Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

SlimJim Note: This is a guest post from our dear friend   I’m currently away at the moment.

In 1999 and the early 2000s a technology called the DVR became commonplace in American households. The ability to record live TV and play it back without a VCR or disc placed some freedom in the hands of the users. The most obvious benefit was the ability to speedily fast forward through commercials during your favorite show. There was one particular commercial which stands out in my mind.

I don’t recall who made the commercial, but there was a man watching a football game. His team was losing, but they were lining up for a last second, game winning field goal. Just as the ball was snapped and the kicker was ready to kick, the man in the commercial paused the TV with his DVR remote. He runs out of his house and down the street to a church building where he lights a candle and prays earnestly in a pew. Then he rushes back to his house and un-pauses the television and you can see the kicker make the kick! The man’s prayers are apparently answered and his team wins this important game.

The absurdity of the commercial is obvious. I cannot imagine anyone watching considered it a teaching about prayer, of course. But anyone watching realizes that the kicker made the kick before the man was even out of his house on his way to church. All his prayers and lighting of candles is entertaining, but it is impossible to believe even in the fictional world of the commercial that the kick was made as the result of his prayers. Whether that kick was made or missed was not going to change once it occurred. This is a reality of how time works.

Yet how often have you seen well-meaning Christians share similar sentiments. It goes like this. A celebrity dies who was well-known for his wicked behavior. Never once did the person even hint at being a believer in the One True God through Jesus Christ. As you scroll through social media you see people posting things like RIP (that’s another post), stories memorializing the person and the inevitable: “Praying that celebrity X repented and received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior before he died.”

Do you see that this prayer is as useless as the man in the commercial praying for the field goal? An event that has already completed is one time you shouldn’t pray. You will find no example in the Bible of a prayer that a completed event would be anything but what it already is.

What do you expect? That a man died yesterday and somehow your prayer today is going to change whether or not he received Christ as Lord and Savior? Christian, Jesus died so that your prayers may be heard by the Father – please keep them from being vapid. Praying about something that has already occurred simply makes no sense. There are countless examples of this that I’ve seen and heard. And if you are honest with yourself you will notice when you do it, if you do.

“Lord I pray that so and so had a good time at our church last week.”

“Lord I pray that it isn’t really cancer, that the test results were wrong.”

Here’s the formula: “Lord I pray that <insert your desire here> happened in the past.”

Similarly, we often pray about things that have already occurred, but we don’t know the outcome. Consider this prayer when leaving the scene of a biopsy: “Lord, please don’t let it be cancer!”  It’s either “already cancer: or it “isn’t already cancer.” This is another example, however technical of praying for a past event, or praying that an existent circumstance is different from what it is.

Think about it. If the doctor tells you it is cancer, how will praying that he is wrong make it wrong? The point is there is no action God could actually take in response to your prayer. If the doctor is wrong, then he’s already wrong in spite of your prayer; if he is right, and it is cancer, then praying he’s wrong won’t change that. Instead pray for healing, and more importantly, grace to endure the trial you or your loved one is facing.

Here’s the take home – do not pray in such a way that you pray for past events. When you ask God for supplication, ask Him to do things that He can do. Even our great God does not change the past. If you object and say, “Our God can do anything He pleases,” I will respond by saying, “Amen. But He gives no example in Scripture of praying in this manner, isn’t that where we ought to get our model of prayer?”

I know, hoping that people were saved is noble. Wanting people to enjoy your church gathering or for them to not have cancer is a good desire. What I’m saying is that your prayer ought to be directed rationally at our perfectly rational God. If what you mean to say is you “hope celebrity X was saved,” then say that! Just don’t speak or act like prayer isn’t something really special and important by diminishing the purpose of it by praying in ways God simply will not honor.

Ultimately, Christian, when you pray for God to do anything with a past event, you put your faith to the test. For we are to pray believing and if you are believing for something which has already occurred to be anything but what it is, you will be disappointed, maybe even disappointed by God someday. That is a place where no Christian ought to be.

For a good article on how TO pray, consider this excellent piece: Confident Christians Pray with Confidence
by Josh Buice


Read Full Post »

If you have been on WordPress for any given amount of time  you might be familiar with Vincent S Artale Jr.  He reblogs a lot of posts on Wordress and also on other platform.

Vincent has a Health Update/Surgery.  He will be having surgery tommorow  at 730am Eastern Standard Time.

Keep him in your prayers.

Read Full Post »

I really appreciated all of you who prayed for me and ministry based upon a post I shared earlier last week.  I just got back from speaking at a retreat so I am rather lagging behind with the blog this weekend.  Of course preaching at a retreat is the fun stuff with the ministry but the harder part is in the midst of sermon prep people are going through various things in lives and sometimes there are difficult late night counseling and intervention or all-day incidents.  Thank you again for your prayers.  In particular thank brother Wally for letting others know.


Read Full Post »

I was asked to comment on Matthew 6 concerning the recent controversy in which the Pope suggested that one should not understand this referring to God as the subject of not leading us into temptation.

I thought others have already made some good point of why the Pope shouldn’t make a new interpretation and translation according to exegetical reasons.  Instead of re-inventing the wheels I thought these two articles were helpful:

Is the Pope right about the Lord’s Prayer? by Denny Burk

Pope Francis, The Lord’s Prayer, and Bible Translation by Dan Wallace


Read Full Post »

Ran out of steam to finish my post I was working on last night.  I wanted to ask for prayers from you guys with the ministry God has given me.  Specifically pray for strength, wisdom and guidance with various unspoken issues. In the middle of it all I need to finish preparation for a retreat this weekend that I’m speaking for.

Read Full Post »

Charles H. Spurgeon. The Secret of Power in Prayer.  Pensacola, FL: Chapel Library, July 17th 2016. 22 pp.

5 out of 5

Free: Chapel Library

Purchase: Amazon (99 cents for Kindle)

This booklet is based upon a sermon delivered by the Prince of Preacher, Charles Spurgeon on the topic of prayer.  I was looking for a short devotional work to encourage my prayer life and this certainly encouraged me to appreciate the privilege of praying to God.  This work is based upon the verse John 15:7.  John 15:7 in the NASB states, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”  Although Spurgeon preached this message back in 1888 it is relevant even for today, which is a testimony of Spurgeon’s faithful preaching of the Bible, which of course is always relevant for our spiritual life.


Read Full Post »

This is a follow up to my previous post, “Prayer Requests for My Studies for Summer 2017 Missions”

I thank you all who have been praying.  This has really been the busiest summer I ever had in ministry as this summer was unusually busy while I was trying to prepare two courses overseas.  I see God answering your prayers with incredible productivity this past week.  Still I have much work ahead and time is ticking.

If you guys are interested in the progress here’s the breakdown:


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »