Anointing is a covenantal rite.[i] There has to be a partnership between us and God for true healing to take place. God always offers restoration.
We see it each time Jesus heals. He send the healed person back to community in some way, restoring both their health and their life as part of the larger body of God’s people.
When pastors and deacons come to pray, they represent the covenant community of Christ’s church. We participate in the covenant by turning to God in prayer. It is here that James’ words really help us. He not only tells us when to pray, he reminds us that the praying community engages in all these types of prayers, not just one type. And for James, who is concerned about what we say and the trouble the tongue can get a body into, these words on prayer are an example of the proper use of God’s gift of a voice.
Our prayers are of praise and thanksgiving,
Our prayers are of confession
Our prayers are for ourselves and
Our prayers are for each other.
What stronger way to bind a community together than to know each other so intimately that we are comfortable calling on friends to come, and then to pray together.
[i] Deacon Manual for Caring Ministries (Elgin, IL: ABC, 1998) p.192-210