The designated "pray-er" mentions NOTHING that has been talked about in the sermon. It's almost as though he's been asleep through the entire Sunday message, but he knows enough to throw in nice, caring, spiritual-pablum like "be with those who are sick and can't be with us today" without even mentioning any names or asking for God to heal them. He finishes by thanking God for his blessings, and asks God for strength to live as Christians ought to live...and on and on--you get the message.
I don't really think this guy is praying to God, I really think he's just trying to sound spiritual because NOTHING he's prayed is even remotely close to being a biblical prayer, prayed in faith, and evidencing a knowledge of God. Am I being harsh or critical? Yes, you bet. Because judgment must begin at the house of God and prayers like these are a travesty. They are prayed by people who don't know God and they don't reach beyond the ceiling, if they even ascend that high. And the sad thing is that it's the Pastor who calls on these individuals to close in prayer--so what's that say about the spiritual shepherd of this local church??
Please don't think I'm picking on my Mom's church (because I am) and this sadly is what passes for Christianity in some of our evangelical churches today. It's a far cry from what we see or hear in the Bible. That's why I want to tell you about a book I'm reading, "God is the Gospel" by John Piper.
|Why are young people leaving the Church in droves?|
What is the Good News?"
Some would say:
- "The Good News is knowing that my sins are forgiven.
- Or "The Good News is knowing that I will be raptured and miss the tribulation."
- Or they might say, "Knowing that I am going to heaven and won't spend eternity in hell."
- Or they might say, "Knowing that I will be in heaven with all my loved ones, my wife and my parents."
- Or they might say, "Knowing that I will be given a new resurrection body and no longer be subject to this handicapped body and my physical infirmities.
What's wrong with these answers?
They all sound spiritual and nice, but they leave God out of the equation. They don't express any desire to be with God. The whole point of the Gospel is to KNOW God, to be WITH God, to SEE God. Everything else is icing on the cake or a by-product.
Sadly, we have become nice church people who go to God's house religiously, who say and do all the right things, but in many cases, our hearts are far from God. We love the trappings of Christianity, but NOT the Savior Himself. Our delight is in lots of good Christian things, but NOT in Jesus Himself. We love our Christian music and radio stations, and watch only good, wholesome Christian films, but we still don't know the Savior. As John Piper suggests in his book, if our delight is NOT in Him, in KNOWING GOD and BEING WITH GOD, then there's a good possibility that we aren't saved--that we aren't born-again.
Here's what a godly prayer sounds like, from one who knows the Lord and knows that God is the Gospel:
Psalm 27:4 (ESV)
4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.```````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````(to be continued...)