Women's Ministries

Guidelines for People Desiring Anointing

Click here for the short two page version.

The following information has been compiled and adapted by the Oregon Conference Women’s Ministries Department from sources like the Seventh-day Adventist Minister’s Manual and extensive research to help women and men understand the benefits of an anointing service.

The Oregon Conference Women’s Ministries Department places full weight in the statements from the Bible. Any other comments we advise you to compare with Scripture and seek guidance from the Lord our Savior.

We have compiled two sections: one for healing; one for being set aside for God’s purpose.

We wish to thank Ione Richardson and Peggy Casebier for their research. It is our intention that this material may be used to facilitate anointing services so that those needing healing need not wait until the annual women’s retreat but can gather people as needed for their own service. May God bless you with health and purpose for Him.

SECTION ONE: Anointing for Healing

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed (James 5:13-16 NIV).

What is anointing?
Anointing is mentioned in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Priests and Kings in the Old Testament were anointed with oil as a symbol of the Holy Spirit coming upon them to lead God’s people. In the New Testament Jesus expanded the idea by inviting people to engage in this rite when they were sick.

Why is olive oil used?
Oil represents the Holy Spirit. Oil is used because of James 5:14. However Jesus was not limited to this (see John 9:6&7 KJV).

When should you be anointed?
The Bible invites us to pray whenever there is a need. This is not just for those close to death. See the Seventh-day Adventist Minister’s Manual page 241. “The formal anointing service, however, is typically reserved for the physically sick. The text asks, ‘Is anyone among you sick?’ It does not ask, ‘Is anyone among you dying?’ … Anointing is not to bless the dying, but to heal the living … by putting our trust in God even before we look to human sources. It is to turn to God first – not just at the last.”

Who can be anointed?
Anyone. Jesus even healed non-believers. Luke 5:19, 20 tells of four friends bringing a paralytic to Jesus and Jesus commends them for their faith, not the faith of the paralytic. To the paralytic he says, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

What are people anointed for?
See James 5:13-14. Women’s Ministries has seen people anointed and healed for many and varied purposes.

Preparing for Anointing
Spend alone time with God asking Him to prepare your heart. Ask for His cleansing forgiveness so nothing stands between your soul and your Savior. 1 John 1:9 assures you that God always answers yes to requests for spiritual healing. He promises to forgive and cleanse from all unrighteousness and take our guilt away. The sweet peace that comes from knowing you are right with God becomes even more important than physical healing.

Psalm 66:18 says, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” All known sin must be confessed. God cannot bless you in your sins. “If any who are seeking health have been guilty of evil speaking, if they have sowed discord in the home, the neighborhood, or the church, and have stirred up alienation and dissension, if by any wrong practice they have led others into sin, these things should be confessed before God and before those who have been offended… When wrongs have been righted, we may present the needs of the sick to the Lord in calm faith, as His Spirit may indicate” (The Ministry of Healing, p.229).

What is sin?
Simply put, James 4:17 NIV, “Anyone, then who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”

If you feel like you cannot gain victory over a sin problem, this can be made a subject of prayer in the anointing service. Put your trust in the Lord and His grace. Jesus is able to heal every need. Besides searching your life for sins and confessing them, you may study and read the following:

  • James 5:13-16
  • Psalm 107:17-20
  • Psalm 66:18
  • Psalm 41:10
  • Jeremiah 30:17
  • Jeremiah 17:14
  • Isaiah 61:1-3
  • Psalm 103

Also, you may wish to read chapter 16 of The Ministry of Healing called, Prayer for the Sick. (included in the last section)

Two conditions for prayers being answered:
John 15:7 NJKV emphasis added, [#1] “If you abide in Me, [#2] and My words abide in you, [then] you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

Do I need to disclose why I need anointing?
“Respect the privacy of persons not wanting to speak too specifically about their ailment. On the other hand, you should learn as much as the recipient is comfortable sharing so your prayer can be specific”
(Ministers Manual p. 242).

