“You anoint my head with oil”

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” –Psalm 23:5, TNIV

Before I was appointed at Resurrection, I was not very familiar with the practice of anointing someone with oil. However, here I have found that it is a common practice and I have made it a part of my common practice.

When I am visiting someone before surgery, I will anoint their head with oil in the sign of the cross. After conversation with the individual and others in the room, I will read scripture – usually from Psalm 23 – anoint the person having surgery on her or his forehead in the sign of the cross and pray for healing. After I finish reading the scripture passage I say, “Oil has been used in the Old and New Testaments as a sign of God’s presence and for healing.” It also helpful that Psalm 23 mentions one’s head being anointed with oil.

Another occasion in which oil is used at Resurrection is at baptism. After the water has been used, the pastor will anoint the head of the person who has been baptized as another sign of God’s seal on the person.

Oil will also be used at occasions of prayer – for a particular need or for someone seeking guidance. Again placing oil on the thumb or finger and making the sign of the cross while saying the words “(name), I anoint you in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” Then entering into prayer with the individual.

I have found that this practice has been one that has added meaning and significance to a time of prayer.

4 thoughts on ““You anoint my head with oil”

  1. That’s great. We’ve been doing that in our church, and I think a lot of people in the charismatic tradition are using anointing oil now. I believe in its power as an affective aid to prayer (not that it does anything on its own, but as a symbol of God’s favor).

  2. Interesting that you posted about anointing. Tuesday night in our weekly worship, we had an anointing for all gathered.
    In Creighton’s series on the life of David, his sermon Tuesday was about Samuel’s anointing of David.
    At the end of the service, we celebrated communion and then each person came to Creighton who put the sign of the cross on their head with oil, laid hands on their heads and blessed them, “Now go and become a man/woman after God’s own heart”.
    It was really powerful.
    We were a little iffy about doing it because we didn’t want to freak people out :0
    But ultimately, most of the students were so blessed by it! There were a few who remained in their seats but – at least they didn’t flee the scene!

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