Stupid Teachings About Prayer

 Just when you think bad theology has exhausted itself, it pokes up its ugly head yet again.  This came in an email this week:

(Can you help me with) the faith teaching that goes down the road of “Don’t claim that!” and “Just repeat God’s word over and over.” and “We don’t confess that!” and all the teaching that makes it sound like we’ve got to muster up all this faith and if we speak it enough we’ll somehow have it and all that speaking will change us and give us power.  This has always bothered me – been there, heard the message, ran the other way a long time ago! But as it’s fresh on my mind thanks to some class notes for an upcoming summer study being left out in the copy room at my office. I’ve looked over them and the meter is screaming in the red.

My response:  As far as your question about prayer, I think this stuff is NUTS!  There is now right or wrong way to pray.  Prayer is not a technique or incantation. Our confidence in prayer is not based on what we are saying or not saying, but the One we are communing with as we simply lean in to being vessels to let his love and power flow through us as HE desires.

Then this came form someone else:

I heard someone speaking the other day about praying for the sick.  He mentioned that he had a sister with cancer, and they prayed, but unfortunately, she still passed away.  He then learned a lot about prayer, and different kinds of prayer, and realized they had been praying the “wrong way”.  He had another sister fall ill with terminal cancer, they prayed for her, and half an hour later, she was healed. The question is.  Do you believe there is a wrong way to pray for people?  Or a way that we can pray that guarantees healing?  It kind of goes against what I feel in my heart, but it’s really twisting my brain. Thought I’d see what you think about it! I’ve been in prayer asking God to show me his heart on prayer.

And now he has a book or ministry to sell with this bait that people can finally get the miracle they want from God by using his secret technique.  I hate this kind of teaching, built of an experience that may or may not even be true, but even if it is, it does not prove his premise. Bad teachings about prayer prey on the most vulnerable among us—those with a desperate need and will jump through whatever prayer hoop someone gives them even if there’s less than a 1% chance it will help.  No one wants to be left out of a miracle if there’s just one more thing they can do that will finally get the answer they want from God.

But this kind of teaching doesn’t draw us into true faith at all.  In fact, it disfigures God by making him our tool to manipulate. Do you remember the kids game we used to play where someone asks for something and says, “Please.”  Then, to be mean we said, “Say, ‘Pretty Please.'”  They do that and then we add “Say, ‘Pretty please with sugar on top,'”  and it continues. Unfortunately that’s how some people view God. He would like to help, but will withhold his blessing until they say all the right words, in the right order, with the right amount of “faith.” And when he doesn’t act, they blame themselves and keep desperately seeking for the formula that will compel him to give us our miracle.

Throw all that baloney out. Anything that makes God a miserly Father making us jump through hoops is absurd. If you think God is more inclined to heal a child’s cancer if one million people on Facebook offer a prayer for him than two or three placing that need before him, you have no idea who the God is. If you’re struggling with a need and think there’s a special way to pray that God will have to answer, then you’re using prayer as an incantation not real communion with him.  You will exhaust yourself trying to earn your miracle and in the process only grow more frustrated with God and yourself.

Jesus taught us that all God needs in prayer is a heart that seeks what’s true, a simple expression of our desire, a persistence that allows your trust in the Father’s care to grow, and the passion to see his glory fulfilled above your own convenience . From there he will do whatever is best for you and that may not be to answer your prayer the way you want.  Just remember, he cares more for you than you do yourself and he has plans unfolding that you cannot comprehend. So if your miracle happens, awesome!  If it doesn’t, then assume something greater is going on than you can see, and just keep walking with him through whatever challenge lies before you.  If there’s something more he wants to show you, trust him to do so without your frantic need to find it on your own.

That’s all any of us need to do to live in the unfolding reality of his glory, whether or not things work out the way we want.  We are deeply loved by a generous Father and that’s enough to take us through anything.

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42 Comments
  1. Ray Hernandez June 20, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Great responses Wayne!