What will happen at the service?
You will have opportunity to share your reason for requesting the anointing with one or more people conducting the service. This/these person/people will kneel in a circle around you praying and claiming specific promises of healing for you. You may request special friends to accompany you and pray for you as well. You may pray for yourself first if you wish. One person will close the prayer time by praying and touching your forehead with oil. Sometimes the group chooses to sing a song or praise God for what He has done after the anointing is finished.

How can I know if I will be healed?
You can trust God to bring you healing. Sometimes it comes as we expect, sometimes in another way. Healing is not only physical but can come with forgiveness, peace of mind, emotional well-being, etc. Sometimes God chooses to heal in stages. Some have lost their pain. Others have found relief through doctors and surgeries. Know that on every occasion of anointing, blessings can be received. Trust God to heal you as He sees fit—even if you must wait until eternity. Keep claiming James 5:15, “And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well…”

An Example Anointing Service for Healing
Start with some songs like:

Into My Heart

Then pray to invite the presence of Jesus:
There's healing in the presence of Jesus...
There's healing in the touch of Jesus - Mark 5:28 +

Explain items you may think helpful from the questions and answers in above material. Share some readings from the Bible like James 5:13-16, other passages included below or segments from The Ministry of Healing.

Invite those being anointed to gather in circles. Each circle needs an elder or a pastor and any wishing to pray for those being anointed and the one being anointed. All involved may wish to take time to confess or ask forgiveness

Those wishing anointing may express their desire for healing. They may wish to pray first. Others pray for them ending with the elder/pastor anointing them.

Scriptures may be claimed for those wishing anointing such as from the sampling below or others you may find. Verses are not included in their entirety, sometimes just the idea is presented. You may choose a version you prefer. Also included are excerpts from Ellen White: (it is not our intention that all this listing be claimed).

  • Luke 22:42 Jesus prayed "Not my will, but thine, be done"
  • Jeremiah 30:17 ... Lord ... will restore you to health
    • God's ultimate purpose in life - restore.
    • He - no human being - is the true Physician
    • heal your wounds
    • close connection between mind & body
    • when physical suffers - spiritual suffers
    • balanced health & spiritual
    • bought with a price
    • glorify God - spirit & body = God's
      • physical & spiritual - important to God
      • God wanted to heal damage & bless them with peace & truth (today, too!)
      • I will not abandon you - I will restore you
      • I will have mercy on my people.
        • v. 8 - cleanse - forgive
        • v. 9 - so that the people of the world can see what God can do for His people!
        • v. 11 - God is praised! (& recognized as God!)
        • v. 16 - The Lord our righteousness! (exalted)
        • v. 25, 26 - God would no more reject His people than change His laws of night & day
  • 3 John 2 ... prosper in spirit and be in health
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 ... body = temple
  • 1 Corinthians 10:31 ... eat & drink - all to glory of God
  • Jeremiah 33:3, 6 ... Call ... will answer - show great things
  • Mount of Blessings 84-87 ... God longs to give every good thing to those He loves.... Prayer-is idle words if it doesn't express heart felt need. But when the simple wants of the soul are expressed... when we ask, expecting it to be granted... this is the prayer of faith.
  • Matt. 9:29 "According to your faith let it be to you." - Jesus
  • Desire of Ages 536: It was by faith and prayer that Jesus performed His miracles.
  • Desire of Ages 823: He is just as willing to heal the sick now as when He was personally on earth. He desires through His representatives/servants/commissioned ones/chosen ones - to exercise His healing power.
  • Psalm 20:6 ... The LORD saves His anointed (commissioned one). He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. It's God's promise - His Word - His assurance - His pledge - His covenant - His mercy - His saving grace!
  • Psalm 18:50 ... God shows mercy to His anointed...
  • James 5:14, 15 ... Sick?... call for the elders... pray... anoint...and the prayer of faith will save... and be forgiven!
  • James 5:16 - Bouquets paraphrase... Pray for each other. Tremendous healing power is available to you through earnest prayer. -Jesus
  • Psalm 84:11, 12 ... For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows present grace and favor and future glory... No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed... is the man (or woman) who trusts in You, leaning and believing on You, committing all and confidently looking to You, and that without fear or misgiving!
  • Psalm 86 ... Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am... needy and desiring.... O my God, save Your servant for I trust in You-leaning and believing on You, committing all and confidently looking to You... Be merciful and gracious to me... Make me, Your servant, to rejoice... For you, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive... Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer... teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk and live in Your truth... I will confess and praise You, O Lord my God, with my whole... heart; and I will glorify Your name for evermore. O turn to me, and have mercy and be gracious to me; grant strength... to Your servant....
  • Psalm 103 ... Bless... the Lord, O my soul, and all that is...within me, bless His holy name!... Who forgives... Who heals... Who redeems... He knows our frame... praise... the Lord, O my soul!
  • Gospel Workers 258 ... To every sincere prayer an answer will come. It may not come just as you desire, or at the time you look for it; but it will come in the way and at the time that will best meet your need.
  • More songs: Thank You Lord

