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Dr. Ray Pritchard Christian Blog and Commentary

Praying for the Sick--Part 1

  • Dr. Ray Pritchard
    Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The ABCs of Christmas, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 39 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, two daughters-in-law--Leah and Vanessa, and four grandchildren grandsons: Knox, Eli, Penny and Violet. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
  • 2009 Aug 19
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"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. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven"
(James 5:14-15).

(I am dedicating this message to some friends of ours for whom we have been praying. Lately it seem that lately we have been overwhelmed with friends of ours, some who live near to us and some who live far away, who have faced desperate medical situations .I'm sending this sermon out with love and prayers for Andy, Don, Marvin, Barb, Sammy, Jack, and for especially for little Colson Taylor, born June 26 who arrived early and has had a hard time ever since. May the God from whom all blessings flow pour out his mercy upon these friends and upon many others who need the healing touch of the Lord.)

If we pray at all, sooner or later we will spend time paying for the sick. Every pastor spends a good part of his week talking to, visiting with, and praying for the sick. And every prayer meeting always includes a list of the sick. That fact alone makes the subject important, especially when I consider that in four years of seminary, I learned Greek, Hebrew, Bible exposition, theology, homiletics and church history, but less than an hour was spent on this topic. In four years I can remember one session with Dr. Richard Seume who gave us the only instruction we received on ministering to the sick.

My own interest in this subject stems from the fact that I grew up in a doctor's home. My father was a surgeon and my mother was an army nurse (they met while doing medical service in the Army during World War II). My uncle was a surgeon and my three brothers are all medical doctors. And two cousins became doctors. Medicine hangs from every branch of my family tree, which is part of the reason I find the topic of praying for the sick so fascinating. At what point do medicine and prayer intersect? How should they work together to provide healing?

Let me state up front what the question is not:

1)   The question is not, Does God answer prayer? The answer is yes.
2)   The question is not, Does God answer prayer for the sick? The answer is also yes.
3)   The question is not, Does God sometimes answer in ways that seem miraculous? Again, the answer is yes. I am happy to stipulate that all those things are true.

Furthermore, the focus is not on what God can do. After all, we know that God can do anything he wants to do. Nothing is impossible with him. Our focus in this message is on what the church can do. I believe James 5:13-16 tells us how a Bible-believing church responds to sickness in its midst. What should we do for the sick? The answer is simple and profound. The church should pray for the sick that God would raise them up.

James 5 plainly calls the church to pray for the sick. However, it also raises a number of valid questions. In order to get the proper perspective, let's start by considering a few preliminary facts.

You can read the rest of the message online.

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.