Thursday, February 13, 2014

Praying “over” the sick is not the same as praying “for” the sick

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.
James 5:14-5

There is a crucial word in verse 14 which has for the most part escaped the attention of the Church. In that verse we are not told to pray “for”, but rather to pray “over” the sick believer. The preposition “over” which follows the verb “pray” in this verse is ἐπί which is pronounced “epi.”

“Pray over him” in the Greek is “Προσευξασθωσαν ἐπί αυτον”.

According to Strong’s Greek Lexicon, the preposition ἐπί involves superimposition (of time, place, order, etc.); of direction when the object of the preposition is in the accusative case. Then the meaning will be “over, upon, towards,” etc. In James 5:14 the object of the preposition ἐπί is “αυτον” which is indeed in the accusative case. Thus we have the translation “pray over.”

The word ἐπί is almost always found to describe the relative physical position between two objects. It can be translated also as “on” or “upon”, as in the phrase to “lay hands on or uponthe sick.” This is the phrase which also appears in the passage from Mark 16:18: “…they will place their hands on (or over) sick people, and they will get well.”

What is praying over the sick?

Is it possible therefore that praying over the sick as James meant was exactly what Jesus taught, which was laying hands over the sick? It is not only possible, it is probable. Why should James teach something entirely new and not consistent with what Jesus taught?

As Luke 9 teaches us, Jesus also gave a measure of authority over disease and demons to his disciples. They were to use or exercise this authority in the same way that he did. And so when we examine the ministry of Peter and Paul in Acts, we often see a similar pattern. They also spoke with authority over the infirm in Jesus’ name when giving commands for them to be healed or set free. They also laid hands over the infirm on some occasions or made physical contact with them in some way.

When we understand what Jesus taught his disciples, we will understand what James taught about ministering to the sick in his epistle.

James 5:15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.

And what is “faith”?

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1

Are the sick actually healed when we pray “over” the sick as verse 15 asserts?

Yes, we have seen countless infirm believers healed in Jesus’ name when disciples pray over them as Jesus taught and commanded his disciples in the gospels. When disciples simply pray for them according to tradition, few people are miraculously healed.

We emphasize that we are categorically not teaching that the Church should stop praying for the sick as is done traditionally today. But we hope to encourage believers to learn also to pray “over” the sick as Jesus and the early disciples did.

Rev William Lau

Monday, February 10, 2014

How We First Learned To Heal The Infirm In Jesus' Name!

Picture: The Elijah Challenge that changed my ministry - Left circle: Rev William and Lucille Lau; Right circle: Rev Albert and Grace Kang
It was our dentist, Dr. Thiagan Sinnadurai, a dedicated servant of God who challenged Grace and me to attend a healing seminar organised by his house church. I was not keen to attend because I knew that I did not have the gift of healing. For over 20 years of my ministry, I did not see many successful healing miracles after my prayers. In fact, a few people died after I prayed.

On that hot day of 8th December 2005, Grace drove me to the healing seminar. I was not in the most amiable mood. I had work to do and my nerve was also not accommodating. The pain caused by the disease, Ankylosing Spontylitis, had often caused chronic pain in my part and also down both my legs.

When we could not find a parking space, I was elated. Now, I could miss the seminar and give a great excuse to Dr. Thiagan. However, God had other plan and He opened up a nice parking space for us. Still mumbling under my breath, I decided not to take my walking stick with me. With Grace helping me, I walked slowly to the training location at Bangsar.

That day was to become a defining moment of my life and ministry. Pastor William Lau, an American-Chinese, with a gentle Christ-like spirit, was systematic in his teaching. In his Elijah Challenge teaching, there were no strange doctrines or scary testimonies of being caught to heaven. This founder of the Elijah Challenge was not there to impress us with his theology but simply allowing the scriptural verses to speak for themselves. 

Verse upon verse, precept upon precept, line upon line, my eyes were opened. Suddenly everything made sense. Why didn’t they teach me this in the Bible seminary? Even after earning a Master in Divinity, this truth in the Bible had completely eluded me.

Why wasn’t I told that there is a difference between the gift of healing and the authority to heal? Why didn’t the professors teach us how to use the kingly authority to do spiritual warfare and heal the sick in the context of preaching the Gospel?

The most fascinating part was when Pastor Lau said that he would demonstrate this God-given power and authority by healing some of the participants in the name of Jesus. He did exactly that. A few participants were healed of the back pain, leg pain and other infirmities.

Then he invited some of us to try. I remember feeling the pain in my own back and facing an Indian pastor who claimed to have three numb toes. With a fellow participant, I laid my hand on the toes and commanded the feeling to return in the name of Jesus. To my great surprise, the pastor claimed that feeling had returned to his toes and he quickly testified to the other participants. That was my first experience in having immediate healing result after ministering.

Grace and I were to attend the same seminar another three more times and subsequently took an advance training with Pastor Lau. Since then, our ministry has been completely transformed. It is filled with power and miracles which is line with what the Bible says about the kingdom of God as not being a matter of talk but of power (1 Corinthians 4:20).