Praise Him! We cannot emphasize enough…do not bring up “tales of woe” or go back to talking about the problem. Praise the Lord for what He has done and continue to do so. You are now “healed” whether that happened during the anointing service or it will happen under a doctors care the next day or when Jesus comes. Your healing can also come in various ways physically over time, mentally or spiritually.

Another example of an anointing service may be obtained from the Seventh-day Adventist Minister’s Manual.

SECTION TWO: Anointing as to Be Set Aside for God’s Purpose

There are several examples in the Bible of people anointed for God’s service. Without a lot of explanation as to why this might still be necessary today; we invite you to study the Scriptures cited below.

1 Samuel 16:13 (David)
Acts 13:1-3 (Barnabas and Paul set apart for mission service)

The chapter below is included for extracurricular reading.

The Ministry of Healing by Ellen G. White
Chapter. 16 - Prayer for the Sick

The Scripture says that "men ought always to pray, and not to faint" (Luke 18:1); and if ever there is a time when they feel their need of prayer, it is when strength fails and life itself seems slipping from their grasp. Often those who are in health forget the wonderful mercies continued to them day by day, year after year, and they render no tribute of praise to God for His benefits. But when sickness comes, God is remembered. When human strength fails, men feel their need of divine help. And never does our merciful God turn from the soul that in sincerity seeks Him for help. He is our refuge in sickness as in health.

"Like as a father pitieth his children,
So the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.
For He knoweth our frame;
He remembereth that we are dust."

Psalm 103:13, 14.

"Because of their transgression,
And because of their iniquities, [men] are afflicted.
Their soul abhorreth all manner of food;
And they draw near unto the gates of death."

Psalm 107:17, 18, A.R.V.

"Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble,
And He saveth them out of their distresses.
He sendeth His word, and healeth them,
And delivereth them from their destructions."

Verses 19, 20, R.V.

God is just as willing to restore the sick to health now as when the Holy Spirit spoke these words through the psalmist. And Christ is the same compassionate physician now that He was during His earthly ministry. In Him there is healing balm for every disease, restoring power for every infirmity. His disciples in this time are to pray for the sick as verily as the disciples of old prayed. And recoveries will follow; for "the prayer of faith shall save the sick." We have the Holy Spirit's power, the calm assurance of faith, that can claim God's promises. The Lord's promise, "They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (Mark 16:18), is just as trustworthy now as in the days of the apostles. It presents the privilege of God's children, and our faith should lay hold of all that it embraces. Christ's servants are the channel of His working, and through them He desires to exercise His healing power. It is our work to present the sick and suffering to God in the arms of our faith. We should teach them to believe in the Great Healer. {MH 226.1}

The Saviour would have us encourage the sick, the hopeless, the afflicted, to take hold upon His strength. Through faith and prayer the sickroom may be transformed into a Bethel. In word and deed, physicians and nurses may say, so plainly that it cannot be misunderstood, "God is in this place" to save, and not to destroy. Christ desires to manifest His presence in the sickroom, filling the hearts of physicians and nurses with the sweetness of His love. If the life of the attendants upon the sick is such that Christ can go with them to the bedside of the patient, there will come to him the conviction that the compassionate Saviour is present, and this conviction will itself do much for the healing of both the soul and the body. {MH 226.2}

