Friday, December 08, 2006

The Anointing Service

When I am requested to lead an anointing service based on James 5, I usually go through the following steps. Prior to the anointing service I meet with the person requesting the anointing service and any of their immediate family that they would like to be part of this service to explain James 5 to them and to be sure that they understand it’s teaching. We then use this meeting to set up a time and location for the anointing service.

I then contact all of the Elders of the church informing them of the service that has been requested and inviting them to be part. I ask them to do two things. First, I ask them to read James 5 again to be reminded of the Biblical principles regarding the anointing service. Second, I ask them to be sure to spend considerable time alone with God prior to coming to the anointing service to be sure that they are clean before God. I also spend time alone with God myself to be sure that I am clean before Him

At the anointing service with the Elders and the individual who is sick, along with any of their family members that that they have requested to be present, I began by having one of the Elders read James 5:13-18 and I review the principles being taught. I remind them that the sickness being spoken of is a serious sickness. According to the passage the sick person is to call for the Elders of the church to be anointed with oil and prayed for. I also emphasize that in the passage there is a direct connection between this sickness and confessing our sin. Of course, not all sickness is due to sin, but some is. God promises that if the sickness is due to sin and we confess our sin and pray for healing, He will heal us. If this sickness is not due to sin, then we are choosing through this anointing service to trust God who may chose to either:

· Heal us
· Give us the grace to endure the illness
· Use the sickness to take us home (ultimate healing)

I then ask each person out loud the following question beginning with the person who is sick, then each family member they may have invited to be with them for this service, and finally each Elder…“Are you sure that you have spent time with the Lord and that there is no hidden or unconfessed sin in your life?” I ask each person to answer out loud. Following this, I anoint them with oil (I use olive oil) by rubbing some on their forehead three times (in the name of the Father, in the name of the Son, and in the name of the Holy Spirit). I have the Elders gather around this person who I have sitting on a chair in the middle of the room with his or her spouse (if they are present) and we lay our hands on their heads, shoulders, or arms. Each Elder then takes a turn praying out loud for this person and I close the time in prayer.

When we are done praying I lead the Elders by example in showing love to this person and their family by hugging them, telling them I love them, and assuring them that I will continue to pray for them. These are very beautiful, intimate and worshipful times.

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