The Book of James Message Seventeen

VII. Instruction on prayer. James 5:13-18 Today we will be looking at verses 13 – 15.

As an introduction to the purpose of this portion of James’ letter we should read Paul’s statement to the church in Ephesus as to their responsibilities to one another –

Ephesians 4:11-12 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Personal spiritual growth is to enhance the corporate spiritual growth of the church. We are to grow strong individually that we may grow strong corporately- “edifying of the body of Christ”.

The believer who is applying the truths that James has presented in his letter will grow strong spiritually. We will be fulfilling Peter’s admonition to begin our spiritual growth nourished in the milk of the Word as an infant and a young child,

1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

And Paul’s exhortation to grow strong life through the truths of God’s Word.

Hebrews 5:13-14 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

With spiritual growth comes wisdom and understanding. We know that we do not live unto ourselves – we must rely on God, we must respond to the needs of others and we must restore those that have erred. Let’s look at these three subjects today –

A. The Reliance. James 5:13-15

1. In times of trouble. James 5:13a “… Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.”

Psalm 91:14-15 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Acts 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

Paul and Silas illustrated the work of God in the lives of His children as they went from prayer to praise –

Psalm 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

2. In times of rejoicing. James 5:13b “… . Is any merry? let him sing psalms.”
Being thankful for God’s blessings!

Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:…
Proverbs 15:13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance:…
You can influence those around you.

3. In times of sickness James 5:14-15

The believer that is ailing is instructed to seek healing from God through this three fold plan He has set forth here –

a. The Pastors “… let him call for the elders of the church…”
The Pastor has been given the responsibility by God for –

1). Counseling in God’s Word.
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

2). Caring for God’s people.
3). Correcting misconceptions and wrong thinking.

1 Thessalonians 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

b. The Prayers. “… and let them pray over him…”

Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

c. The Prescription. “… anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord…”

Anointing with oil. In this case, the oil prescribed is olive oil. This is not what is promoted today as a miraculous healing oil. It is simply God’s medicinal oil! God’s Word reveals the history of the use of oils and salves for medicinal purposes –

1). 4,000 years ago –

Genesis 37:25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.

2). 2,500 years ago –

Isaiah 1:6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.

Jeremiah 8:22 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

3). 2,000 years ago.

Mark 6:13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

4). The present time. A medical website lists some of the medicinal uses of olive oil.

Olive oil is used to prevent heart attack and stroke (cardiovascular disease), breast cancer, colorectal cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and migraine headache.
Some people use olive oil to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure, blood vessel problems associated with diabetes, and pain associated ear infections, arthritis, and gallbladder disease.
Olive oil is applied to the skin (used topically) ringing ears (tinnitus), pain in the ears, lice, wounds, minor burns, psoriasis, and for protecting the skin from ultraviolet (UV) damage after sun exposure.


Pastors, Prayers, and Prescriptions – God uses this three fold plan to engage His children in caring and helping one another in times of sickness.
As God has provided through James a measure for our faith, our conduct, and our humility, He has given us a pattern of our fellowship and dependence on one another. Are we prepared to minister to one another in any need in life? Do we fulfil the law of God –

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

Let us follow His plan and “edify the body of Christ”.

About sjbjburke

I am an evangelist that enjoys Bible study and I look forward to posting outlines and receiving helpful comments. My wife and I celebrated our 52nd wedding anniversary in 2022 and we enjoy serving the Lord together.
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