Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Praying For the Sick Problem

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
Does public prayer for the sick sometimes invade people's privacy? Such prayers have become a legal concern in some situations, according to The Dallas Morning News. Pastors who once freely prayed for the sick by name in a service, or printed information in the church bulletin, have reluctantly stopped, or offer only a general prayer. Americans are more worried these days about their privacy being compromised, according to the newspaper. Pastors say information about a person's illness or personal problem, sometimes given without their knowledge, can spread on an email prayer chain list or chat room, sometimes with erroneous details. Also, church members may not want information about their illnesses being mentioned in church because their employer, an estranged family member, or an insurance agent may be in the congregation. That is true in large, impersonal churches more often than in small congregations, pastors say. United Methodist Bishop William Oden of Texas told the Morning News that naming illness in worship services or bulletins is so common that pastors sometimes are criticized if they fail to do this. Listing only the names of the sick in a church bulletin "whets the appetite for wanting more information." (From ReligionToday/Crosswalk)

Sometimes praying publicly for the sick can indeed be a problem, because the pastors are not informed or pastors are informed by the sick not to pray for them publicly. Either way can be a real problem and a cause for some to become upset. But the above adds a new twist to the problem. Can the church today no longer publicly apply the teaching of James 5:14,15?

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