Note: This is a 4 part series: Click here to read the other Parts:
In my last 3 articles I looked at what I called dumb things believers pray. It showed that a lot of what believers say when they pray are either confessions of doubt, contrary to scripture, old covenant rooted and just plain unnatural and silly. The response to these articles was quite overwhelming and a lot of people asked me, “So you’ve shown us what not to pray, how about telling what we can pray?” This question in and of itself poses its own problems. The basic motive behind it is, “What can I do and what can’t I do?” I believe this too is an old covenant thought process. “What is right and what is wrong?” Who remembers that list God made about 10 things to do or not to do? Who remembers all those extra rules that were added over the years showing what is right and what is not? Whenever you try to live by a set of rules or regulations that govern what to do and what not to do, you have placed yourself under law. This is what the whole book of Galatians is about! So in regards to prayer, how do I teach somebody to pray without giving them rules and placing them under law? The moment I give you rules, do’s and don’ts, I run the risk of putting you under a performance based mindset. With regards to this, I am going to try and address the question of “So what can I pray?” without making rules…
1 Cor 10:23 “Everything is permissible”-but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”-but not everything is constructive. (NIV)
The context this scripture is about people wondering whether they can eat food sacrificed to idols or not. They are asking “Can we or can’t we?” Paul’s answer is yes. “Can we?” Yes. “Can’t we?” Yes. His answer for both questions is ‘Yes’. All things are permissible. The word permissible means something is considered lawful, or one is allowed to do it. In other words, ALL THINGS are allowed. You are allowed to eat food sacrificed to idols and you are allowed to not eat food sacrificed to idols. I know we are not discussing food but prayer, but the basis is the same. “Can we pray this?” Yes. “Can we not pray this?” Yes. All prayers are allowed. But not all prayers are beneficial or constructive. You have complete freedom to pray in whatever way, shape or from you want. That’s what freedom is all about. When I look at dumb things we pray, I am not trying to point out everybody’s faults, I am merely attacking the mindsets and traditions that keep people ineffective. Making a few changes to the way we do things can have a huge impact on the effectiveness of our prayers. The question shouldn’t be “What can or can’t I do?” The question should be “Is what I am doing beneficial, constructive and edifying?”
1 Th 5:21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. (NKJV)
There are good ways of doing certain things, and there are better ways of doing the same thing. You can reach your destination by traveling on the highway, or you can take twice as long by going via the alternative route. There is no formula, there is only faith. Having soaking services and trying to change the atmosphere to try and facilitate your own faith for healing could work to a degree. Digging into the past has proven helpful in certain cases. Even through confession of sins have we seen healings take place. Though some of the theology behind those methods might be a little whack, miracles still seem to happen. This is because God doesn’t care so much about theology as He cares about you. The method that will work for you is the one you have faith in. In the last 10 years I have tried and tested every method of prayer and ministry I came across. All the methods I tried worked sometimes and to a degree. Some worked better than others. I am smart enough to stick to the one that works best. And that one is just copying Jesus and learning to walk with Holy Spirit. Look closely at how Jesus ministered and study it out for yourself. Look at what He said, who He said it to and what the results were. Look at His motives. He only ever had 2. Love & compassion. Don’t get so stuck on what to do exactly and what not do exactly. Relationship is not built on rules and lists of what to do and what not to do. If the church would just quit looking for the magic method and just get back to loving people we would accomplish so much more together.
Yours in Grace,