That’s not a prayer

You are likely to have received a forwarded message asking you to pray and forward to a specific number of contacts. Typically I ignore such messages with a “Thank you”. When the message comes from someone who is in a position of influence I have found it helpful to put a spotlight on the particulars of the so-called prayer campaign.

Here is the pitch

We are trying to form a thousand-person prayer group to pray for the children of this generation. We want to ask God to save them... (italics are mine).

This may look like targeted prayer, but it is just another example of the kind of thing a secondhand or copycat “exorcist” or “prayer warrior ” might want to do. In the book of Acts there is the narrative about the sons of a Jewish high priest who were going around the city of Ephesus using the Saviour’s name in what they hoped would be exorcism experiences. They made the mistake of using the phrase “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” (Acts 19:13, NASB)”. These men were rascals exploiting what they thought was an effective formula, namely, “in the name of”.

The rascal sons of Sceva were not even Christians, just as there many capitalist and fame-seeking imps posing as pastors and evangelists of the Church of Christ.

The sons of Sceva, like many people in our times, were unaware that simply saying “in Jesus’s name” cannot makeover things which are not in character with Jesus. People have the power to ask God for anything whatever but they had better remember that God has a will (and testament) for all humans, and he is not about to set that aside because 1000 or 2 persons make a case.

Save people by preaching the Gospel

Here is what the message says the children of this generation need to be saved from.

  • the negative side of the Internet…
  • games addiction
  • pornography
  • wrong relationships and influences
  • rebellion
  • lewdness
  • laziness
  • greed
  • ignorance of God’s presence
  • confusion
  • helplessness
  • anxiety
  • depression

There is a name for what God saves people from: sin.

If your view of sin is legalistic you are in the misguided majority. People are not saved because they stop certain behaviours, but when they believe that Christ died and rose from the dead.

Lost people need to be found by gospel workers

This 1000 man campaign has a list that does not include unbelief. It is incredibly daft to not know that people are in darkness – lost – until they believe. Saved people know that they could not have been made aware of salvation without God personally intervening. Noone gets saved without preaching. The campaign hopes to have an entire generation just turn around because of a 30 second prayer.

Here is the rationale and instructions

They do not realize that they are moving into a deep darkness slowly but surely. Please love and care for them by joining us in the next 30 seconds to PRAY aloud (or silently as you wish) for every child of every color in every country in the world today. Then take the next 30 seconds to forward this prayer to 10 of your friends whom you think will invest 1 minute of their lives to unite with us in this prayer.
Let’s us pray:

THANK YOU! Now please forward to 10 people so we keep this prayer alight for the hearts, minds and souls of our precious children!
Prayer Works because God Answers!!

Of course the children of this generation do not know they are lost condemned. Neither did we until Christ arrested us. God has demonstrated his tender love for humanity. His hands are wounded for every human being IN SPITE OF ANYTHING THEY CAN BE ACCUSED OF DOING. The human race is in his care. We cannot put our neighbours in his care any more than we can interpret the Bible without reading it.

God answers, “you talking to me or performing for your peers?:

Our Father in Heaven, we place all the children everywhere in the world of all ages today into Your gentle but powerful hands. Please save them, have mercy on them and free them all from rebellion, lewdness, laziness and greed. May they be conscious of Your presence Lord Jesus as You take away all their confusion, hopelessness, anxiety and depression. Release Your supernatural faith, love, hope and peace in them. Heal all their broken hearts as You replace it with Your joy and strength to withstand all the temptations that come before them. Teach them how to yearn for righteousness and to detest lies and immorality. Preserve their innocence and keep their hearts pure! Save these children from every snare set up by Satan and the world that surrounds them. We claim victory for each child in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.”
🙏🙏🙏

I shudder to think that the message is the brainchild of a church leader. Claiming in prayer what we should be doing is as off the wall as are prayers to Mary and departed saints.

Can a river not wet your feet?

For more than a few years now I have been wondering why the favourite verse for many Christians is John 3:16 when the majority know what the verse says, ignore its context, really do not care what the writer intended, and are more in love with themselves than with God others.  You cannot reason your way out of the plain truth that loving like God does has little to do with keeping the rules.  What rules is God subject to and where would that put absolute and perfect freedom?  In my very pleasant work of searching the Scriptures it was a joy to see that “so” in John 3:16 has nothing to do with the amount of love God has.    Even the revered Billy Graham fell for it, even though he remain totally sold on the Lord Christ as the only Saviour.  The UK’s two great universities, Oxford and Cambridge, settled for it, publishing in the 1960s a New Testament translation called the New English Bible, with John 3:16 saying “God loved the world so much…”.   The very point of Messiah’s mission is to declare that God loves sinners.  If God can love a little then we can all jump into a river and not get wet.

Certified knowledge and experience

I am not surprised that godliness is a childish perspective of being obedient (Galatians 3:21-23, 4:1-3). It takes an abundance of convincing for me to believe that people who think they have captured what love really looks like in a policy of law and righteousness, misogyny and xenophobia, injustice, prophetic bondage, and sheer ignorance.  People running around with their own explanations of God’s character (while having no certainty of salvation or God’s gifts) will say God loves them and hates the disobedient or infidel. Fortunately for believers the revelation pipeline does not include a ton of human speculation about God’s intentions. There are only four lanes on the highway to understanding God’s interventions.

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it (signified it having sent it) by His angel to His bond-servant John,”

Revelation of John 1:1, NASB

Follow the trail of Messianic revelation in John’s prophecy.

  • God gave the picture to Messiah Yeshua
  • Yeshua gave it to his angel (most appropriately, the Holy Spirit)
  • Certification and transmission follow
  • Through the angel (the messenger) gave to John

There are no ‘sides’ to the question of God’s love.  Reorienting our “loves” to mirror God’s does not call for us to die for the sins of the world, but it most certainly means that our love for people cannot be anything less. If we let anyone take the place of God in the transmission of his doctrine (how to live with other people) then it is certain that we have missed the transmission of his message (the good news).  The rumour that the centre of spiritual life and human accountability is something other than caring about others does not come from a flowing river, but from a stagnant pond where the water has lost its wetting ability.