Hey everybody. Been away for a minute, especially since I focused a lot of my attention on responding to comments made on my last blog. Minister or Maniac stirred up a hornet's nest, but God is still good. His Word always prevails.
Back with an interesting post here. "Please Don't Pray For Me." What in the world is the Scribe talking about on this one? Everyone needs prayer, right? I agree. As long as the prayer is for God's ears and as long as the prayer is sincere. But I have had the displeasure of hearing some church folk drop the goods on someone else in the form of a prayer request. Clever way to disguise gossip, isn't it? Let me illustrate.
Say we're all in a circle, preparing to leave the worship experience and it's time to close out in prayer. "Any prayer requests?" the religious leader asks. Someone in the audience raises a hand. Now...here we go.
"Pastor...I would like the church to pray for sister so and so and we must pray earnestly. The devil is busy! We need to pray that God convicts her, because she's living with a man and has been in that state for a while. Shackin' is wrong church, so we need to pray that God speaks to her heart, turn her from her wicked ways. Those who know the worth of prayer, pray her strength in the Lord. Amen."
Hmmm.....what just happened? Everybody in the prayer circle now knows the sister's been shackin' up. I have seen this happen and I'm sure many of you have too. Maybe not this particular scenario, but someone's personal affairs have been brought public under the guise of concern. We must be more discerning listeners to determine what is true prayer and what is pretense.
What will happen after that? Now...the spiritual Christian cringes, because the request didn't have to be that detailed. And those who love the Lord won't take that information any further. But how many of us know, not everyone in church is spiritual. Everybody can't hold water. So, before the fakers hit the vestibule, cell phones blowing up! Something to talk about. Hot off the presses. So, the dangerous churchgoer who kicked off the prayer pretended to show concern and at the same time dropped a bug in everyone's ear about a "family" member. We have no business airing out someone else's dirty laundry in a prayer to God. That is NOT what prayer is for!
Should the sin be exposed? Absolutely. But not in a public prayer! But as one of the anonymous bloggers said in my last post, the offender is addressed PRIVATELY. If the sister doesn't hear...take a witness. If she doesn't hear after that...THEN we bring her before the church, with the sole purpose of leading her to repentance (cf. Matt. 18). If she doesn't hear the church...the Bible says treat her as a heathen or a tax collecter (cf. Matt 18:17). AVOIDANCE or excommunication. And God is our model for this procedure. Throughout Scripture, He warned His people repeatedly before bringing judgment.
Who would I like praying for me? Those who know and appreciate the heart of God. Prayer can't have a clandenstine agenda. Prayer is dialogue between God and people. And our understanding of prayer will correspond to our understanding of God. Would God endorse our calling out a sister like that? Be your own judge. Yes, preach to the BEHAVIOR. Don't expose the PERSON. Ask yourself this question, though. Would we want God entertaining a prayer like that about ourselves? Do we want God putting all OUR business on a big screen for everyone to see? Think about it...we ALL have some issues we hope and PRAY that God won't make public. Those private sins...yawl know what I'm talking about. Those sins only we and God know about. Nobody is exempt!
Be careful. We reap what we sow. You tell someone's business, your business is gonna get told. The world says it like this, "What goes around, comes around." So...
If you like to gossip....PLEASE DON'T PRAY FOR ME.
If you can't hold water about MY issues...PLEASE DON'T PRAY FOR ME.
If you want the church to consider you the 411....PLEASE DON'T PRAY FOR ME.
If you could care less about God's heart....PLEASE DON'T PRAY FOR ME.
If you don't know or care about the purpose of prayer....PLEASE DON'T PRAY FOR ME.
Who would I like to pray for a brother here? Those who love the Lord with all their heart, mind, soul, body and strength. TALK to God for me! Please! And we DO have folk in the church who don't live dangerously. Gotta appreciate them....much love.