Saturday, April 01, 2006

Pray hard and get rich?

There's an interesting post at The Cat's Cradle, called "Thoughts on Prayer and Prosperity."

She gently takes the preachers of the gospel of prosperity to task on their "believe it and pray it enough and you'll get what you want" philosophy.

Amen, sister, and I'll put it a little more strongly.

This is a false gospel that can turn people away from God, when the results of their prayers aren't what they envisioned.

This false gospel can lead us into a wrong relationship with God. It can lead into the trap of making prayers of supplication only -- praying for those material things we want -- instead of praying for God's will for our lives to be revealed to us, and instead of developing a relationship with God through our prayer life.

The gospel-of-prosperity people have take the Prayer of Jabez out of context.

Praying that the Lord's hand be with me is different than praying for a new car or to get rich. Asking him to "enlarge my borders" is more about survival than wealth. About feeding one's family and protecting them.

I too, have held a lotto ticket in my hand as I've prayed for quick financial relief, and will again. But God answers prayers in his way, not ours.

He's kept me in my home, he's kept me fed and clothed, he's kept my old klunker running. He's maintained my health. Thanks be to God. He'll be there to help me through if I should lose these earthly and perishable things.

He has provided for me.

When Jesus said to pray "Give us this day our daily bread" rather than "Give us lots of gold coins to buy lots of bread," I take it to mean we should be satisfied with provision, and not worry about storing up riches.

He never promised his disciples an easy life, or a comfortable life, or a rich life.

Would the preachers of the gospel of prosperity say that Peter fell out of the Lord's favor, since Peter ended his life upside down on a cross? On the contrary, Jesus said, "Pick up your cross and follow me." Peter did, and literally gave his life for the Lord.

Peter had his eyes fixed on a greater prize than comfort or prosperity.

Just as rain falls on the just and unjust, so does prosperity. Some of the faithful will garner wealth, some won't. Sometimes it seems as though the wicked prosper unfairly -- in truth, they do.

Not that I have anything against winning the lotto. If I, in faith, should ever win that lotto prize, or any form of prosperity, I have to remember it belongs to the Lord, and use it as he wants.


WoundedHealer said...

Hey Pat,

I couldn't agree more. One of the standards for truth, as taught from Scripture, is that it can be taught to any people group, anywhere, at any time. Try teaching "health, wealth" to those living in the garbage dumps in Cairo, or to the prostitutes in Calcutta.

It's all about love and life in Christ - simple NOT easy. Simple meaning that any one can get it (even me), easy meaning that it requires no effort.

Thanks for the post.


Saint Pat said...

Pete, thanks. You hit the nail on the head. The only people worried about prosperity are the ones who already have their basic needs met -- like us here in the U.S.

Luckily, most of us don't know what dire poverty is. We've nver seen someone with rickets, or watched at child starve to death. We have enough to live on --so we worry about more.

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doubleknot said...

My, I loved this post about prayer and prosperity. Long ago I gave up praying for things and just pray for his will be done. He does give us lessons sometimes not pleasant ones but we should be open to learn from them - I used to call it 'hitting the brick wall' when I didn't listen and the lesson was repeated.
We here in the States are spoiled. Our poverty level is high living in other countries. I feel blessed to have what I have.

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