First, I’ll bet you’ve been wondering where I’ve been the past few weeks. I’ve been contemplating. Yes, really. I’ll do a better job of staying connected through social media while contemplating in the future.
So, what have I been contemplating? Christianity, naturally. More so, whether or not I wanted to approach this subject as head-on as I’m about to do. You see, I don’t just write for sport, and I’m not interested in getting material out there that doesn’t create positive Christian change in us. Anything less on my part would be a disservice to you, and you deserve better. I recently read that “best is the enemy of better”, and I don’t put out theological teachings when they are just “the best I can do” when I can do better. So I gave this matter much thought and prayer. This matter goes against both conventional thinking and social norms these days. I just know that the Bible is right about this, and I would be remiss not to talk openly and honestly with you about it.
Here goes: prayer warriors, disband.
First, let me clarify that I’m in no way suggesting not to pray in groups. Group prayer is important for the communal value it has for us all as Christians. We should get together often and worship God. Besides, as Pastor Dr. John C. Maxwell said in his book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, “One of us is never as smart as all of us.” When we pray together, we learn new ways to pray from each other – ways that are concise, correct, and Christ-like. People can only get better when they learn from one another, and so it also goes with prayer.
Here’s what I’m getting at. Have you seen those posts floating around on social media asking for prayer warriors to get together and pray for someone? They typically go something like, “Prayer Warriors: please get together and pray for my brother, who has been diagnosed with cancer. Unite and pray for him! The more prayers, the better!”
Folks, that simply ain’t so.
In the book of Matthew, chapter 6, verses 7-8, Jesus taught us to offer quiet, introverted prayers to God that are free of distraction and audience attention. He said, “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.” There’s no need to gather the masses to get your prayer heard any louder than just praying by yourself.
This is not all that Jesus had to say about the matter. In verses 5-6, Jesus said:
When you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for fifteen minutes of fame! Do you think God sits in a box seat?” “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
Again, no spectacle needed for true prayer to God. Besides, do you really want “warriors” involved in your prayers, or would you rather have Christians instead? Finally, have you ever noticed that prayer warriors always want you to pray for something they want instead of something you want? It’s a selfish form of prayer that simply isn’t needed.
Finally, consider this: the prayer of one person, alone and in touch with God, has as much power as prayers offered up en masse. Could you, even for a moment, believe a loving God would pay less attention to the single prayer of a small child kneeling by their bedside than those offered by prayer warriors? Absolutely not. It doesn’t take an army of people praying for the same thing to get God’s attention. It only takes coming to Him, in humility and reverence, in the quiet places in your life, to get God’s equal and undivided attention to your prayers. In my life, I have seen many prayer warriors lose their “battle” for what they prayed for, and watched many people that prayed alone receive what they asked for. I’m not suggesting that the thing they asked for was right or wrong. I’m suggesting that all of the attention-getting that comes with the “prayer warrior” tactic does nothing to help and is contrary to Jesus’s teachings for how we should pray. By the way, do you know what comes next in the Bible after Jesus’s comments above? The Lord’s Prayer. Not only does He tell us what not to do, he tells what not to do, as any good teacher would.
I hope this message has reached you in the right tone. I have been told that “there is no way anything you have written could offend anyone.” That’s a good thing since my purpose is to bring Christianity to as many people as will receive it. However, I don’t want to avoid topics that are difficult just because they are difficult and may be controversial. I was once told by my grandfather to “never talk to people about politics, money, sex, or religion.” Well, I can’t think of four more important things to talk about with everyone. When we avoid these controversial topics, we lose out on the chance to enhance our understanding of them and how to live virtuously. When we do that, we live in ways that please God. Therefore, I hope this topic and its message fill your heart and mind with a new understanding of the power of prayer. Just like the young child praying at their bedside, your single prayer has equal power to all other prayers. No need to rally prayer warriors behind your cause in order to be heard; God hears you loud and clear.
May God bless you, now and always.