  2. Ruth Bartlett June 20, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Wayne. Many years ago when I was in a sect, we were hounded with the ‘right way’to pray and anything less than that would not be heard! For years I wondered if I was praying in the right order (!) and addressing Father in a ‘proper’ way and at times I was so afraid of not doing it right, that I didn’t pray at all!
    Jesus responded to the disciples ‘Teach us to pray’request, by giving them a ‘sample’prayer and not an ‘order’of prayer or what must be prayed every single time, but I now see it as a guide. Now that I know I can come to the Throne of Grace at any time in any place ‘with boldness’ my prayers are conversations with Father, rather than shopping lists or endless repetition of a set formula. Basically Jesus taught us that our prayers can include Praise and Adoration, Sharing our burdens, seeking forgiveness and thanking Him for our daily provisions. Prayer to me these days is about walking each moment of each day secure in the knowledge that I can ‘drop in’for a chat whenever there is a need. In saying this, I wonder why so many of us ( me included!) request other friends pray for a specific situation that is worrying us? I know Jesus said that where 2 or 3 are gathered in His Name, but is it possible we are going overboard with sending out prayer requests to all and sundry such as on Facebook?

  3. Joan June 20, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Thanks Wayne,
    Twenty years ago, (while attending a Independent Fundamental Baptist church) my 52 year old father was dying of cancer. We prayed and prayed. We thought we were doing ‘everything right.’ He had lived a ‘godly’ life. We had ‘enough faith.’ We ‘didn’t doubt.’ We had him anointed with oil. We had everyone we could think of praying for him. We claimed faith and healing verses and had them playing on audio next to his bed. After he died, I can’t describe the pain. Not only did I loose my dad, but I felt so betrayed by God. I thought we had done our part (as if it depended on us and what we did!) and God didn’t come through for us. What a time of bitter, ugly anger for me. Ugh! Someone in the church actually said, “Maybe God is trying to teach you something.” I remember telling that person, “Why would I want to love a God that would do that to my father to teach ME something?!” No wonder I grew up being afraid of God.
    Thankfully, God has brought healing in me. It has taken Him almost 20 years, because I am slow. But He has healed my image of my heavenly Father and who He is. And I know my earthly father was given the Ultimate healing and now has a new, perfect, cancer and pain free body…he is the fortunate one–to be with Christ. He is so much better where he is. For that I am thankful. All this to say, thanks for your post on stupid teachings about prayer…I hope it saves someone twenty years of anger. 😉

    • valeri June 21, 2016 at 8:14 am

      Joan- We had an almost identical experience with a dear friend- who was a 31 year old mom. When she died, in spite of all we did, my response was to shake my fist- REALLY- I DID!- at God and tell Him we were Through. Such pain and betrayal I felt. Long story short- Weeks later, I went to a “religious event” only because I had already Paid and couldn’t get a refund. Our Gracious God used an Episcopalian priest and the End of Job to teach me this lesson: “You don’t understand the way things Are. How dare you tell Me how they Ought to be.” Humbled, grateful, smarter, I came crawling back into His arms that day, never to leave again.

      • kent June 21, 2016 at 1:45 pm

        personally, i have never found the god of job comforting…he might be a god that i could fear, but not a god i would ever love…

        • Wayne Jacobsen June 21, 2016 at 2:07 pm

          I’m so sorry to hear that, Kent. I can only encourage you to keep looking. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the most endearing presence in the universe. To know him is to love him, not as religion has disfigured him, but how Jesus made him known…

  4. Paul McLeod June 20, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    So much verbage, nonsense, sadly mixed with a seemingly deficient knowledge of God along with a fair bit if intellectual midgetry. He’s not a genie in a bottle that needs stroking this way or that way to get the desired results.

    He’s God, He’s Sovereign, we can never come even close to fully understanding Him. Thankfully we can experience Him. I’ve found that making my life’s goal walking closer and closer to Him, soaking up His Word, practising obedience to the Holy Spirit when He speaks resolves many many issues that the puny human mind cannot.

  5. Susan Adams June 21, 2016 at 12:38 am

    Amein……………I agree

  6. Erroll Mulder June 21, 2016 at 12:38 am

    Yep, these truths don’t come easy, they are learned on the anvil of persistence with God amid a confused church and the up’s and down’s of life. But once learned, what a relief and joy!

  7. Gordon Houston June 21, 2016 at 2:53 am

    I agree 100% Wayne.

  8. Zoran Sulc June 21, 2016 at 6:29 am

    This would have been more helpful if the offenders were named – so we know who to avoid – and what exactly was being taught. Otherwise this comes across as a vague rant with little substance to it. The fact is many of our sincere prayers are so shot through with doubt and unbelief that it’s almost as if we are protecting God’s reputation if we don’t receive an answer.

