Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Furthermore, when tragedy and chaos invade my world and yours, as it did most recently in Paris, prayer pulls people together, asks hard questions to the only one who has the answers, and comforts the soul.

Prayer makes sense because prayer makes a difference.

Despite the overwhelming benefits of this opportunity in our lives, I’ve noticed an increasingly popular, ever growing trend on social media that sounds good on the surface but is actually quite empty and powerless.

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I know you’ve seen it someone going through a hard time will request love, help, and support, then a person connected to them will say, “Sending good thoughts/vibes your way”

Say what!?!? What are your “good thoughts” going to do for me? How will that fleeting moment of empathy or good will registering on your brain wave make any kind of difference? Want to really love, help, and support me? PRAY.

Sending #GoodThoughts might be trending but it highlights four things:

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A humanistic view It elevates us, the created, to the god-like status of Creator. Why turn to God and call on Him when my “good thoughts” have just as much power as He does? Do you really believe that it is in your power to influence external things and control outcomes in another’s life?

An absence of faith If you’re a Christian but respond to others with “good thoughts” rather than prayer, you have become what Pastor Craig Groeschel calls a “practical atheist.” You claim to have faith in God, but do not live it out in your everyday life. Mark Batterson writes in his New York Times best-selling book The Circle Maker that “Our biggest problem is our small view of God. That is the cause of all lesser evils. And it’s a high view of God that is the solution to all other problems. Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less. If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God.”

A tragic misunderstanding If your view of prayer is obligatory, meaningless, ritualistic mental energy, no wonder you want to respond in a manner that is just as ineffective. However, if you understand prayer as (1) building and enjoying a relationship with God and (2) the way to engage Him for guidance, miracles, transformation, and more then nothing will keep you from it!

A shallow, self-centered life It can’t be self-centered if you’re briefly thinking about someone else, right? Is it lazy if you’re actually moving your fingers to comment on a Facebook post? Well, it’s certainly easier to have a passing moment of silence to comfort your conscience with how humanitarian and compassionate you are than it is to persistently and earnestly talk with God about your friend. All the good intentions, warm fuzzies, and good thoughts you generate, while maintaining your usual schedule hasn’t helped one person nor will it ever. Interrupt your routine and take real action. Seek God. Pray!

The greatest tragedy in life is the prayers that go unanswered because they go unasked.

“Pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results (James 5:16.)”

What do you need to start praying about?

Rev. Jason Bentley is lead pastor, along with his wife Alejandra Bentley, of the multicultural, non-denominational HighPoint Church in Kent, Washington. He is a featured speaker for the American Clergy Leadership Conference.

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