Stop with praying… and…. (part 1)

Wow! That’s a tough opening! Stop praying????? Say what?! Well, we have your attention, so that worked! Well, we want to talk with you about prayer… there is an elephant in the room…. and we need to talk about it. Numerous conversations we have, do involve the topic: prayer… Some examples…

Today I came across some bible verses. Let’s start with this one. To sketch the scene:

The people of Israel look out to the Reed Sea, are being chased by the Egyptians…

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm, and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

But it gets better… or…. uhh… wow:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.

Exodus 14:15

So then… He tells Moses to get up and tell the people to move on. This is no time for prayer, says God. This is a time to stop praying and move! Take action and move forward! Spicy message indeed…..

So, if you look at how we pray, we could think of some points where we should stop praying for a number of things… just to give 6 examples: (I know, every good pastor would have given 7 points, or 3 in a sermon, never six, but hey… this is not your average sermon. lol)

1: God has already given you what you are praying for.

In the example of Moses, God had already made it more than clear that He would save the people. Moses does say that to the people in verses 13 and 14, but Moses himself kept calling on the Lord to save them… So, Moses’ prayer had already been heard by God and God was already working on it.

Also, a “good” one: Spirit of God, come in me…..

But the Bible makes it more than clear:

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

1 Corinthians 3:16

So, why do you keep praying for something you’ve already had? You’ve already had His spirit. Full stop. Why do you keep asking?

To make it even clearer: imagine someone’s birthday, and he asks for a present. You buy that gift, give it to that person, and that person just keeps asking that they want that gift. Strange right? He already has the gift, what’s the problem? Do I have to buy the same for you him again and again? How would you like it if someone kept asking like that for something you’ve already given? Strange right? Would you buy it again? Nah….

2: Praying for God’s guidance or action, when He has already given a very clear instruction on what to do/don’t do.

Example: God, I like this girl, we already have a relationship. She is not a Christian, can You give me a sign that I can marry her? Because if she sees my good Christian example, then she can become a Christian as well. Can I God? Will you bless me?

Uhhhh…. God has already given you that answer in His word:

Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what has righteousness in common with lawlessness, and what communion is there between light and darkness?

2 Corinthians 6:14

God is MORE than clear that He does not approve of that. Then you can pray all you want… but what are you thinking? That God goes against his own Biblical answer??

Another “beautiful” one: God, do you want to take revenge on my neighbor? Because he really hurt me in some way.

Here too, God has already given you the answer.

But I say to you, Love your enemies; bless those who curse you; do good to those who hate you; and pray for those who offend you and persecute you

Matthew 5:44

Praying for revenge is not necessary and even unbiblical:

3: Asking forgiveness for something God has already forgiven:

Suppose you did something that you did later regret. You sincerely ask God for forgiveness and yet, it still haunts you… so you keep praying for forgiveness. Then this verse is for you:

But if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us. Then He cleanses us from all that we have done wrong.

1 John 1:9

Do you see that? That’s what God says in His Bible. Full stop.

It doesn’t say, “But if we keep confessing our sins over and over again, only then will God be faithful and just, to forgive us someday if you just keep asking.”

God does not forgive “a little” and yet sometimes secretly not so much. If you confess your sins sincerely to God, He forgives. Full stop. Finished. Asking again and again and again… no need to do that. Suppose you are God…. and you gave your own Son to forgive the sins of men… would you like it, when people keep on praying for forgiveness for something you had already forgiven…. Strange right?

Still not convinced that God does? What do you think of this verse:

For I will have mercy on their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.

Hebrews 8:12

God not only forgives, he forgets. And even though He doesn’t even know anymore, do you keep praying for forgiveness that He had already given? Something is not right there…..

Oh, and if you asked for forgives, please remember this verse as well:

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.

Hebrews 10:26

So that God forgave you, does not keep you the right to keep sinning… on the contrary.

4: Praying for something when God has already closed that door:

Example: God, I like this girls, for years. I would like to have a relationship with her, but she is already married.

Not only is it obvious that that door is already closed (she’s already married, that door is closed), but it goes against the more-than-clear rule that you shouldn’t covet another’s wife. Then you can pray all you want, but will that prayer really be answered? No.

5: Keep on praying and don’t act.

One who always watches the wind will never sow. And someone who keeps an eye on the clouds to make sure it doesn’t rain will never mow.

Ecclesiastes 11:4

VERY loosely translated: If you wait for the perfect conditions, you won’t get anything done. What about your trust in God if you keep praying for something year after year, don’t act because if it goes wrong…what could happen?! Do you really put your trust in God? Something to think about, right? Ask God for an answer is good, but God has also given you a brain and common sense to come to a good conclusion yourself. As long as you trust God and go with Him… why wait? Mhhhhhh… food for thought…

So, you see that praying for something that God has already answered, something that goes against His word, something that has already been clearly answered, or asking forgiveness that God already knows nothing about, has no purpose. Or even worse…

One of the things that can happen if you keep praying in those circles is that you stand still. Like Moses in the first example…

6: Prayer without real necessity

This is a tricky one because what is necessity?

For example, I was once in a car with someone else, and we were late for an appointment. Just before arriving, he said: let’s pray to God that He has an empty parking lot for us because we are already late….

Yeah….. We should have left home earlier, it’s that simple. And what massive disaster could happen if we arrived too late? Would the world end, would one less soul not to heaven because of that? Seriously?

And yes, this example may be a bit extreme. But let’s look at our own average prayers… God wants to be honored for all that He has already done for us. The world is sometimes a really rotten place with hunger, disease and more misery. Would God really answer the question of which new car rims you should buy? Or that God shows you the way to the right shop for those rims? Or that God gives you more salary, so you can buy those rims? Really? Do you think He would / should answer that prayer? Or would God be more interested in what you are doing for Him to tell more people about Him? Are we really asking Him for something that is necessary, or do we want more, more, more… for ourselves…..?

To conclude, we go back to the beginning of this blog, and also the beginning of part 2. A bumpers sticker for Moses…..and perhaps also one for ourselves:

Some food for thought…

This was part 1 in this series on prayer. Click here for part 1, 2, 3 or 4 or 5

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