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Where does the power of anointing oil come from?

By AL EARLEY

Contributing writer

I get a call that someone is dying in the hospital, and the doctors don’t know why. “Will you come anoint my loved one for healing?” I alert our prayer team, and they lift up prayers. Over and over we see God bring the loved ones who are sick and dying back to life and health.

     We have a guest missionary at worship. I feel led by the gentle whisper of God to anoint that missionary for a great blessing in their work for the Lord. We gather around the person and pray to God as we anoint. Over and over we see God revive their spirit, as well as bring new signs and wonders into the work of the missionary.  

     I gather with a family to worship and pray in their home, and write three blessings they would like God to bring to their home and their family. We anoint each doorway into the home with oil crosses, lifting up the three blessings with each oil cross. Over and over we see God bless the family with a renewed faith, and stronger family ties.  

     Throughout the Bible there are teachings about anointing people to the Lord for power ministry, consecration, and healing. Kings Saul and David were anointed (1 Samuel 10:1; 16:13). Priests were consecrated for their service to the Lord (Leviticus 8:12). Jesus was anointed near the end of his life (Matthew 26:6-13). In James 5:13-16 Christian leaders are called to anoint for healing. What is happening when we anoint with oil, especially when we see miracles?

     First, it must be understood that anointing is not some kind of magic. I don’t pronounce any special words like spells, and the oil is not some magic potion. The first time I felt led by God to do an anointing I went to Kroger, bought some extra virgin olive oil (I didn’t want the cheap stuff!), and prayed that God would bless the oil for the purposes of anointing in his power.  

     When we look closely at the scripture we see that anointing with oil is not a common practice. It occurs 16 times in the Old Testament, and only four in the New Testament. Jesus used spit twice to heal people (Mark 7:33; 8:23), and spit and dirt to make mud to heal a third person (John 9:6). He never used oil to heal.  

     The only text that calls us to use anointing oil for healing is the text from James 5:13-16, and it is in that text that we learn where the power of anointing comes from. In that text, there are several things the person who desires anointing, and those doing the anointing, are also supposed to do in preparation for the anointing. They are to pray to God. They are to call upon God’s church leaders to come and do the anointing. They are to sing songs of praise to God.  They are to confess their sins to God. Do you see a pattern here? The focus is not on the oil, the focus is upon God, and upon the attitude of the persons involved in the anointing. That attitude must be one of humility. It is when we humbly submit to God that he gives power to our simple act of anointing with oil.  Never underestimate the power of humility to receive the blessings of the Lord.

     When God has opened the doors for me to anoint someone we try to include all these things. I always pray that God will bless this anointing with his power because I have NO power, and can heal NO one. I always humble myself before the Lord when I anoint someone, and I always expect God to move in some miraculous way in that person’s life. He always does.  Not always in the way I ask, but I always see some form of physical, spiritual, or emotional healing that the person being anointed experiences as miraculous.  

     Have you ever been anointed? What were the results? Why do you think it is so important to God that we humble ourselves before him when we ask for his miracles? 

(To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles, see www.lagrangepres.com.)