On Sunday, September 23, 2012, Rev. Jacqueline Mickey, associate minister of New Canaan Worship Center in Richmond, Virginia preached from James 5:13-16.
New Canaan has been focusing on healing since the beginning of the year because there are so many hurting people in churches these days.
In keeping with the theme of healing, Rev. Mickey used the following subject:
“How to Pray for Healing”
Rev. Mickey said she saw three different kinds of prayer in the text:
- First, according to verse 13 we are to pray for ourselves. “Is anyone of you in trouble? He should pray.”
- Second, according to verses 14-15 we are to call for the elders of the church when we are really sick. “Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him.”
- Third, according to verse 16 we are to pray for each other. “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
This passage not only gives us some indication of how to pray, but it also helps us determine when we are to pray. There are four distinct times we should go to God in prayer.
- when we are suffering
- when we have success
- when we have sickness
- and when we’ve made bad choices
James is recognizing that life is made up of triumph and tragedy, of sorrow and joy. Illness and sickness trip us up and bad choices entangle us. We never know what to expect. Life is totally unpredictable. Anyone who has had an accident or has had a family member suddenly get sick can attest that life can change radically in just a matter of seconds. Additionally, we all know firsthand how sin can devastate and destroy lives and some of us are living today with the consequences of some wrong choices.
Rev. Mickey shared two amazing things:
- It is not always God’s will to heal physically, or no sick believer would ever die.
- It is often God’s will to heal. That’s why this passage is in the Bible.
Rev. Mickey ended her sermon by telling an anecdote about a missionary who was sailing and the captain asked him to pray for wind. The missionary told the captain he must set the sail. The captain couldn’t understand why he was told to set the sail when there wasn’t the slightest breeze. Nevertheless he agreed to do so. Forty-five minutes later the captain told the missionary he could get up off his knees because they had more wind than they knew what to do with.
Rev. Mickey’s final words:
“Friends, God is willing to answer when we pray with faith. He will heal and He will lead through times of suffering, during times of success, in times of sickness, and even when we are trapped in sin.”
“Brothers and sisters, let’s pray and set the sails! The greatest tragedy is not unanswered prayer, but unoffered prayer. How much wind is in your sail?