In this day and age of fast food and instant gratification, many believers have become lazy in the place of prayer. We seem to favor pre-packaged prayer points to groaning from our hearts. Just go to a prayer meeting and see how prayers are made and offered. The prayer leader would probably have a book of prayers written by a man in another city, full of prayer one-liners. Prayer leader reads out the prayers, congregation repeats the prayers and pray at the top of their lungs. Usually, these prayers have nothing to do with the real issues the congregation and individuals in the congregation should be praying about. I am not in any way trying to disparage those who use this system, I am only saying it should have its place and not replace intimate prayers that involves searching your soul and pouring out your heart before your maker, the lover of your soul.
More worrying is the kind of prayers we offer. Believe it or not, the following examples are real prayer points.
Holy Ghost fire, roast all the enemies of my life.
Every enemy attacking me at home and abroad, fall down and die by fire.
One can totally understand the sentiments behind these prayer points, but can we really back them up Biblically? Some of the reasons people give for praying these kinds of prayers strike me as weird. Some say “we have to make prayers that are culturally relevant”. In other words, “since there is a witch doctor in the village that ties people’s destinies, he must die”. Some other people just flat out rebuke anyone who opposes this line of prayers by invoking their Pastor’s name. They say “do you know better than Pastor so and so who prays like this”?
You may be asking “Why I am ruffling the waters”. You may be wondering how this is relevant to anything. Let us look at some Bible passages.
Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. James 4:2-3.
The Bible here is addressing the heart and praying styles of people. God, speaking through James, brings up the following issues:
- You Lust, and have not: This speaks to inordinate and irrelevant wishes. Not everything that catches your eye in needful to you. So stop naming and claiming whatever you lust after.
- You Kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: Is this not what we seem to do so much of? Praying for people to die so we can receive a destiny that has been supposedly hidden? The Bible says with this approach, you cannot obtain anything.
- You do not have because you do not ask: The truth of the matter is that the volume of prayers or the pitch with which you make them do not influence God in any way. Complaining about a situation is not asking. Praying against strongholds that may or may not be responsible for your issues also does not qualify as asking.
- You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly: This, beloved, is the most dangerous trap of all. Many Christians are asking God to do things God is not interested in doing. Is God interested in killing off your enemies? Is the ‘Holy Ghost fire’ a roasting fire?
The Character of God as shown in the Bible, the Ministry of Jesus and the Holy Ghost is directly opposed to any prayer of fire-full destruction of people Christ died for. Take a look at these:
- God told Abraham that the Jews would remain in Egyptian captivity for 400 years until the evil of the Canaanites was complete Genesis 15:16. Why did God not exterminate them immediately so His Children can inherit their promise? It was because by Character, God skews the scales in favor of mercy. He is willing to wait for as long as possible for people to repent. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? Ezekiel 18:23
- God sent Jonah to warn Nineveh so they can escape destruction. Even when Jonah did not want to, God made sure he did. Why would God go such lengths? Because He skews the scale in favor of mercy.
- When the Disciples of Jesus asked Him to call fire from heaven to destroy some Samaritans for opposing His ministry, he turned, and rebuked them, and said, You know not what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village. Luke 9:55-56.
By nature and Character, God will do everything to ensure there is no need to destroy people Christ died for. So don’t you think it is better to be like Christ in the place of prayer? We are supposed to as Christians become increasingly like Christ. If your prayer points are diametrically opposed to the nature of Christ, then maybe you need to reevaluate your Christianity.