Anointing Prayer

A number of things have converged for me lately that have challenged my assumptions.  One was a conversation with a friend of mine who is a Biblical scholar and a Methodist pastor.  She pointed out that scripture is full of examples where people were anointed with oil.  I had always read these scriptures thinking that the anointing oil was a symbol of the healing character of Holy Spirit anointing, but she challenged me to take that one step further.  They are symbols, but they are much more than that.

Exodus 30 explains that the Anointing Oil was a blend that included myrrh, cinnamon, and olive oil (a carrier oil).  The Incense recipe included frankincense, for aromatic use.  These essential oils weren’t just symbols, they have useful qualities, and they were used in the community of faith for healing and spiritual health.

Then I remembered studying Esther who completed 12 months of beauty treatments, six months just with oil of Myrrh and six more months perfumes and cosmetics.  (Esther 2:12)  Her preparation to meet the King included health and beauty treatments loaded with essential oils!  It must have worked, she became Queen. God used her to rescue the family of Jacob from a plot to wipe them all out.

My friend and I continued to muse, but when she started quoting James, another level of all this clicked into place for me:

“Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray.  Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.” – James 5: 13-15

The essential oils they were using to anoint the sick weren’t just random bottles of olive oil, they were anointing oil blends that were the work of an apothecary.  The combination of these healing oils and the prayer offered in faith was a way of bringing healing to individuals and the community.  I was so blessed by how holistic and practical this kind of focused, purposeful anointing prayer can be for folks – the potential for effective ministry here is pretty amazing!  After all, we ARE spirit, soul, and body!  Why treat only one aspect of health?

A few days later, my pastor sent me this YouTube link on healing prayer.

I don’t know how far back this video goes, it’s pretty old.  When I saw John Wimber preach, he was already much older than he was in this video – and I saw him speak back in the 90’s.  He’s no longer living.  Still, I remember hearing him speak pretty vividly.  I especially remember the powerful Holy Spirit anointing that moved into the room where he spoke, it was incredibly tangible.  It gives me such a boost just to revisit that memory.  If anyone is qualified to speak on anointing, it’s John Wimber, father of the Vineyard movement.  His message on healing prayer is spot on and timeless.  I’ll be listening to it a few times to let it all sink in to a new level.

What if we combined the use of essential oils and healing prayer in our own homes and in our communities?  I feel strongly that people deserve to be well, and that shouldn’t come at a great cost.  People deserve to be connected to a caring community where spiritual and physical healing are commonplace.  So my challenge for myself and you is to find ways to participate with God in this healing ministry.  Now more than ever I believe that prayer and anointing essential oil are tools for effective ministry.

Wishing you all the anointing your spirit can hold

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