There is a plethora of prayer experts when we talk about how the Christian of today views the subject of prayer chiefly in the Church, the body of Christ. The advert in some of our Churches gives a picture of that idea or concept that some have the corner on the market when it comes to this issue on what exactly we ought to pray about. God has become like a vending machine that we go to when a need arises. When there is a want (or a need as some have defined it to be), the next thing is to pray to God and expect Him to get that need met. Put in other words, we do not go to God until there is a need or a want.
The Body of Christ has come under a tsunami of prayer experts and unlike the Berean Christians, we have not carefully gone back to the scriptures to find out if truly what we are being taught has indeed emanated from the Book or not. As long as the words have come from a “big man” of God, we automatically accept and endorse it as words coming from the God of all creation. So many things we have brought into the Church without finding out if they are heavenly endorsed and validated.
We have endorsed the fact that if there is anything the body is not comfortable with; we ought to pray about and against it because we have been told it’s from the devil and from hell. We have assumed or have been taught that the body is the same as the spirit. Again when the body isn’t comfortable, we assume that the devil is up to some evil in our lives. Our desires have also come to place and we misquote scriptures within the sacred book by saying that God will meet our desires, whether it’s evil or good, as long as it is a desire.
If we decide to look at the Bible and what it says, we will discover that the things we practice in today’s church, are in contradistinction to what the Bible says and articulates. There are many man-made concepts that has been introduced to the Church like a tsunami. Everything goes in the body of Christ as long as you keep the people happy and indirectly in bondage. We have negotiated tricks, plans and strategies to keep people in the Church not knowing that we are trying with so much effort to lead them back to Egypt, the land of slavery.
We have introduced exorcism through the way we wage war against the devil and make people drink all sorts of concoction in the name of Holy Communion. We have forgotten that Jesus said “Do this in remembrance of me” and here we are using the communion as medication. We have also introduced Gnosticism: advance knowledge that has made people turn their back on the doctrines spelt out in the Bible. As long as there is one experience or another, we ignore the instructions in the scriptures.
We have so many stories to tell about ourselves and our experiences whilst forgetting the story we have been called to herald. Feelings have taken the place of spiritual discernment; earthly justice over the salvation Christ brought and more importantly eternity has been replaced with social action. The concept is that technology is fast moving on and the worldview has changed so the church and its doctrines must also move.
How then are we supposed to view and understand what Joseph went through when his brothers threw him in the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelite’s? The work of the devil! How are we supposed to view him when he got to Potiphar’s house and a propaganda was levied against him by Potiphar’s wife; and the way he ended up in jail? Let us assume this happened in the world of Christianity today, some of us would have preached a sermon on how Joseph was attacked by the evil one putting him in prison. Now Joseph is in prison not knowing how long he was going to spend in prison. Should he have prayed and bound the devil and released angels to get him out of prison? In accordance to the teachings going around today, we would have condemned Joseph as a Christian who had no faith in God; a Christian that has been defeated by the devil and we would walk away from him, not wanting to have anything to do with a weak Christian.
Our challenges and most especially our needs and wants have shrouded and gotten our visions blurred so much that we fail to understand and ask ourselves questions if indeed God has a will and purpose for us. We have been brainwashed by preachers into believing that when we are faced with challenges, God has left us and we can only go back to Him to beg the devil to leave us. Are Christians supposed to have challenges? How does God see our challenges?
Jesus was distressed as he faced the toughest challenge of His life at Gethsemane. It was the deepest pain he suffered and yet he didn’t ask God to beg the devil. However, he prayed to God and said, “Take this cup away from me”. The caveat in His prayer was that, the will of God was of paramount importance. The Will of God was for Jesus to drink of the cup. So He drank from the cup.
Timothy had a frequent sickness as they went round doing the Lord’s work and there was not an occasion that Paul paused and told him it was the devil. Paul went through so many ordeals as he preached and taught the gospel, but never did he stop for a day to ask God to stop the devil at what he was doing. He rather glorified and boasted in his tribulations. Paul was also careful as he made a distinction between the body and the spirit. He said “I beat my body and bring it under the subjection of the spirit”. He was more interested in building the inward man than the outward one.
The Apostle also made it clear that we are going to go through challenges; he said the whole world is groaning, the ones who have the first fruit of the spirit will groan and travail like that woman who is experiencing labour pains because we need the pain to kill the flesh and make alive the inner man. He therefore advised Timothy to endure in the afflictions and tribulation in hope that Christ would come soon.
I have said all these to make a point. When we go through our challenges in life and we pray against them or we embark upon a fast to get out of those challenges, little do we know that we might be standing against the will of God. The challenges we go through today sometimes are resources that God is using to help us kill the flesh and make alive the spirit within us. If this is the case, we ought to pray like Jesus did: with the will of God in hindsight instead of fabricating the man-made prayers of getting out of the challenges because there is pain in the body and not the spirit. This is because praying against trials, suffering and affliction might mean praying against the will of God in our lives.
In Paul’s closing remarks to Timothy, he encouraged him to endure and bear up courageously in the pain and suffering he was going through. He also told the Thessalonian church that they should expect to suffer because they saw that he went through various pains and suffering. He said that the sufferings we go through at this time is not worthy to be compared to the glory that would be revealed in us.
May the Will of God be done in all our lives.