    • Wayne Jacobsen June 21, 2016 at 7:58 am

      I disagree Zoran. Trying to name names wouldn’t work. First, there would be too many to name and I don’t keep track of all the ridiculous things about God being taught. It goes from the so-called faith-teachers to the revivalists who claim God does miracles when people have their leaders in the right arrangement. Second, as soon as you name some, others pop up and I don’t want to have to keep track of all this. And this doesn’t always come from popular teachers but your friend or pastor who is also deceived. Finally, if I name names that would cast aspersions on ALL they teach, which wouldn’t be fair. I would rather help people be discerning and recognize that when anyone is offering you “the secret” to getting your prayers answered that you are being lied to. Prayer is the engagement with a loving Father that lets your desires be shaped by his, it is not a technique to get him to do what you want. If we get that we don’t have to worry who is saying it, we’ll know the error when we hear it and will be able to move on.

      • Paul McLeod June 21, 2016 at 8:32 am

        How do the TV evangelists operate? They bring on someone that’s written a book (that’s OK), then there’s a dialogue about the contents of the book and what wondrous things God has done (which is valid and OK), but then there’s a program break and upon return, there’s the magic formula, tidily condensed into a number of DVDs, CDs, whatever, and if you’ll “partner” with us for 49.95, God will do for you what He’s done for Mr X here. One size fits all. I actually heart one program host use the word “guarantee”.

        And the shock of it all is people fall for it. Where’s the prayer and walking with and knowing and loving God in all this? Scripture is saturated with promises for those whose “hearts are like His”. “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him”, etc., etc. In the Hebrew the context and rendering of the word secret is “special Presence”. God’s promises are “yea and amen to those who are in Christ Jesus”.

        I suppose that begs the question “are we IN Christ Jesus?”. Or is our walk with Him a casual one at best? And yet even on the mountain top we are in a continual state of desperation and need of Him. And purposeful, fervent prayer is the cord that keeps us connected to Him. God cannot resist the helpless plea of the of the sincere and fervent heart.

    • JKF June 21, 2016 at 9:54 am

      How could I have peace and joy beyond measure if I am left with the thought that I could somehow, if I got it ‘just right,’ control God and manipulate Him into answering my prayers. Talk about striving, self righteousness, works, sweat and anxiety!…Not to mention that God would no longer be God. I would, because I would have the ‘secret’ to controlling Him. And if that is the case, then Christ died for nothing.

  9. valeri miller June 21, 2016 at 8:00 am

    I have a sister totally immersed in the “Name it, Claim it, Frame it, Hang it on the wall” stuff. Makes me Crazy. As if God is some genie in a bottle, and so long as we rub his belly the right way, our every wish is His command. C.S. Lewis would say “If not this, then something better.” when faced with a difficult praying situation. Personally, I had to learn that NO is also an answer, as is “not right now.” My life belongs to Him, and He is the keeper of it. Trusting that Abba knows whats best for me is a place with a pretty steep learning curve, specially since I grew up in a Rigid, legalistic place where an All-seeing & All- knowing God was used to keep us in line. I am getting there, and it does get easier.

  10. Betty June 21, 2016 at 9:00 am

    I love this post. I had just been talking with my daughter about prayer. I love what you said about prayer being an engagement with God wherein He shapes our desires to be like His. I so want that! I was raised with many false teachings but God sees that and is faithful to teach and reveal Himself to me in ways that give me more pleasure than I have ever experienced in anything else in my life!

  11. John Labots June 21, 2016 at 10:19 am

    I call it Christian conjuring. The only thing missing is “eye of newt” in casting the magic spell of getting the supernatural God to comply.

    Or am I being too harsh?

    • Wayne Jacobsen June 21, 2016 at 11:29 am

      That’s exactly what I mean by turning prayer into an “incantation.” It puts us in control of God instead of trusting him to walk with us.

    • Lila June 27, 2016 at 5:52 am

      I keep seeing those prophets of Baal on the mountain-top dancing, shouting, and then getting really desperate!

