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What is the purpose of anointing with oil?

Submitted: 1/28/2005
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Question: What is the purpose of anointing with oil for prayer, whether it be on a person's head, or even above the doors to your house?

Answer: The New Testament makes two references to oil in connection with healing the sick. Mark 6:13 says, 'And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.' James 5:14 says, '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.'

These verses do not state specifically where the oil is to be applied, but it is generally assumed to be the head. There is nothing in the Bible about applying oil to an object such as a door jam. That is superstition.

Throughout the Old Testament olive oil is used as a representation of the Spirit of God. Some people seem to be helped by having a symbol available to focus their faith upon; hence the use of oil. It should be clearly understood, however, that there is no healing power in the oil itself. It is only a visible representation. The power to heal is in the Spirit of God.

The reason some people are not healed is because they do not call for the elders of the church. In some cases, there are no elders to call upon. In this situation, a sick person must prayer for himself and ask other faithful believers to pray for him.