Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Anointing the Sick- Sacrament of Healing
“And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up” James 5:16
Last week I was seeing a patient at work who I have been taking care of for years; but at this visit, it really struck me how much he suffers. Because of a cancer treatment he had over 5 years ago, he can no longer SPEAK or EAT (he has a feeding tube in his stomach to help him get nutrition). Other than that, he’s fine – he has a brilliant mind, a devoted wife and is cancer-free! But how hard is this man’s suffering that he cannot enjoy the basic things of life – like eating a meal or talking with his family and friends. I tried to find a solution – I read more medical texts, sent him to super-specialists in NYC, and reexamined all his treatment options. But still, we could not fix this problem. I wished I could find a doctor who would know how to help him!
That evening, I sat down to read the passage I was assigned to write about: “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.” (James 5:14-16). There was a Great Physician – the Creator of man – who I had not even thought about consulting! After seeing my patient over dozens of visits, I had to confess that I had not thought to PRAY over him! I had worried, and cared, and tried, and tried some more to find a solution – but I had not prayed. The Lord exhorts us to PRAY for the sick. It is so simple a resource, but we often forget it. I imagine this is something many of us in the medical field, or just living life with those who are sick, need a reminder about. PRAY for those you know or see with physical or mental illness!
So today I am praying for my patient. I admit, that I still wonder if God will change his condition; but I am putting him at Dr. Jesus’ feet, and reminding myself that God CAN. And I am reminding myself that God SEES him and CARES about him.
One of the top Christian songs in the country right now is “See Me Through It” by Brandon Heath. When describing his song, Brandon talks about how God sees us THROUGH the difficult things in life, but also about how God SEES us through the difficult things in life. The reality is that on this side of eternity, sickness is not always fully healed, but we can be sure that God sees us. And we can be sure that when we pray for the sick, God hears and moves in some way to help that person. As it says in v16, “The prayer of a righteous man is POWERFUL and EFFECTIVE.” So let’s take a little time to intentionally pray for those who are sick around us today.
Lord, help me to entrust You with those who are sick, especially _______. Forgive me for not praying for them, and remind me, Lord, to bring their needs to you often. Thank you that you SEE them and that you would use my prayers to make a change in their lives. Amen.
Epiphany Mar Thoma Church, New York