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God wants the church to know there is hope for healing. He is the Lord of health. He de desires that we depend upon Him for our hearth and recognize it as a form of His kind grace. As we think of healing, questions form in our minds about faith, prayer and God’s will. Here are three main questions that the study questions will go through.
In this Bible study of James 5:13-20 many key thoughts are addressed. The topic of healing mentioned above is only one such topic. There are others such as the place prayer takes in our life, a prayer of faith, how righteousness and prayer are linked up, and restoring the lost. Either do this study several times with each thought in mind or focus on the specific verses related to the topic at a certain time.
Do not dismiss such a powerful passage! Again an again ask, "How is this applicable to me?" "Why does our church think or do not think this certain way?"
An asterisk means that one will not find the answer in the Bible text but is to come up with an answer from one's experience.
13 “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises. 14 Is anyone among you sick? 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; 15 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and the earth produced its fruit. 19 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.” James 5:13-20, NASB.
Kickoff question: What does your church believe about healing? What healing experiences have you or someone you know had?
Look at James 5:12-14. What are the three kinds of people listed here that one might find in a typical church setting?
Briefly describe what James’ advice is for each of these groups?
Can you think up two or three other categories? What advice might you give them?
The advice for the third group on sick or weakly people is quite extended. Thinking about one or two churches that you have attended, what do you think they might have recommended to the sick person? Can you share an example?
Do you know anyone that was seriously sick? How did they respond?
From your experience do most Christians believe in healing? Under what specific circumstances?
How does that compare to what the Bible says here?
Who is the sick one to call on for prayer? Why them (James 5:14)?
What does anoint with oil mean? Is it only symbolic (James 5:14)?
What kind of prayer can heal? What does this mean (5:15)? Can you grow in this way?
What difference does it make if one prays “in the name of the Lord?” What significance does this phrase have?
Why does he suggest them to confess sins to one another (James 5:16)? What does that have to do with healing? (Who is he talking to?)
What Old Testament person found restoration after praying for others (J__ 42:10)?
Do you think the effectiveness of prayer has to do with confession? Explain.
Perhaps James did not want us to think that prayer power is only for church leaders like elders. What kind of example does he highlight in James 5:17? What was he like? What was his prayers for? What happened when he prayed?
Do you think James is intimating that all believers should at least be like Elijah? What do you personally think about your responsibility to pray effective prayers?
What kind of person is described in James 5:19?
How are we to respond such a person? Why?
Do you believe in healing during the times of the apostle? What about now? Why or why not?
What incident in your life helped your faith to significantly grow?
What kind of faith do you think God wants for each of His children? Why?
Do you exercise faith during prayer? Explain.
Have you ever strayed from the Lord? How did you come back home?
Have you ever led someone back home to the Lord? What did you say or do?
Do you know someone now you can pray that they return to the Lord? If so, pray for that one or more individuals. If not, pray generally asking the Lord to bring His people in your area back to Him.