go, I had no idea how to pray.

I also purposed to be available to serve them in any way I could.

It is so wonderful that God doesn’t need me to be certain of the outcome or sure of myself. He only asks that I obey.

When we arrived, we met some of the children outside. What a delightful group of boys they are.
We talked to them awhile, and then were invited inside where I met the father, two daughters, and the lady we were going to pray for. The elder who is their friend was already there. We were introduced and then we conversed a while. A lot of my discomfort was relieved at this point. Their genuine love for Christ was evident. She shared that she was not afraid of death, but felt it impressed upon her heart that she should call for us to pray for her healing. This helped me know how to pray. At this point I knew I was to pray for her healing. We all looked at James 5 together and discussed the need to be clean and pure before the Lord as we ask.

We had the children all come around, (one of the elders family was there, so there were a total of about 10 children there) we anointed her with oil and prayed for her. After we prayed, we sang a couple of songs (her idea) of praise to God.

Friends, I went determined to minister, and wound up being ministered to. Her closeness to the Lord in this suffering was so sweet to see. Her family obviously loves her, each other, and the Lord. The sweet spirit between her and her husband was neat to see.

She did not leap up from her chair and shout that she was healed, and I don’t know if she will be. However, I was blessed by them. They were such good hosts to us. I felt so inadequate to be there with them. At one point one of us began to choke up, and the husband stopped and prayed for us. Seemed so odd to be there to “help” such well grounded people.

I have been impressed again with how God’s strength is there for his children when they are in need. I see another group of people who can be added to the list in Heb. 11. Those of whom the world is not worthy. Those who can stand up and testify with the cloud of witnesses to God’s faithfulness. Therefore, let us all lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us, and run with patience the race set before us. Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy set before him endured the cross.

I still don’t know how to pray for healing. We welcomed the trial as a dear friend. (James 1) We recognized that God is the giver of good gifts, even cancer. We cleansed our hands and purified our hearts, we drew near to God and He drew near to us. We examined our motives, and found that if we do not receive, it will not be because we did not ask, nor will it be because we asked to consume it upon our desires. We asked for God’s glory. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Physical healing? Well it can. But the shift in my own life’s priorities was pretty big, too.

Please pray for my new friends. I have left their names off of this for their privacy, but God knows who they are.

Craig

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Responses

  1. Very cool! I also prayed over someone last night, not because I am a healer, but just like you, I was walking in obedience. It is a long story, but in short, it was obvious God wanted me to pray and it is now in his hands. What is your email? I want to send something to you…

  2. No novel, just wow!


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