  12. Doina June 21, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Thank you for this post, Wayne.
    About prayer.. For me it’s difficult to be really myself with God, I don’t evan realise that often I’m pretending before Him. For example, when I try to speak with Him about a situaion, what I say is not close to how I really feel. I realised that, when I talked about the same situation with my husband and I was surprised that I had completly other emotions, reactions and desires, then when I was trying to share my heart with Him.
    And then is the unbearable vulnerability to wait for Him to communicate with me. I tend to talk a lot, fill the silence with words, I’m so insecure and anxious that I won’t hear from Him, that I made up His voice, I end up having a conversation with myself.
    Most of the time I feel my life is insignificant, trivial to Him. I don’t belive He desires to speak to me. In my head I know that’s not truth, but it doesn’t help.
    Any thoughts that might be of help in this stage of the journey?

    • Wayne Jacobsen June 22, 2016 at 7:52 am

      Hi Doina… Could it be that you are concerned more with being “proper” with God and freer to b honest with your husband? Remember, the worshippers God seeks are those who come to him “in spirit and in truth.” Honesty, even with emotion, is important for us to bare our souls before him. And I’m not sure what you mean by the vulnerability of waiting for him to communicate. I don’t look for God to speak right at the moment I’m putting things before him. His thoughts and insights seep into my heart and spirit over the next few days out of what I’m reading, my conversations with others, and the thoughts that aren’t mine running through my head. It’s not that it takes God awhile to speak, I think that it takes me awhile to recognize what he is saying. Prayer is not a momentary act, but a lifestyle of thinking through stuff with God and the answers I seek often come much later.

    • Paul McLeod June 22, 2016 at 10:35 am

      I would suggest Doina that you take a journey back in time to your tender formative years and allow yourself to connect to your original image of God (usually “downloaded” from your father) as well as your church environment. Just relax and let your mind “go there”. What are the feelings that you sense as your ponder your original concept of God, Who He was, what He was like, etc. etc.?

      If you get negative feelings/emotions about Him I would suspect that He may have been misrepresented to you by someone or something that left you uncomfortable with Who He really is and what He is like. And because in your tender and formative years you didn’t have “the tools” to understand many things, you made a decision about Who He was, what He was like, and those beliefs are imbedded in you to this day.

      Let’s use my journey as an example. Without going into detail. my upbringing was very traumatic, I wasn’t loved (so didn’t feel loved obviously). Long story short, I could never believe that God loved me, for that part of me that never experienced love could never receive love, even God’s love. Why? Having not been loved at the tender formative time I came to the belief that I was unlovable.

      So this “echo” from the past haunted me for many decades. I received healing from this when through counselling and prayer I was able to “risk” allowing Jesus into that time/part of me and bring His truth to me in a miraculous way that changed my life forever. He came to that little boy and communicated His love to me in a way that I could receive it. Having heard the scripture about God is love for the many years and yet unable to receive it, I could now bask in the glory of His truth that He really did love me.

      So to sum it up, when you experience whatever reactions when you try to pray, just stop there and invite Jesus to show you why your are feeling that way and then allow your mind to go back in time to when you got that feeling about God. Just wait there . You will sense His Presence as you trust Him to come closer and closer. Just ask Him to bring truth in whatever situation caused you to believe the wrong thing about God. He will do it, and from that moment forward you will never be the same. Hint: You may need to visit other places over time to get more truth in damaged areas of your belief system. But don’t rush it. Healing takes time.

      Last point, it’s good to have a trusted friend with you in these journeys back into places you may have supressed over the many years.

  13. Dawna June 21, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    It was from Wayne that I learned my way of praying was incantations.
    I thought that it was how it was done.
    So I have been on a journey just to learn what prayer really is about.
    But I don’t understand the story in Luke 18 about the Widow and the Judge.

    • Wayne Jacobsen June 22, 2016 at 7:55 am

      Dawna, I think the point of the Luke 18 parable focuses on the persistence of the woman, not the character of the judge. He is so selfish and ridiculous, that we can rest assured Jesus is not describing God here, but our need for persistence as if he were a recalcitrant judge. But he’s not. The persistence is not to convince him, the persistence allows us to marinate in his presence so that we can better understands will and follow it. At least as I see it.

      • Dawna June 22, 2016 at 2:49 pm

        Thank you Wayne. That actually makes more sense than what others teach and turn into a pretzel about the verses.

