beck column

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I love how my Women’s Devotional Bible (NIV) has each chapter divided by subtitles that quickly catch my eye when I am searching for answers in God’s word.
Under the heading, “The Prayer of Faith,” the following scriptures caught my attention and henceforth this article was born.
James 5:l3-l6: “Is anyone of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is anyone of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
What is faith? Faith is belief. Do you believe in the power of a prayer of faith? When you are happy, do you “sing” songs of praise to the Lord? My personal belief here is that folks like me who have no musical talent can “sing” praises to the Lord through speaking or writing (and maybe in the shower).
Prayers of faith have been very important in my life because without my Christian beliefs, it would have been very difficult for me to have survived the heartaches and pains I have faced. After the MS attack in 2002, when my toes would not even wiggle, I was told I would never walk again. My family, friends and I were deeply troubled.
Some members from my church came to the hospital to pray for me. They asked if I believed in the power of the “anointing with oil in the name of the Lord.” I was familiar with scripture about prayer for the sick and anointing with oil, but I had never really considered it a personal blessing that could be administered to a sinner like me.I guess I thought it was only intended for “special chosen servants of the Lord.” But with the study of his word, I had come to realize that all of us who have accepted Christ as our savior are his saints. Would it make a difference if these fellow believers anointed me with oil? Did I have enough faith to believe this would help heal me? At that time, I was so mentally and physically in the depths of self-doubt that I was willing to try almost anything.
But being anointed with oil also required faith that if God wanted to heal me, he would be able to do so. Accepting the anointing with oil meant I had to work with the Lord to develop a plan of attack that would free me from that “self-doubt.”
I was reminded of a couple of my favorite scriptures. From the Old Testament, there is my favorite (Is. 40:31 … and in the New Testament Phil. 4:l3 which reads, “I can do all things through him (Christ) who gives me strength.”
During these past five years of mountains and valleys, Satan has tried, as he did in the Book of Job, to crush my spirit, to hinder my progress and to cause me to doubt God. But in James 5:l5-l6, God’s word reads: “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
E-mail Linda Beck at lindainthecards@carolina.