James 5:13-16 says this:
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Why does James prescribe anointing the one who is sick with oil? Does oil heal? Not according to Pastor Brian Croft, in this blog post:
There is a New Testament connection with the Old Testament anointing of oil as a setting apart of someone for God’s blessing and spirit to come.
For the Christian, one is either delivered for God’s glory or one suffers for God’s glory. Either way, there is a calling involved. And that calling is signified by the anointing with oil.
Suffering, in other words, doesn’t turn you into an object of pity. It sets you apart for special purpose-mirroring into the world Christ’s sufferings and his bearing up under them in love, focusing on God in the midst of one’s own misery, and saying hour after hour, day after day, as Jesus did on the Cross in Luke 23:46, “Into your hands I commend my spirit.”
You see, the point of James 5:13-16 (and 17-18, too) is not “Pray hard when you’re sick. If you’re righteous, God will heal you.”
It is “Are you suffering? Keep praying the hours. Are you joyful? Keep praying the hours. Are you sick? Keep praying the hours, and call the elders of the church to come pray with you and anoint you for the special calling that comes with illness: either the calling of mirroring God’s healing to the world, or the calling of mirroring the fellowship of his suffering. Pray the hours like Elijah did, throughout the day.Prayer that is bigger than your suffering and your joy and your needs will bring healing and transformation and righteousness. So keep praying!”
Sum it up and say: Biblically, we don’t pray in order to be healed. We pray because we are healed-in the most fundamental healing of all, which is salvation from sin and death.