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.