The Prayer Offered in Faith Will Make the Sick Person Well
“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 5:14-15
It’s been a tough few days.
We found a nice doctor a few weeks ago who seemed interested in helping us—but she sent Amy a text yesterday morning that basically said “I don’t think I can help you, good luck!” And then she referred us to a cancer treatment facility in Houston, Texas. Amy doesn’t have cancer, so, that’s weird and really no help at all.
Then Amy went to her yoga class at the gym, but her pain was so great she began to cry. It was sweet that the instructor came down off the platform to hug and console Amy, but it’s humiliating to be the sad sick lady.
In hard times like these, we hold tight to Scriptures that offer hope. And James seems to lay it out so cleanly, doesn’t he? Are you sick? Oh, well just pray and voilà! Healed!
It seems straightforward enough. Pray and receive automatic healing, right?
But if everyone who ever got sick needed only to pray a little prayer and drip some magic canola oil on their head—no one would ever be sick. There would be no hospitals, doctors, medication or health insurance companies. No one would ever die, and we would have the cure for cancer, AIDS, Lipedema, and the common cold.
I suspect you have also prayed for people to be healed and they’ve died anyway and you wondered why. You’ve prayed for healing but the cancer just spreads. So what’s wrong? James said you had to offer your prayer in faith (pisteuo). Maybe that’s it. You didn’t have enough pisteuo and that’s why your prayers didn’t work.
But when we step back from this verse and read the rest of the Bible, we see numerous cases where righteous people got sick and were not healed. For example, Elisha died of an illness, Timothy had “frequent illnesses” (1 Timothy 5:23), Isaac and Jacob were blind in their later years, Paul left Trophimus sick in Miletus (2 Timothy 4:19), and Paul himself suffered but was not healed (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). In fact, Paul realized that his illness, not his healing, had a purpose so that God’s strength could work in him through his weakness.
So we look at the Bible as a whole we realize there must be more to this verse in James. We’re asked to present our requests to God (Philippians 4:6), and we know God hears our requests and answers our prayers according to His good, pleasing and perfect will in our lives.
What, then, does James 5:14 mean? What is a prayer offered in pisteuo?
As you pray with me for Amy’s healing—it’s important to realize the object of our pisteuo is not the healing—it is in God Himself. Pisteuo is the attitude of having complete trust in Jesus, of relying on Him alone for everything. Pisteuo ultimately rests on and in whatever the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit will to do in a given situation involving our lives – including saving us from illness.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” - 1 John 5:14-15
Pisteuo means putting my trust completely into the hands of Jesus for whatever is to be the outcome in terms of divine healing, all of which must work out according to the Father’s purpose.
When Amy is healed, it will be a miracle. And ultimately, what makes a miracle happen or not happen is the will of God, not our pisteuo. God has not revealed to us if Amy’s divine healing is His will—or if His power will be made perfect through her illness for a season or if she must remain sick until the day she dies.
Based on what the Bible tells us about the meaning of praying in pisteuo, we can confidently pray for Amy’s healing. Then, trusting in God, we leave the result in His very capable hands, asking for His peace and joy to hold us to Him in the meantime – and for His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Thank you for joining me in prayers of pisteuo for Amy. May the Holy Spirit help us have the pisteuo to accept whatever God’s will for our lives may be – and that we may, therefore, always pray in faith. I am fully confident that God is good all the time, even on hard days like today.
Keep praying, friends. Keep up the good fight. Keep the pisteuo.