And God hears prayer. Christ has said, "If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it." Again He says, "If any man serve Me, him will My Father honor." John 14:14; 12: 26. If we live according to His word, every precious promise he has given will be fulfilled to us. We are undeserving of His mercy, but as we give ourselves to Him, He receives us. He will work for and through those who follow Him. {MH 226.3}

But only as we live in obedience to His word can we claim the fulfillment of His promises. The psalmist says, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." Psalm 66:18. If we render to Him only a partial, halfhearted obedience, His promises will not be fulfilled to us. {MH 227.1}

In the word of God we have instruction relative to special prayer for the recovery of the sick. But the offering of such prayer is a most solemn act, and should not be entered upon without careful consideration. In many cases of prayer for the healing of the sick, that which is called faith is nothing less than presumption. {MH 227.2}

Many persons bring disease upon themselves by their self-indulgence. They have not lived in accordance with natural law or the principles of strict purity. Others have disregarded the laws of health in their habits of eating and drinking, dressing, or working. Often some form of vice is the cause of feebleness of mind or body. Should these persons gain the blessing of health, many of them would continue to pursue the same course of heedless transgression of God's natural and spiritual laws, reasoning that if God heals them in answer to prayer, they are at liberty to continue their unhealthful practices and to indulge perverted appetite without restraint. If God were to work a miracle in restoring these persons to health, He would be encouraging sin. {MH 227.3}

It is labor lost to teach people to look to God as a healer of their infirmities, unless they are taught also to lay aside unhealthful practices. In order to receive His blessing in answer to prayer, they must cease to do evil and learn to do well. Their surroundings must be sanitary, their habits of life correct. They must live in harmony with the law of God, both natural and spiritual. {MH 227.4}

Confession of Sin
To those who desire prayer for their restoration to health, it should be made plain that the violation of God's law, either natural or spiritual, is sin, and that in order for them to receive His blessing, sin must be confessed and forsaken. {MH 228.1}

The Scripture bids us, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed." James 5:16. To the one asking for prayer, let thoughts like these be presented: "We cannot read the heart, or know the secrets of your life. These are known only to yourself and to God. If you repent of your sins, it is your duty to make confession of them." Sin of a private character is to be confessed to Christ, the only mediator between God and man. For "if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." 1 John 2:1.

Every sin is an offense against God and is to be confessed to Him through Christ. Every open sin should be as openly confessed. Wrong done to a fellow being should be made right with the one who has been offended. If any who are seeking health have been guilty of evil speaking, if they have sowed discord in the home, the neighborhood, or the church, and have stirred up alienation and dissension, if by any wrong practice they have led others into sin, these things should be confessed before God and before those who have been offended. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9. {MH 228.2}

When wrongs have been righted, we may present the needs of the sick to the Lord in calm faith, as His Spirit may indicate. He knows each individual by name, and cares for each as if there were not another upon the earth for whom He gave His beloved Son. Because God's love is so great and so unfailing, the sick should be encouraged to trust in Him and be cheerful. To be anxious about themselves tends to cause weakness and disease. If they will rise above depression and gloom, their prospect of recovery will be better; for "the eye of the Lord is upon them" "that hope in His mercy." Psalm 33:18. {MH 229.1}

In prayer for the sick it should be remembered that "we know not what we should pray for as we ought." Romans 8:26. We do not know whether the blessing we desire will be best or not. Therefore our prayers should include this thought: "Lord, thou knowest every secret of the soul. Thou art acquainted with these persons. Jesus, their Advocate, gave His life for them. His love for them is greater than ours can possibly be. If, therefore, it is for Thy glory and the good of the afflicted ones, we ask, in the name of Jesus, that they may be restored to health. If it be not Thy will that they may be restored, we ask that Thy grace may comfort and Thy presence sustain them in their sufferings." {MH 229.2}

God knows the end from the beginning. He is acquainted with the hearts of all men. He reads every secret of the soul. He knows whether those for whom prayer is offered would or would not be able to endure the trials that would come upon them should they live. He knows whether their lives would be a blessing or a curse to themselves and to the world. This is one reason why, while presenting our petitions with earnestness, we should say, "Nevertheless not my will, but Thine, be done." Luke 22:42. Jesus added these words of submission to the wisdom and will of God when in the Garden of Gethsemane He pleaded, "O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me." Matthew 26:39. And if they were appropriate for Him, the Son of God, how much more are they becoming on the lips of finite, erring mortals! {MH 230.1}

