Why Pray for the Sick?

 

I.         We have talked about the purpose of miracles earlier

            A.        Purpose

                        1.         To reveal the truth - John 16:13

                        2.         To confirm the truth

                                    a.         Heb. 2:3-4 - God shows his agreement with the speaker

                                    b.         Mk 16:20 - Confirmed the word spoken

                                    c.         Acts 2:22 - Jesus was attested by God through miracles

                        3.         Miracles were not done for the miracle’s sake alone.

            B.        These purposes were accomplished.

                        1.         Paul said that the miraculous gifts would end - I Cor. 13:9-13

            C.        Yet, some confussion occurs when we read James 5:13-16

                        1.         If miracles have ceased, then doesn’t this command only apply to the first century Christians?

                        2.         Why call on the elders? Why should we pray for the sick?

II.        Foremost, we misunderstand what is truely a miracle

            A.        People use miracles in too broad of a sense today.

            B.        There is a difference between a miracle and God’s providence working through nature.

            C.        Miracles

                        1.         Were feats that man could not accomplish on their own

                        2.         Were instantaneous

            D.        Example: Acts 3:1-11

                        1.         Notice there was no recovery period involved.

                        2.         If a man, lame from birth, were healed by our technology today, there would be months - probably years - involved building the poor man’s muscle strength and even learning how to coordinate his limbs to walk, let alone leaping around

                        3.         No question that the miracle occurred, even by non-believers - Acts 4:16

            E.        Example: Acts 9:36-42, Acts 20:9-12

                        1.         We cannot restore life

            F.        Example: Acts 13:8-12

                        1.         We cannot take sight by word alone

III.       James 5:13-16 does not indicate that miracles are involved

            A.        When we pray for a loved one and they recover, it is a sign that God has heard and answered our prayers, but it is not a miracle!

            B.        There is still recovery time. The health is not stated to be restored instanteously.

            C.        “Well, the elders had miraculous gifts during the first century.”

                        1.         True, some elders had some gifts. But you are forgetting that all Christians did not have all gifts. - I Cor. 12:4-11

                        2.         All Christians did not have gifts! And especially, all Christians did not have the gift of healing - I Cor. 12:28-30

                        3.         No where is the list of qualification for eldership is there a requirement that God had given them the gift of healing. In fact, having miraculous gifts was not a requirement for eldership. (I Tim. 3:1-7, Tit. 1:5-9)

            D.        To claim that miracles were involved in James 5:13-16 is simply an unfounded assumption.

                        1.         Notice the context.

                        2.         Does it take a miracle for prayer to ease suffering?

                        3.         Does it take a miracle for song to spread cheerfulness?

                        4.         Does it take a miracle to be forgiven of your sins?

IV.      To attribute the healing to miracles means you missed James’ point

            A.        James is talking about the power of prayer.

            B.        Prayer can accomplish much more than we give credit for when it is done by a believer. Not just a Christian, but one who truly believes that God listens!

            C.        “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” - James 5:16.

                        1.         The proof? - James 5:17-18

                        2.         “Well, that is because God wanted it to happen”

                        3.         Of course! All prayer is answered in accordance to God’s will. But reverse that thought. Would the dought have come if Elijah did not pray?

            D.        I John 5:14-15 - If we ask according to His will, he will hear.

            E.        I Pet. 3:12 - God listens to the prayers of the righteous

V.        I personally seen the power of prayer

            A.        A young boy, age 5, in the congregation came down with lukemia. His condition became critical and his parents were told he may not last the night. The entire congregation gathered at the building that night and we prayed like I never heard Christians pray before. For over an hour we prayed. The young boy recovered. In fact, his lukemia when into remission. When the preacher asked the doctors when this sudden change took place, the doctors said it was just about the time we were gathered to pray.

            B.        There was another instance were a young boy was severely burnt when his housecoat caught fire from a space heater. He recovered quickly after the congregation prayed. Again, the turning point was when the congregation came to pray with one another.

            C.        These prayers give glory to God for His great mercy on these children and their parents. These were not miraculous healings, people did not stand in awe of those doing the praying. It did not confirm the word someone was preaching at that time.

            D.        The time of miraculous gifts has ended, but God has not ceased to work in our lives. Too many Christians no longer believe God’s promise. They no longer trust in the power of their own prayers.