7 MYTHS about Prayer

Image result for praying hands

 

The misunderstanding of prayer is hurting people. It’s leading them astray into frustration and faithlessness. It’s not uncommon to hear of people’s exasperation at ‘unanswered’ prayer. Still others are ‘on the outs with God’ because their prayers are unfulfilled.

Not only that, but mockers are using it against the faithful when they see evil in the world. They say things like, “your thoughts and prayers are meaningless.” In one sense they’re right because they’re attacking the MYTHS about prayer that many believers are telling!

We must understand prayer. We need to teach it to people. To this end, here are the top 5 MYTHS about prayer.

 

The first MYTH is that MONEY & prosperity shows up without effort. I’ve heard people say, “if God had meant for me to be rich, I would be rich.”

He does want us to be financially secure and has given us laws about money that we can follow to become financially secure. Laws like…

Debt: “…borrower is servant to the lender.” [Prov 22:7]

Work: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” [Eph 4:28]

People pray for financial prosperity while simultaneously break the rules of God about finances.

The 2nd MYTH is that God will say YES to every petition. Experience should show them this is wrong and scripture says it directly.

If you doubt, “For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” [Jas 1:7]

And, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” [Jas 4:3]

God gives no guarantee when we ask amiss.

A 3rd MYTH is that God will TAKE away all pain & evil. Where did you get that? This is the one the MOCKERS cite in their criticism of God. “Since there’s so much evil in the world God is either powerless, unkind or non-existent.”

This myth assumes that heaven is on earth. It’s never taught that way in scripture. Heaven is a place prepared for the obedient faithful (but I repeat myself) after the destruction of the world & it’s evil. [2Pet 39-10; Rev 21:4]

The 4th MYTH about prayer is that God will HEAL everyone everywhere of everything. That’s absurd. This myth misses the teaching about the purpose of miraculous healing done by Christ and the Apostles in the first century.

Miraculous healing (1 of 9 spiritual gifts) were for the express purpose of showing God’s confirmation of those who were teaching the Gospel and the New Covenant of Christ. In one instance, Jesus said, “Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.” [Mark 2:9-11, emph mine seb]

This is just one of many proofs to show that the miraculous healing of that day was for the purpose of confirming the word of God.

Does God want good health for us today? I believe so because the bible teaches it, but not in the way MYTH tellers say. We need to learn about this and teach it accurately.

The last MYTH about prayer is that God will just beam SCRIPTURE into their mind without study. It’s true that God gave inspiration to some for the purpose of revealing His will and they wrote it down for us today [Eph 3:3-4]. It IS NOT TRUE that you should expect that same inspiration today. When you read what is written you can;

BELIEVE, UNDERSTAND, PROFIT, PLEASE GOD, & KNOW GOD’S WILL.

[John 20:30-31; 2Tim 2:15; 3:16-17; 2Pet 3:15-16]

Misunderstanding prayer is making spiritually weak and lazy believers. God wants us to pray to Him, but He also commands it be done “according to His will” [1John 5:14] which means we must know what He wants and be obedient to His will.

This morning’s sermon will cover this and more about Godly prayer.

—Spencer

7 steps to a better faith

EVEN FROM THE time of the chosen twelve, up until today, folks have sought to increase their faith. I’ve often wondered about the Lord’s answer, “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” [Luke 17:5-10]

It’s seems that our Saviour is telling us to get busy and to serve Him. We serve Him by keeping His commandents [John 14:15; 1John 5:3; Matt 7:24]. When the Prophet Elijah was emotionally down from the pressures of Jezebel’s persecution, the Lord came to him and asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Upon hearing Elijah’s pessimistic view of the world God said, “Go…” [1Kings 19:9-18]. His command to “go” was for Elijah to finish his work. No “thank you”, no “you sit here and I’ll get somebody else”, no “oh, I’m so sorry.” God said “GO!”

Is “go” really the answer to this request for an increased faith? I believe it is. An active faith has always been a requirement of God’s people. It was the inactive faith that has caused many to be punished. Just read about the complaining and diobedient children of Israel in Exodus, Numbers and Hebrews 3. Their lack of an active faith kept them out of the promised land.

INCREASE OUR FAITH

In another passage on faith, the Apostle Peter gave instructions on how to add to our faith. “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith…[2Peter 1:5]. Let’s examine the inspired 7 step plan for a better faith.

