Posted by: clevsea | January 8, 2007

Using Oil when praying

This topic came up on an e-loop and I decided to post it here as well.

The question was asked if anybody on the loop anointed with oil when they prayed. Here is my answer.

The first mention of using oil (for anything other than burning for light or for cooking) in the Bible is here in Genesis.

Gen 28:18 “Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and *poured oil* on top of it.”

Oil and the act of using it is mentioned many, many times. Another example of anointing an object is here in Exodus.

Ex 29:21 “And you shall take some of the blood that is on the altar, and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and on his *garments*, on his sons and on the garments of his sons with him; and he and his *garments shall be hallowed*, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him.”

Now, we’re in the New Test.

Mark 6:12 “So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and *anointed with oil* many who were sick, and healed them.

And here’s the most famous verse about using oil.

James 5:14 “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.”

——Now my own thoughts——–

I use oil sometimes when I pray and I have been asked about it a number of times. I have found it to be a little bit of a touchy subject with friends so I take my usual stance and say virtually nothing.

However, one time I was cleaning my bathtub and I was using a rag and some Comet (a powdered cleanser). My rag dried up and the cleaning process stopped working. I still had everything I needed. I had plenty of cleanser on my rag, I had the rag itself, I had the tub and I had the dirt. I did not have enough water. I stopped and re-wet my cloth and bingo, the cleaning process began to work again.

Can you picture this? I think you can if you’ve ever cleaned this way.

So it hits me. This is just like praying with oil. The oil is as inert as the water is when cleaning the bathtub. These two inert ingredients make a difference in some way, even though alone they don’t do much. The oil isn’t magic, it can’t make anything happen as far as prayer goes…so why use it?

Because the Bible said to. Simple don’t you think?

I just ask the Lord to honor the oil that I’m praying with and then I allow Him to answer or not according to His will. If He wants to look at the oil and disregard it then that is His perogative. The same with answering the prayer in the first place.



  1. Very well said, Clev… and I love how you wrap it up with an assertion of God’s sovereignty. It was Him who “ordered” the use of oil… and so whether or not it makes a difference in His answering is up to Him. It’s up to us to do what we are told to (by God) in faith, not evaluate what difference it will, will not, may or may not make.

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