Psalm 46:1-11 & Isaiah 61:1-4 & Luke 17:11-19
In His book, Prayer – Does it make any Difference, Phillip Yancey reminds us that God is in partnership with us in fulfilling our destinies. Sceptics on the power of prayer and of healing say – ‘If God is present doesn’t he already know what’s best, so why bother?’
We do bother, because using the same logic, we might say why wash our hands, if God intends them to be clean, why do anything? God could have arranged things so that our bodies nourish themselves miraculously without food, or that knowledge could enter our brains without study or that umbrellas could magically appear to protect us from rainstorms.
Yet God chose a different style of governing, a partnership where we can choose to get involved as both healer and healed. We all today have made a partnership step – it’s now time to act under the instruction of our senior partner.
O God, the giver of health and salvation, we give thanks to you for the gift of oil.
As your holy apostles anointed many who were sick and healed them, so pour our your Holy Spirit on us and on this gift, that those who in faith and repentance receive this anointing may be made whole; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Invitation To Anointing And Prayer
Brothers and sisters, receive this invitation.
Are any among you sick?
Call for the elders of the church
and have them pray over you,
anointing you with oil
in the name of the Lord.
The prayer of faith will save the sick,
and the Lord will raise you up;
and anyone who has committed sins
will be forgiven.
Therefore confess your sins to one another,
and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.
The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.
Finally, we are reminded that this service of healing is also about gratitude and witnessing to the healing power of Jesus and to our Holy God.
So we read from Luke 17:11-19 [NRSV]
Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers
11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ 14 When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ 19 Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’
As we read in verse 21 of Luke 17 – ‘the kingdom of God is among and within you’ – celebrate and witness that cornerstone of faith and go from this place, having been served and healed and loved so you may also bring service, healing and love to others.