ADD TO YOUR FAITH

Virtue; the greek word is “arete” and has the meaning of “moral excellence.” When adding to our faith, the first step is to look at ourselves and cleaning up our own sins. One way to do this is to recognize who we are as God’s children.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: [1Peter 2:9]

Knowledge; Knowledge is a seeking to know, investigation. To often, the folks dealing with a weak faith are also weak in their own knowledge of God. Romans 14 and 1Corinthians 8, speaks about a weak faith and it’s connection to knowledge. Paul urged the faithful to read, study and teach. What would a better understanding of God’s word do for your faith? [Ephesians 3:4; 2Timothy 2:2,15]

Temperance; Having self-control, as this word is defined, is what keeps us out of sin. We must practice it daily. Though God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able, as well as providing a way of escape, we must have enough control over ourselves to take the escape, [1Corinthians 10:13], …against such is no law. [Galatians 5:23]

Patience; The word used here is a cheerful enduring patience. None of us knows when the Lord shall return, but we endure cheerfully because we believe He keeps His promises and is a rewarder of those who are diligently seeking Him [Hebrews 11:6]. Built upon knowledge of God’s word, patience is added to our faith through the comfort of the scriptures [Romans 15:4].

Godliness; The next addition to our faith is defined as godliness. Conforming to the laws and wishes of God is the definition of godliness. Everyone gets this, from the atheist to the most ardent believer. Command keeping, although condemned by most denominations, is an essential aspect of our faith. Look back at the original request “increase our faith”, Jesus answered it by describing an obedient servant.   

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, [2Peter 3:11]

Brotherly kindness; Translated love in many places, this is a brotherly affection. One of the building blocks of our faith is kindness toward each other, in particular, toward those of the household of faith [Galatians 6:10].  Romans 12:10 says, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” And Peter wrote, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:” [1Peter 1:22].

Charity. In the KJV, the greek word “agapa” is called charity. This is a sacrificial  love toward another. This is the love God has toward us in John 3:16; Romans 5:8. Love can only be described by the action it prompts. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” [1John 4:7-9-13]. And this is the word used in John 14:15, “If you love me…”

Review this list often. Do you see how doing these things can “increase our faith?” If there’s any doubt, read what is said about this list. “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [2Peter 1:8]

I’m unworthy to serve

What do you do, as a Christian, when your life is a shambles?

We attempt to disappear, becoming invisible. By becoming less involved.
We feel we’re unqualified to serve, assist, give aid because we have been such a failure.
We feel we’re unqualified to evangelize. Why would anyone believe us since we’ve failed in so many ways?
The worst is we feel so dejected, thinking our lives should be better now that we’re saved. We begin to think and act as if saying, “What’s the point?”

Is that you? Don’t be shy, because many times it’s me also!

So what is a Christian to do when it seems that nothing is working?
  • We can look at Moses….
    • losing the ability to enter the Promised land, pleading to go in. De 1:37; 3:23-29;
    • yet at the transfiguration of Jesus, Mt 17:3-4
  • We can look at Joshua….
    • He and Caleb had to endure 40 years of wandering also, Nu 32:13,
    • yet entering the promised land to lead the people of Israel to serve God. Nu 27:18-23
  • We can look at David….
    • Committed adultery with Bathsheba, lied, caused another to get drunk, conspired to murder; 2Sam 11
    • yet still called, “..a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.” Ac 13:22
  • We can look at Elijah….
    • requested that he might die; and said, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life;” 1Ki 19:4
    • yet continuing on passing his mantle to Elisha 2Ki 2:1
  • We can look at Paul….
    • made havoc of the church, Acts 8, persecuting, death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. Ac 22:4
    • yet becoming a great evangelist and Apostle, writing 13 books of our New Testament.
  • We can look at Peter….
    • Denier of Christ, cursing & swearing, Mark 14:70,71
    • yet a preacher of the gospel, preaching in spite of imprisonment, Acts 2 & 4

How sad it is that we fail to serve fully because we feel so unworthy, being so imperfect in our lives. I’ve got news for you, we are all unworthy! (Lu 17:10 We are unprofitable servants)

The reality is this, we are BETTER servants because of our failures. We are able to identify, have compassion and empathize with one another. As humans together, we can sympathize with one another, facing the same trials as everyone else.

Paul himself had a major “thorn in the flesh” that he pleaded with the Lord three times to have removed. Look at what the Lord said to him……

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2Co 12:9

Paul’s response gives us even further encouragement…..

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2Co 12:10

Let us serve in spite of our troubles. Through Christ, our weakness gives us strength. So let me give you a little PEP talk……(inspired from a talk given by Scott Futrell)

  1. Pray – ask God for strength, boldness, help. In 1Co 10:13, it says; There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
  2. Engage – get involved, become a servant of God despite your sorrows and your pains. An incredible thing will happen, you will get strength. From God, from other members, and you just may be able to help someone else. Mt 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
  3. Persevere – stick with it. Remain faithful, for a reward awaits you at the end of this life when the Lord comes to receive His own. Re 2:10 …be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Jas 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

One more thing, we have a sympathetic Savior…..

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Heb 4:15, 16

spencer
Borger, Tx
806/274-5021

Ask me how to make your calling and election sure. 2Pet 1:10