Anointing Service
(from For All Who Minister,
©1993 Brethren Press, pp. 260-263)


James 5:13-16
(also in responsive reading format)

Prayer of preparation


            God of numberless blessings, we ask for a special blessing in these moments.  Bless us with a keen awareness of your presence.  Be with us as we gather in the name and spirit of Christ, the great physician.  Be with us to hear the thoughts expressed in words and the longings too deep for words.  Be with us to calm anxiety, to forgive sin, to ease pain.

            God of relentless love, you are always more willing to give than we are to receive.  Open our hearts to receive your gifts of love.  Amen.

Invitation to Confession and Sharing


            ____________, so far as you know, are you at peace with God, or is there anything in your life that you believe might prevent you from receiving the full blessing of God?


            ____________, are there any thoughts or feelings you wish to share?

(pause to give opportunity for person to make any statements, then:)


            God accepts us in our brokenness.  God is faithful and just.  We are comforted in the assurance that, as we confess our sin, God forgives us, and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.  We believe, ____________, that even those things that may be forgotten, or that may be too deep for words, are not beyond God's forgiving love.  May God, who knows us completely, now bless you through this service.

(A few drops of oil may be placed on the palm of the officiant's hand
and then gently touched with the fingers on the forehead of the person
three times, once as each purpose is stated.)
            ____________, upon your confession of faith in the love and power of God, your willingness to commit your life completely to God in sickness or in health, and your desire to live your life for God's glory, you are now being anointed with oil in the name of God,                      for the forgiveness of your sins,
                                                for the strengthening of your faith, and
                                                for healing and wholeness according to God's grace and wisdom.

Laying on of Hands and Prayer


            (Those conducting the service lightly lay their hands together on the head of the person being anointed and each may offer a brief prayer, closing with the Lord's Prayer in unison. Others also may be invited to offer a brief prayer. All in attendance may wish to join hands in a circle or lay their hands lightly on the shoulders of the ones closest to the one anointed.)


            May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.   (from Romans 15:13)

             This service is generally much less formal than the above suggests. It usually takes place in a small group setting, with ministers and deacons involved, as well as family and others who love and support this person. It not only empowers those who need healing, commissioning them to this task (for they have a significant role in their own recovery), it also provides a sense of empowerment to loved ones who often feel more powerless than the person who is sick. They are commissioned to the important task of giving support and care.
            When done in a larger congregation worship setting, the time for confession is usually shifted to a more private ocassion, involving only a few persons. The intent is not to air dirty linen for all to hear, but to release (in the caring presence of loved ones and elders) that which can stand in the way of healing.
Online Resources about this ordinance of the church
  "Anointing" - online pamphlet by Dean M. Miller
  Brethren Encyclopedia article on the topic
  Bible Study on James 5:13-20 by Graydon F. Snyder and Kenneth M. Shaffer, Jr.
  "Calling for the elders" - a sermon based on James 5:13-20
  "Anointing: The Congregation's Use of Anointing for Healing and Reconciliation"
       - 48-page booklet by Dean M. Miller available for purchase from Brethren Press.


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Long Green Valley Church