They don’t exist. But Christians are nonetheless looking for ’em, and frequently claim they have one.
Years ago one of our prayer team leaders was talking about how she discovered the power of praying the scriptures.
By which she simply meant she quoted a lot of bible as she prayed. This was nothing new to me; I grew up among people who did this all the time. They liked to pray
Our prayer leader wanted to emphasize praying the scriptures because there was, she insisted, power in praying the scriptures. If we wanna tap that power, we need to pray the scriptures too.
Um… what power’s she talking about?
Well, whenever Christians talk about powerful prayers, we nearly always mean one thing: We get we ask for. Every time. Every request. God always, always answers our prayers with yes.
Yeah, sometimes we also mean powerful-sounding prayers, which is why we’ll use the
So Christians are always sharing techniques which guarantee God’ll never ever
grant us our three wishes answer our prayer requests.
When I phrase it that way, Christians balk: “That is not what I mean.”
Yeah it is. Bad enough you’re fooling yourself; don’t try to fool the rest of us.
Not that they don’t try. “I’m fully aware God has free will; he can say no whenever he wants; he can say no to unworthy, self-centered prayer requests. But what I’m doing is righteous…” and then they try to explain why they’re fully justified in reducing the holy scriptures to a magic incantation which bends God to our will.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t quote bible in our prayers. It’s actually a good idea—provided
But the attitude behind trying to make God do as we want, instead of praying as Jesus did, “Thy will be done,”
God doesn’t “owe us one.”
When we approach God in prayer, we need to get rid of these
But if we’re in any way thinking we can manipulate God’s motives in order to get what we want, we got another think coming. God doesn’t need to achieve those goals through you. Or me. He can achieve them through whomever he wants. He can achieve ’em through donkeys and rocks if he feels like it. We are never in any position where we have the upper hand over God. There’s no lever big enough to give us that kind of leverage. God hasn’t created one. Not even his bible.
It’s so absolutely foreign to the way human nature works, it’s no surprise Christians regularly botch the advice we give to one another about prayer. We’ll tell each other, “If you want God to answer your prayers, all you gotta do is
We’ll think it does, ’cause at some point we might actually get what we asked for. We’ll give credit to our techniques… and to a lesser degree God himself, which should make it obvious how there’s something wrong with this picture. If my efforts answered my own prayers, God didn’t really answer it, y’know. I did. Or the devil did. Either way, better be careful.
Our relationship with God shouldn’t be about manipulation anyway. It should be about love. We do for him; he does for us; not because we owe each other, but because we love each other. Nothing more, nothing less. That’s a healthy relationship, and if none of our other relationships are healthy, we oughta at least strive to have that sort of relationship with God. Because let’s face it: Manipulating him is doomed to failure anyway. Trying to strong-arm the Almighty is ridiculous. Just stop.