  14. Pablo Pradales June 21, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    Thanks Wayne!!
    “Doesn’t pray better who talks much but who’s learning to listen the God’s voice”
    Pablo

  15. Craig June 22, 2016 at 4:30 am

    What if “prayer,” in its real, practical sense, is whatever we are doing in our every day lives to try to see things from the perspective of our Shepherd? It is like sheep trying to understand why He would ask us to leave THIS lovely pasture and travel through perils unknown to “another lovely pasture” (as we would assume). Until we get to the next “blessing” or revelation or His love for us, we may not understand why we are moving (and struggling). In fact, even when we get “there” we may still not understand. Yet, we still have “prayer,” which may be our willingness to allow another Entity into our internal dialogue (or/and even our willingness to allow ourselves to be exposed to His…). It is a willingness to relax, and be vulnerable, with the reality of where our heart (and mind) is, in front of Another, and One who we are learning loves us in spite of all of this. So, “prayer,” at its center, may be about what we are willing to hold loosely to in order to engage the One who desires our best, even as our circumstances unfold. Perhaps.

  16. La Rue Campbell June 22, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Wayne, I believe you are right in this article about prayer except for one thing I have in mind. In Mark 11:23 f, Jesus said for us to believe that we have received when we ask and for us to speak to our mountain (I think this is describing the problem we’re praying about) and with faith our mountain would obey us. I would like to read your ideas about this scripture. Thank you.
    LaRue Campbell

    • Wayne Jacobsen June 22, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      I think these verses like this one have been horribly misapplied especially by those who remove faith from relationships. I don’t know anyone (including Jesus) whoever moved a mountain because they believe they could and I know many who have tried, including me at younger ages. I do think God wants us to pray knowing what the outcome will be because we are so in tune with him and his ways. But this is a maturity in prayer that many lack and it is still a growing edge for me. Inside the Father’s reality anything can happen. That’s what Jesus wanted his disciples to know. But what happens is determined by the will of the Father not the belief of men. When we know him well enough we’ll be able to speak to mountains God wants to move and see them moved.

      But if people think these verses mean that they have to convince themselves that something is going to happen to see it happen, then we have condemned sick people to a life of trying to work up a belief that isn’t in their heart. I’ve seen many there too and all of them failed to find enough self-convincing to get God to act. I don’t that that’s what Jesus was talking about at all. He never saw faith as a human commodity God required, but the fruit of growing trust in the love and care of the Father and a desire for his will to be done on this planet.

  17. valeri June 23, 2016 at 8:45 am

    While we are on this subject, I have a question that arises quite often in my life. Do we pray and pray and pray about a situation until we see an answer, or ask once and leave it with God? There is scripture supporting both options, and maybe each situation will be different, so there Is no “right way” here. The unjust judge has already been mentioned. My own take on that is that even an unkind, bigoted human can be convinced to do what is right in the face of persistence. How much More will a Loving God heed persistent, heart felt prayer? There is the faith of a mustard seed mentioned by Messiah, and James talks about faith and prayer. Paul mentions that he asked 3 times to be rid of something and was finally told no. Sometimes I feel like I am Nagging God, bringing the same thing to Him over & over, yet these situations are so desperate, or involve people so Dear to me, that I can’t seem to leave it alone. Thoughts anyone?

    • Wayne Jacobsen June 23, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Valeri, I like Paul’s example that you use here. He prayed. Again, if it was on his heart to do so. Somewhere in there God makes clear to him what his purpose is so he stops asking. Prayer is a “conversation” where your thoughts and God’s thoughts begin to converge. I keep desperate things before him, but I don’t pray about them all the time, or wouldn’t do it if I felt I was nagging him because he doesn’t need to be nagged. Most likely he is doing something else in these circumstances than I’m aware of, or I’m asking him to violate someone else’s free will in those situations. Either way we keep talking about it until I have some clarity. If he sees me to pray more for some reason, I’ll feel drawn to that, not out of the fear of it not happening, but because I think God wants it, usually to show me something more than I’m seeing.

      There’s also a peace that comes when we let something rest in the Father. We’ve prayed all we know to pray and we just leave it to him asking him to help us navigate the situation without the answer we think we need. If there is something more he wants from us, his Spirit will nudge us toward it.

