Devotional Thoughts: Twisted Prayers?

Does this verse mean belief is the secret to having God’s power? I can pray for a million dollars and if I believe in that enough it will be mine? This verse has been used in exactly that way before even in certain Christian circles. Can you imagine the pain this has caused? My son died because I didn’t believe enough when I prayed? My daughter is making wild, sinful lifestyle choices because when I prayed I didn’t have enough belief. When we stop to really think about this verse some huge questions arise. Prayer isn’t for us to control everything around us. Can you imagine trying to work out all those prayers if you’re God? Each human being throwing out all their wants to you and many of them contradict one another! Two people who hate each other praying for the other to die. Does God grant the wish of the one who believes the most?

Nonsense! It’s important when we interpret scripture to measure and study verses like this alongside what else the Bible says. The purpose of prayer isn’t so we can satisfy our selfish desires and get what we want. Here’s some other verses we might read to bring this text into a deeper understanding:

1 John 5:14 says, “If we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”

Here it’s made obvious that our prayers should line up with God’s will. How do we know God’s will? The first question is asking, “Does my prayer goes against what scripture teaches?” Asking revenge on another human isn’t in God’s will. The very next verse after this one instructs is to forgive.

Here’s another verse for us: James 4:2, 3 says, “You do not have because you do not ask, you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly to spend it on your passions.” Our passions or selfish desires are not the will of God, so I can say goodbye to my prayer for a million dollars!

Here’s an explanation by John Piper: “”How is such undoubting faith possible?” The only answer I can think of is that such undoubting faith is only possible if we know what God intends to do for those who believe. Or to put it another way, we can have undoubting faith if we know what God’s will is in a particular situation. How can you keep from doubting if you don’t know what God intends to do? “ Piper also points out that the verse that follows this one tells us to forgive when we pray. If I’m instructed to forgive, this takes care of desires And prayers I might have I have to zap another human being I’m upset with.

How about if we aren’t sure what God’s will is? Here’s an example of something I’ve prayed before,”Lord, I’m not sure about this situation. Here’s what I see needs to happen. I know I don’t see this as You can, so I trust You with this and ask You to act and for the best thing to be done.”

I pray this has cleared up something for someone today.

Devotional Thoughts: Fighting, Revenge and Silence

Israelite slaves have just followed Moses out of Egypt. Liberation, hope, excitement and disbelief! Fear set in… Moses, have you brought us here to die? It’s better for us to live as slaves than to die here in the desert! Nobody could have ever predicted what happened next! Moses had been with God. He had his instructions. He was an incredible leader. The people complain and Moses raises his staff and walls of water swell up! God’s people cross over the Red Sea and the enemy is swallowed into the sea.

This verse I featured in the pic on this post comes from the ESV. Instead of be silent other versions say, be still, and hold your peace. I don’t know about you but I think being silent is pretty much something that has left the building in our society. We all have an opinion on everything and feel like it’s our God-given right to express it all over the place. Yes, these Israelite slaves were doing just that, expressing fear and discontentment with Moses and where he led them. Their experience of breaking free from slavery wasn’t enough of a miracle for them to trust Moses and believe he is God’s chosen leader for them? I don’t care who we are or what circumstance we find ourselves in there’s always the opportunity to complain and bring others down or to just hush, be silent, be still and trust God. When momma said, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all,” she may or may not have known this concept comes straight out of the Bible!

This verse doesn’t just address this but also says the Lord will fight for you. How many of us really believe God fights for us? Most of us are probably pretty oblivious to how God advocates and fights for us. Our job isn’t to fight! It’s God’s job! Our job is to be quiet, trust and obey even when we are sitting in the middle of the desert and we feel like complaining, crying and questioning. We cannot even see what’s on the other side. God knows tomorrow, and the next day and the next. If I’m a follower, a disciple, a child of God who who walks in God’s ways I need not fight. I need to be quiet, be still, be silent and let God handle His job. God doesn’t even need my protection. God wants me to do His work here in the world, not share my personal opinion and critique everything. The one who is caught up in this lives in their own bondage. Let’s do our best to be quiet, trust, be calm and keep walking. God’s got this. Let revenge be of the Lord. Nobody can level the playing field like God can!

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