The consistent course is to commit our desires to our all-wise heavenly Father, and then, in perfect confidence, trust all to Him. We know that God hears us if we ask according to His will. But to press our petitions without a submissive spirit is not right; our prayers must take the form, not of command, but of intercession. {MH 230.2}

There are cases where God works decidedly by His divine power in the restoration of health. But not all the sick are healed. Many are laid away to sleep in Jesus. John on the Isle of Patmos was bidden to write: "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them." Revelation 14:13. From this we see that if persons are not raised to health, they should not on this account be judged as wanting in faith. {MH 230.3}

We all desire immediate and direct answers to our prayers, and are tempted to become discouraged when the answer is delayed or comes in an unlooked-for form. But God is too wise and good to answer our prayers always at just the time and in just the manner we desire. He will do more and better for us than to accomplish all our wishes. And because we can trust His wisdom and love, we should not ask Him to concede to our will, but should seek to enter into and accomplish His purpose. Our desires and interests should be lost in His will. These experiences that test faith are for our benefit. By them it is made manifest whether our faith is true and sincere, resting on the word of God alone, or whether depending on circumstances, it is uncertain and changeable. Faith is strengthened by exercise. We must let patience have its perfect work, remembering that there are precious promises in the Scriptures for those who wait upon the Lord. {MH 230.4}

Not all understand these principles. Many who seek the Lord's healing mercy think that they must have a direct and immediate answer to their prayers or their faith is defective. For this reason, those who are weakened by disease need to be counseled wisely, that they may act with discretion. They should not disregard their duty to the friends who may survive them, or neglect to employ nature's agencies for the restoration of health. {MH 231.1}

Often there is danger of error here. Believing that they will be healed in answer to prayer, some fear to do anything that might seem to indicate a lack of faith. But they should not neglect to set their affairs in order as they would desire to do if they expected to be removed by death. Nor should they fear to utter words of encouragement or counsel which at the parting hour they wish to speak to their loved ones. {MH 231.2}
Those who seek healing by prayer should not neglect to make use of the remedial agencies within their reach. It is not a denial of faith to use such remedies as God has provided to alleviate pain and to aid nature in her work of restoration. It is no denial of faith to co-operate with God, and to place themselves in the condition most favorable to recovery. God has put it in our power to obtain a knowledge of the laws of life. This knowledge has been placed within our reach for use. We should employ every facility for the restoration of health, taking every advantage possible, working in harmony with natural laws. When we have prayed for the recovery of the sick, we can work with all the more energy, thanking God that we have the privilege of co-operating with Him, and asking His blessing on the means which He Himself has provided. {MH 231.3}

We have the sanction of the word of God for the use of remedial agencies. Hezekiah, king of Israel, was sick, and a prophet of God brought him the message that he should die. He cried unto the Lord, and the Lord heard His servant and sent him a message that fifteen years should be added to his life. Now, one word from God would have healed Hezekiah instantly; but special directions were given, "Let them take a lump of figs, and lay it for a plaster upon the boil, and he shall recover." Isaiah 38:21.

{MH 232.1}
On one occasion Christ anointed the eyes of a blind man with clay and bade him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. . . He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing." John 9:7. The cure could be wrought only by the power of the Great Healer, yet Christ made use of the simple agencies of nature. While He did not give countenance to drug medication, He sanctioned the use of simple and natural remedies. {MH 233.1}

When we have prayed for the recovery of the sick, whatever the outcome of the case, let us not lose faith in God. If we are called upon to meet bereavement, let us accept the bitter cup, remembering that a Father's hand holds it to our lips. But should health be restored, it should not be forgotten that the recipient of healing mercy is placed under renewed obligation to the Creator. When the ten lepers were cleansed, only one returned to find Jesus and give Him glory. Let none of us be like the unthinking nine, whose hearts were untouched by the mercy of God. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17. {MH 233.2}