      • valeri June 24, 2016 at 6:59 am

        It’s interesting you mention free will, Wayne. Lately, I have become aware that I sometimes do that. Not intentionally, but I do see that in order for things to resolve the way I think would be good, someone’s will is going to be involved. I am- by nature or lack of nurture- a Brooder. I think. I fuss. Is it God’s nudging, or my worrying ? How does one learn to recognize the difference ? Does it matter?

        • Wayne Jacobsen June 24, 2016 at 3:05 pm

          It’s not an exact science. Anyone who claims to hear God perfectly makes me hesitate a bit. Paul said we know in part and see in part. Recognizing what’s him and what is us takes time and experience, which means we get it wrong sometimes. Everyone can talk about times they new for sure, but that is only by hindsight. I bet there are other times when they were wrong. That’s how it’s worked for me. Learning to listen to God comes from listening to our hearts, something the world and religion taught us to tune out. I think God brings us to conclusions that reveal his heart as a combination of insight, desire, input from others, circumstances, where we seem led to rest and what leads us to restlessness, etc. Not all desires are unGodly, nor does he have a will about everything. He wants to share with us the life he gave us. It is best to learn in small things, how God nudges us to serve someone else. Anxiety comes out of our fears and his direction comes out of our growing trust and leads us to his rest. No it doesn’t matter than we always get it right. It just matters that we’re learning to follow like a child learning piano…

          • Craig June 25, 2016 at 6:28 pm

            What if prayer is more like a place inside of us than a thing we do? If there is claiming going on, that is focused on what I think should be happening. That is not conversation. What if prayer is when I line up all that I am thinking and feeling and just let it be there in front of the Father who loves me? I have my wants and needs and perspectives. In the current circumstances, I wish I could engineer particular outcomes. And then prayer is me bringing all of that before the One who loves me and saying, “How do you see this? What do you want to do in this? What can I learn about your love in the midst of this?” If I am focused on outcomes, prayer is not going to go well. If I want to know the Father who loves me, prayer changes to be a desire to know that love in the midst of whatever is facing me and those I care about. In the end, prayer is not about changing circumstances; it is about knowing and being known by the One who is with us no matter what happens. There is a trust element, that whatever happens is just what happens, but the love of the Father is not effected by what is happening. When I or those I care about suffer, He is there. When we experience joy or fulfillment, He is there. For Him, the point is not the circumstances or how we think or feel about them, but it is the coming to know that He is absolutely there, no matter what happens or what we feel. Prayer is the place where we relax into His being there. Yes, we have desired outcomes and pressures and struggles. It is good for us to be honest and candid and sober with these things with ourselves and with Him, but the purpose for prayer is not to solve all of that but to look for how He is there and how He is thinking/feeling/leading. Prayer might be a way to open ourselves to whatever He thinks and feels and wants, as He is with us in what we think and feel and want, and moving toward the confidence that Jesus had that we are absolutely loved, no matter what we think and feel and want, and no matter what unfolds in the world around us or in the lives of those we care about. Prayer might be an opportunity to open ourselves to a greater reality that takes us beyond getting caught up in particular outcomes into an existence where deepening relationships, despite circumstances, thrive and bear fruit. Prayer might be a place inside of us we can go to access this. It my not be a tool to be used or something we “should” do.

          • Paul McLeod June 26, 2016 at 1:16 pm

            Very deep and insightful perspective that you bring to the discussion Craig. I hope I am able to respond with some relevance to what you are saying along with snippets from my own experience and perspective.
            Psalm 62:8 “Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us”. Selah.
            Could it be that knowing prayer is akin to knowing God? In some ways I tend to conclude that. For one thing, I am convinced that God wants a passionate love affair with every believer. Whatever generates that passion to pray I think would be as important to Him as any so-called outcome to our prayers and our prayer life.
            Possibly a 3 yr stint in a 3rd world refugee camp might shed more light on that, as Philip Yancee wrote in one of his books. I think there is a vast gulf between the two worlds of affluence (mainly) and nothing (mainly).
            I think it was Wayne who referred to those whom he met who had spent horrific times in prison and the like and subsequently grieved deeply upon their release when their heart and passion for God cooled.
            From the NA perspective we are hobbled in all this by the “drive through” mentality . Pull in, fill ‘er up with a lunch to go, and back on the road. I have a sister and family who ministered in the 3rd world for going on 30 yrs. Digging newborns out of garbage cans, etc. Nothing “drive through” about that.
            Personally, adversity has been a key to knowing God while developing an “effectual and fervent” prayer life. Overcoming PTSD along with heart surge and cancer did more for my spiritual intensity than any week end conference on prayer.
            Could it be that we are “spinning our wheels” in a lot of this due to lack of perspective on the global reality, especially in light of recent events? There will be a day when desperation draws Christians together in prayer, no labels or doctrines to separate them.

