Have you ever been so sick in your body that you did not have the strength to pray, to even utter the words that you thought were needed?
It is terribly hard to have faith and believe when you are suffering great pain and sickness.
I’m probably not the only one… but sometimes I have felt guilty that I did not have the faith I needed to be healed.
We have missed so much in God’s Word, or else we have forgotten many of the things we once knew and relied upon.
The woman with the issue of blood still had the strength to walk, to search out the Lord and to press her way to the hem of his garment. Her faith made her whole.
But the man lying by the pool of Bethesda could not get into the water without help.
The man that was let down through the rooftop where Jesus was ministering might never have gotten to the Lord and rose up to walk if those that cared for him had not let him down in the midst.
It appears that his friends were the ones that had faith enough to believe that going through the roof would get the healing done for their helpless companion.
The lame man at the gate, Peter and John had to take him by the hand and lift him up in order for strength to arrive in those useless limbs.
All night prayer meetings at the home of the sick!
Back in the day, in rural Louisiana and Mississippi, I was blessed to see many old-fashioned traditions and church practices that have long disappeared now.
As a young boy, I remember when some brother or sister in the church got sick and the word was sent out that someone was gravely ill.
We began to gather from all directions toward the home of the beloved one and we came for one purpose — to pray, all together, with one mind and one accord.
And we came to stay there until they got a touch from the LORD, until they got better.
If it took all night, so what. I remember seeing the sun coming up after we had knelt all around the bed in the room where the sick lay and all different places in the house, even out in the yard.
We had this idea that we were not giving up until God moved. It gives me chills at this moment to think about that, the determination, the unity and the aggressiveness in the Spirit.
I saw God come down and shake those bonds of sickness and saw the ill rise up to eat and drink.
The scripture says that if any man be sick, let him call for the elders of the church. They were to anoint them with oil.
The “prayer of faith” would save the sick and the LORD promised to raise them up. If the ill one was too weak and sick to pray the prayer of faith, just who do you think did it? Those who had come with the Oil.
We didn’t have doctors then like we do today. Some of us could not afford high medical bills and besides, we were taught that healing was a part of our spiritual experience and it was our duty to manifest the power and prayer necessary to get the job done.
There was no such thing as running back and forth to the doctor for every little illness and pumping yourself up with every pill available in the drug store.
We felt an obligation, an honest love for our brothers and sisters to bombard heaven for as long as it took to get an answer.
If you didn’t want everyone staying there all day and night then you best accept your healing and get up because they weren’t leaving until heaven opened up and a touch came from the Master.
Unity, truly caring for one another was part of being a real Christian, a real saint of God.
We have lost so much of that closeness, that willingness to go the last mile and to minister to our fellows as Jesus did to those He passed by.
He could not pass someone ill or hurting without being moved with compassion. Too often today it seems we are waiting on the sick to have the faith for the healing they need.
We’ve got this thing backwards.
Somewhere along the way, we stopped speaking those vital words He spoke to us.
“These signs shall follow them that believe…. they shall lay hands on the sick and they SHALL recover,” Mark 16;17-18.
You see, medicine is not working anymore like we thought it did. I know. In the medical field, I saw tons of pills being given and they no longer worked.
Medicine is big money today. Physicians do not care the way they once did, it is all about money and many often do not have time for kind words or to sit on the bedside and listen.
Most people don’t know that at least half of medical treatment is Psych. It means bed-side care and gentle concern, just listening and making the person know you truly care is half the cure.
Overworked doctors and nurses have little time for patients. The most important thing is the paperwork, for without that, the money does not come in.
What I’m saying is we have almost come full circle back to where we were before, laying hands on one another and touching God when all else has failed.
Faith in doctors has failed with too many scams and ripoffs, too much carelessness and no time for talking.
If we could once again get back to the love we had for one another and come together once again with the idea that we were not leaving until the Healer actually came down and gave some rest and peace to our sick brother or sister, how different the outcome might be.
If God still chose to take them from us, they could pass in peace and go to sleep in the arms of the LORD.
It’s not the sicks job to pray for themselves, it’s our job. Just a little dab of oil at Church is not enough. It said “call” for the elders of the church.
Bless God, use a cell phone, a land-line, send word any way possible and bring the elders out to where the sick are.
I think the word “elders” is plural for a reason. Surely there’s more than one elder in the Church, or at least there should be.
It’s a community effort, not that the pastor has to make every hospital call to pray for the sick. We’ve got some of these things all turned around.
Yes the pastor, but all the other elders as well, the whole team ,because if one can put a thousand to flight, see how much a whole team can do with the true realization of who they are and full knowledge of the Power that they have been endued with from on High.
If I’m sick, I’m supposed to call you and YOU are the one to anoint me with oil.
I can anoint myself, but I just might not have the strength to pray. Bring Sally and Joe and Bill and half the town if necessary or the church if necessary and you folks lay hands on me and for God’s sakes “use the gifts that are within you.”
Stop leaving it all for the doctors and nurses to do. Same thing with my broken heart, my crushed spirit, my oppressed mind.
Sick is sick whether it’s in my body, my head or my spirit. Love conquers so much. Love heals. Compassion causes hope. Words of encouragement bring healing when nothing else can.
My God, we’ve got to get a hold of this again. People are dying too soon, we’re losing people we shouldn’t be losing because we have backed away from the main thing.
And that is that the power of God can do more in moments than any one ore anything else can do. That power resides within us.
As a team, as a body that can pour forth pure love and understanding, real consideration and an absolutely determination that will accept nothing less, that we’re gonnna rub them down, bathe them, shake em if need be and use a gallon of oil if we have to but we’re not giving up until we hear from Heaven.
Can you imagine what it would be like if you were so terribly sick and someone would come over and kneel by your bed, and pray all night long if they had to until you began to feel better.
Oh, we prayed loudly in that room the way we Pentecostals pray but we also could pray quietly in whispers calling upon the name of all names.
What do you do when you’re too sick to pray?
You send out an SOS to every believer, all the elders you can and you have them gather around you bed and have them love you and pray for you until the worse has passed.
Then you rest on His promises and in the assurance that they will come back to minister to you again as long as it takes.
Let THERE faith heal you until you can have faith again on your own.
Then, turn around and go with others to give it back to someone who needs it as much as you did.
How much do we really care for one another today?
First published: July 2, 2011.
~ Robert Blackburn