Dear Pastor Gallups, I am of the Baptist faith and enjoy your column. I have a strong unction to pray over and anoint people with oilcloth such as a handkerchief.  I know the scripture, Acts 19:12.    Is there more in Gods word about this?  EMG – Milton



Dear EMG


The passage you refer to specifically says, “that even the handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him (Paul) were taken to the sick…” In other words, Paul himself was not in the business of sending out such articles; rather, from time to time people who were with Paul would take these articles to others as objects of faith and the anointing of Paul’s ministry.   


Paul’s primary ministry, by far, was preaching the Gospel and starting churches.  From time to time he affected miracles of healing.  This was a grand demonstration to an unbelieving world (the same one that had just crucified Jesus!) that Jesus was still alive in His believers, His church and in His anointed ministers.  The ability to work such miracles, especially by the early apostles was a huge benefit in reaching people for the Gospel.  


This should ALWAYS be the primary focus for ANY miracle or even prayer of healing.  The truth is that even if a person is healed, they will still one day…die!   So the healing would serve only temporary purposes, strictly and humanly speaking.  However, if the healing or other miracle were used to start a church, spread the gospel and save souls for the Kingdom of God…well then, that would be the legitimate use of a Biblical miracle..   


God still works grand miracles today.  I have seen many such miracles in the church that I pastor over the years that I have been there.   However, we do not hang out a sign, pass out prayer cloths or have “healing crusades” like we see so often in our world.  We simply preach Jesus, share Jesus, minister the Word and prayer and let God do the rest.


EMG, let me encourage you to keep praying for the sick and ministering to their needs. I would not put much emphasis at all on oil, hand cloths or any other object. These simply tend to bring attention to ourselves.  My emphasis would be on the Word, the Name of Jesus and a consistent prayer life.  I hope this has been helpful to you.