          • Erroll Mulder June 27, 2016 at 12:54 am

            Love you last comment Paul. I minister in African townships among the very poor. Just today I will be visiting with a brother in a tiny house – his drug-addicted son has just raped my friend’s mother. What do you say, what do you pray? At the moment I am just groaning in my spirit… (Rom. 8:18ff)

          • Paul McLeod June 27, 2016 at 3:22 pm

            In my mind I can envision what you’ve just described my dear brother but obviously can’t “connect” at the deeper level unless empowered and prompted by the Spirit, to which you alluded in Romans 8. Personally I’ve experienced a season of that with my offspring, but living in it is altogether another matter. So many unanswerable questions as to the groaning of humanity. So many enigmatic, preposterous, unsolvable and unresolveable problems, issues in the human way of thinking. Where can hope be found in such hopelessness? Rhema words of scripture come to mind.

            I recall being in a situation where I couldn’t go on and knew that I couldn’t. I locked myself in a science lab over lunch time for an hour. My Bible fell open to Psalm 62. It was like the words arose right off the page and into my heart. No more ink on paper but the finger of God writing them into my heart. I was transformed in that time, and went forward with a confidence I never had before, Prov 3.

    • Paul McLeod June 23, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Right on Wayne! You stole my answer LOL. Hearing from the Spirit covers everything.

      • valeri June 24, 2016 at 6:46 am

        Aye, there’s the rub Paul. How does one know if they are “hearing from the Spirit”? I can probably count on one hand the number of times I Know it was God speaking. Other times, I think it was , but mostly, I just don’t know. Sometimes, a thought- an entire Concept really- falls into my head so quickly and so completely- the Light bulb effect- that I know it must be Him, because my mind just doesn’t Do that. Other than that, I usually feel pretty clueless.

        • Paul McLeod June 24, 2016 at 10:03 am

          We know in our “knower” if we’re hearing from the Spirit. I love your comment
          “Sometimes, a thought- an entire Concept really- falls into my head so quickly and so completely- the Light bulb effect- that I know it must be Him, because my mind just doesn’t Do that.” For me that’s another key. “my mind just doesn’t Do that”. I think John 10 says a lot on that. If we’re following Him, His call upon our lives, we will hear His voice.

          We’ve kept a journal since 1997 on mainly a couple of threads, if you want, from the Lord. Answers to prayer and knowing that we know that we’ve heard from God. I quit counting at maybe close to 500 entries. I’ll give you one recent example, or maybe two.

          We moved here to a more upscale part of Winnipeg to be closer to the university where my wife teaches. From a S X S to one of the nicer places in Winnipeg. Long story short, it couldn’t have been, it shouldn’t have been and yet it was. It came out of a series of miracles. The “kicker” was one night I awoke with one word on my heart. I seldom have that experience. One word. Charleswood.

          That’s where we had wanted to move. In the morning as soon as we got up, I told Eleanore,
          “we’re going to Charleswood”. I was totally certain that I had heard in my “knower” what God had spoken. The rest is history, but we did hang on a cliff and chewed our nails to the bone while God tested our faith. On a humorous note, the financing was impossible in the natural, but on another night I heard in the middle of the night “and God is able to make all cash abound toward you, so that…”, and the seller came down 20 00o and the deal was done.

          Many other such examples, one night I awoke an there was a finger pointing at me. I rolled over right there and surrendered to God. I was being called to look after my elderly Dad, work full time, and on my own as the missus was in the US studying, which is another story in itself. Last note, I expect to hear from God. Even the silence to me is a language.

  18. Erroll Mulder June 28, 2016 at 12:35 am

    Thanks for your comments Paul, appreciated!

  19. Ches June 29, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Everybody beat me to the punch. Paul’s writing in Romans 8 (NIV):

    26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

    27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

    Prayer basically starts & finishes with God, and not ourselves. By the way Wayne. Did you know that Nuts spelled backwards is S-T-U-N? Shocking isn’t it?

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