Grace and I had personally healed many in the name of Jesus with the God-given authority and power. In the last eight years, we have trained Christians from both the mainline and Pentecostal/Charismatic churches in seminars and training sessions. We have the joy of seeing our trainees healing the infirm in the name of Jesus and literally thousands are being miraculously healed.

Rev Albert Kang
Elijah Challenge Asia

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Commanding The Sick To Be Healed Versus Praying For The Sick

By commanding, the lady was healed of her frozen shoulder

The most convincing evidence that ‘ordinary believers have been given power and authority to heal the sick in the context of evangelism’ is indeed biblically viable is the positive results. The stark contrast in the number of people healed before and after The Elijah Challenge training is like between heaven and earth. Personally, not more than ten people were healed in my twenty-plus years of using ‘prayer for the sick’ method as compared with thousands healed in the last eight years, using the ‘authority and power to command’ approach.  This experience is not exclusively mine alone. Every believer who exercises his or her God-given authority and power to command the infirm to be healed the infirm in the name of Jesus receives very positive result. 

For example, in a healing seminar where I was a participant, I saw two believers praying for this lady who had a painful shoulder because of bone spurs. When these spurs rubbed on her rotator cuff which is a group of muscles and tendons that manage the movements of the shoulder, she suffered tears, swelling and extreme pain. The two believers, with all good intention, were closing their eyes and crying out to the Lord for quite a long time. Nothing happened. The woman was apparently in pain throughout the whole process. 

I felt bad for this lady and interrupted their prayer session. I told them to stop praying and shared with them the biblical approach used by Jesus and the apostles - which is to command the infirmity to go in the name of Jesus. They paused and looked at me because they did not know me. I had to assure them that I am a pastor and am involved in the healing ministry. Then I asked them to keep their eyes open, place their hands over my hand as I laid hand on the painful shoulder. Instead of praying and asking Jesus to heal, they joined me in rebuking this infirmity with the power and authority given by the Lord (Luke 9:1-2). Immediately the lady felt relief. When asked from the scale of 0 (no more pain) to 10 (original pain), how was she feeling, she said it was a 'two'. 

The two believers were thrilled that this miracle was happening before their eyes. We joined effort and commanded the pain to go and the shoulder to be healed two more times. The lady was completely healed. She was able to reach her back with that formerly painful arm. She swung the arm, first cautiously and then vigorously. She lifted the arm up and put it down. She did that several times with disbelief in her expression. Smiling widely, she told us that she had no more pain. The two believers and I clapped and gave glory to God. Praise the Lord for giving all of us the 'power and authority' to heal the infirm in His name. 

Rev Albert Kang

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Crippled Man Healed

Grace and I visited a shop in Puchong, Malaysia, to get our picture frame fixed. While the young frame-maker was cutting the glass, an elderly man shuffled into the shop. Both his knees had become deformed and curved inward towards each other. When he walked, his movement resembled that of a penguin walking. He turned out to be the young man’s uncle. As we smiled at the elderly man, the Holy Spirit prompted me to heal him. I looked at Grace and she had also received the same prompting. It is quite common for us to simultaneously receive such type of prompting from the Holy Spirit and the result is usually positive. We looked at each other for a moment and fully understood what we had to do.

As the elderly man settled himself behind a desk, we quickly struck up a conversation with him. He talked much about his involvement with a local political party. He was also quite dedicated to the work in his Taoist temple. When asked about his view on Christianity, he was very amiable. He said that he appreciated the Christians because “they are good people”. He disclosed that a church was conducting their weekly service in the shop space next to his shop. When the worshippers needed to use toilet facilities, he would gladly let them use those at his shop.

We then asked him about the condition of his legs. He revealed that he had an accident about twenty years ago and had since become crippled. Was it inconvenient and painful for him? He said it was not a problem because he had gotten used to his crippled legs. We told him about Jesus and that the Lord could heal him. The man felt that the healing would be unnecessary because after all those years, he had become used to his handicapped condition. We insisted and after some hesitations, he relented.

The man apologized as he took off his shoes. We laid our hands on the deformed knees and crooked shin bones. We did not pray for healing. We simply applied our God-given authority and commanded the legs to be healed in the name of Jesus. After that, we asked the man to walk. He smiled as he walked up and down. He said he felt so much better. For three more times, we laid hands and commanded the legs to be healed. After every command, his legs became stronger and evidently, he was walking much better than when we first saw him. After the final command, he was walking normally and by then, his nephew had stopped working on our frame. The young man was speechless as he observed his uncle walking normally. The elderly man promised to give thanks to God for healing him in the church that was situated next to his shop.

This type of supernatural evangelistic approach is to happen repeatedly in our ministry. God works His miracles when we exercise our ‘mountain-moving’ faith.  Matthew 21:21 is very clear:  "if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea', and it will be done”.
Rev Albert Kang


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