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Twenty-One Days of Prayer, Day 14, Pray for the Spiritually Sick

Jesus, my strength when I am weak
“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. 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: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” God give me insight on this passage. This passage starts with a series of questions and short answers. If you are afflicted or suffering, then pray. My first response is to see the word “afflicted” and think of someone suffering. But what am I suffering? In the chapter the same word is used in verse 10, and speaks of the suffering of prophets because of persecution. They were weary and needed encouragement. What better way to handle disappointment and discouragement is to go my “Dad” and talk to Him. I am thankful for an intimate relationship that allows me to immediately and consistently talk to my Father. In Him I find strength, comfort, and encouragement. Notice the next question: “is any merry (or cheerful)?” Let him praise God by sing psalms or praise unto the Almighty! When I am afflicted in my soul it is essential that I pray. But, please God help me to remember that when I am blessed in my soul, and cheerful, and merry it is equally essential that I praise my Father or “Dad”. I need to sing “It is Well with My Soul” and His praise to the world. He is wonderful and what He does is amazing. Please help me to sing His praises when I am afflicted as well. But then the question is “is any sick among you?” Then, let him call for the elders of the church, and let the elders pray over him. Here is an essential ministry for us as Christian to do in order for our brothers and sisters to remain strong and following God. I think this is not speaking of physical sickness but emotional sickness. We are so weary that we are at the point of giving up. We can’t continue. The spiritual war has worn us down and the armor of God is being dropped. Our shield is down and we are taking some heavy spiritual wounds. We are discouraged, depressed, and spiritually weak. We come and rub in, literally crush into, oil. In the times of the New Testament, weary travelers would have oil rubbed in to their foreheads to refresh and encourage them. I think that is what this passage is about. We are to look for those who are weary and seek the opportunity to encourage and support. I think it is important to note something in the passage. We can go and force this on someone. That won’t work because they are to call for the elders. Our pray should be that God will keep us sensitive to our walk with Him. When we get off-focused and covered by our circumstances, don’t dig in and try to survive. Ask for the elders of the faith family to come and pray for you. A united body of believers supports and encourages one another. In the passage, it mentions that if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. When we are discouraged and weak, we may yield to our old fleshly nature’s desires. So we should come to our faith brothers and sisters with no fear of rejection when we fail. We are to “confess our faults to one another and pray that we will be restored”. Elijah is used as a man who is like us. He won some battles, against the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, and he lost some battles. It always amazed me to see this great saint of God falling apart at Jezebel’s threats, but there it is in the Bible. Elijah suffered weakness and discouragement. The last part of this passage is so encouraging. When we do what God tells us to do when we get spiritually weak, spend time in fervent prayer focusing on God and encourage one another, God does powerful, amazing, awe inspiring things. VBC, and all Christians, are you battling in a tough society and find yourself spiritually weak and discouraged. Follow God’s plan and let Him do things in and through you that will astonish you. VBC, we are at a point that God wants to do great things through our faith family. Are you willing and ready to let Him?

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