Q. I have seen people pray for other people and “anoint them with oil” by putting a dab of oil on their forehead. Could you tell me the purpose of anointing someone with oil, and are there rules for this? Can anyone anoint another person, or do they have to be a preacher to do this? Also, does the oil need to be blessed, and if so, who do you get to bless it? I see anointing oil being sold all over the internet. Does it have to be a special oil?
A. What you’ve seen is probably an application of James 5:14-15:
Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.
Anointing a person with oil symbolizes setting them apart for God’s purpose or special attention. It’s usually done by someone in a leadership position such as a pastor or elder, but can be done by any person praying over another. The oil itself doesn’t need to be blessed.
The oil you see being sold is usually a blend of olive oil and spices similar in some ways to what was used in the Old Testament (Exodus 30:22-25). Many believers prefer to use special anointing oil when praying over others because of its Biblical significance.