Several years ago, a family form Central America, brought their toddler to Tampa, Florida for medical treatment, because she was not developing and was having seizures. The doctors did not have much to offer. After one of my Wednesday morning community Bible studies at the church, we had an anointing service for the baby. Months later when the family returned to the area, they told me their little girl never had another seizure after the anointing service. The Holy Spirit had delivered their daughter from the seizures. They are still living in Central America and have not returned to Florida for several years now, but the last I heard, the little girl was still having developmental problems but no seizures.
The family said they’re very fond of me after that Wednesday morning, but it obviously had nothing to do with me. Millions of people have been healed after an anointing service, not because of the person doing the anointing or the oil, but because of the Holy Spirit’s healing power. So the fact that God has healed millions without my help shows He really did not need my help this time either.
While their daughter’s sickness was not unto death, they still asked for an anointing. Some have the idea you have to be on your death bed in order to ask for an anointing. James did not ask, are any of you about to die, but is anyone sick?
Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. James 5:14-15 NLT
While we are counselled that,
It cannot be our duty to call for the elders of the church for every little ailment we have, for this would be putting a task upon the elders. –Ellen White, Pastoral Ministry, Page 223
Still there is nothing in the Bible or Spirit of Prophecy telling us to wait until we are on our deathbed before calling the elders, as if it is a last rite instead of an anointing for healing. I have even had family members call me to anoint their loved ones who were incoherent, while the KJV makes it even more clear that the person who is sick is actually supposed to request the anointing, for healing. It is not a “last rite.”
“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church…”James 5:14 KJV
Again James asks, “Are any of you sick?” not “Are any of you about to die?” We don’t need an anointing for every scrape and bruise, yet it is our privilege to call upon and claim God’s promises at the first sign of something serious.
You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.