How should we anoint the sick?
While the book of James’ admonition to anoint with oil and pray is well-known, we do not have any direct guidance in Scripture regarding how to go about it. However, we can infer certain things from how anointing was done in the Bible.
One of the most striking things we see in Scripture is the amount of oil that was used to anoint kings and priests. Aaron the priest, David, Solomon, and others had entire containers of oil poured out upon their heads. Indeed, Psalm 133 tells us that the holy ointment ran down off of Aaron’s head to his beard. From there it dripped down onto his garments.
When we anoint the sick, we should remember that we are kings and priests in Yeshua. Therefore, we should not hold back in our anointing. We should follow the example of Mary when she anointed Yeshua with spikenard. She gave Him all of the precious ointment that she had.
Just as we should not hold back in anointing, we should likewise not hold back in prayer. James informs us that the fervent prayer of the righteous is needful to save the sick. Prayers like this are neither routine nor quiet. A fervent prayer is one where the supplicant has committed to calling out to the Great Physician.
Lastly, in Scripture we see most anointings being accompanied by heartfelt praise to God. For instance, when Solomon was anointed king, the people rejoiced so loudly that the earth shook. (I Kings 1:40) We can loudly and fervently thank our God for the healing that He alone can give.
From the examples that we see in Scripture, we can deduce that our anointings should be complete. The person should drip with oil like Aaron the priest. Beyond that, we should cry out to God in fervent prayer for His healing. Finally, we should finish with exuberant praise to Him.