You will, no doubt, hear that the prayers of the Saints have tremendous power. I agree with this wholeheartedly. But that is not what I question today. No, I question how we use prayer and why many non-believers find it offensive to be prayed for.
What? People don’t like prayer?
Seriously, I would not lie. Many might get mad and pout about this revelation, but my curious mind always wants to know why and if there is something we can do that will help. My conclusion is that there is a legitimate reason for the non-believers to feel angry when they hear they are being prayed for. We must look at the different ways people pray for each other to understand and we must remember that prayer is the way God’s children talk with him…no different than how my children speak with me.
**Disclaimer** Regretfully, I am guilty of the wrong kind of prayers.
Sometimes a child of mine will come to me about a sibling doing something they shouldn’t. I encourage communication but I know immediately when the reason the first child came to me was to tattle. It wasn’t out of genuine love and/or concern. It was spiteful and angry. Maybe even a little smirky with a hint of na-na na-na boo-boo to the one he is reporting on. I am not happy when this happens.
Christians do this also when they pray sometimes. And much like I know my children, God knows his.
Again, there are times a child of mine has come to me to report on a sibling. This time is very similar to above, but this time is more to boost own self-image than to get the other sibling in trouble. It is more like self-gratification and again I am not happy. I do not need anyone to point out the flaws of my children. I watch them closely and know.
Christians do this also and it makes us look very unapproachable. These are the types of prayers and attitudes that give Christians a bad name. Who wants to be around someone that is perfect and will always point out your flaws? It’s like a knife in the back instead of a warm hug.
My heart softens to a puddle of mush when one of my children comes to me out of concern for his brother or sister…seeking my advice, guidance or help. I want my children to love each other and take care with one another. I want them to be selfless.
Christians do this and when they do, I imagine God smiles. If my love for my children is but a fraction of God’s love for his, wow! Just wow!
Prayer is a tool and takes much practice to get it down. We are told to pray ceaselessly. Prayer is a direct line to God through Jesus. We are encouraged to speak freely. There is a whole lot of power in prayer. Our task is to make sure it is the kind of power that makes God smile and not the type to push people away from him. Are you up for that challenge?
Peace, love and God’s will.