Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Tell Me Your Business So I Can Pray For You"

“I need to get up in your business so that I will know what to pray about”. This was one of the most disturbing statements I’ve ever heard a minister of the gospel stand up and make before a congregation (and I’ve heard my share of disturbing comments in church). Needless to say, I didn’t share my prayer requests with him but instead I began to pray for him and those that believed what he said to be true. During the following service, this minister preached about some of the things he learned when the members shared their prayer requests. Through this and experiences like it, I’ve come to learn the hard way that you can’t share everything with every body – not even your minister. There are some things that we have to go to God directly about for ourselves.

As Christians we are able enter into the presence of God and commune with Him on our own behalf (Hebrews 10:19-22) . Although it is a blessing to have other Christians willing to pray for us and with us, we must remember to pray for ourselves. In the Old Testament, we needed someone to offer sacrifices go to God on our behalf but now we have free access to boldly approach God because we are cleansed through the blood Jesus shed for us. Not only are we able to go to God whenever and wherever we want to, but the Holy Spirit is constantly praying on our behalf for all of our needs - even those that we don’t even realize that we have (Romans 8:26). Unfortunately, many Christians forget this when a problem arises. At times of weakness they turn to man instead of God for direction. God does not want us to rely on our own reasoning or the reasoning of others. He wants us to seek Him first in everything and He will give us instruction (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Perhaps the problem is that we don’t want to wait for instruction. We live in an era where everything is instant. We have computers everywhere and I believe that we sometimes forget that God is not a computer. We think we can input the problem and within seconds, He will output the solution. Sometimes God will answer us immediately. Other times God wants us to be still and know that He is God. Sometimes God wants us to go through some tests so that He can bring us out with a testimony that he may be glorified. When we don’t get instant answers, some of us have a tendency of thinking that maybe someone else can pray a prayer or get their prayer through more quickly so we end up petitioning everyone else to petition God on our behalf when all we needed to do was ask in faith and wait on God in the first place. Then after we share everything with everyone, we’re hurt when people mask their nosiness as concern and delve into our personal lives. That’s what happened in the congregation after the minister told the people that he needed to get in their business so that he would know what to pray about instead of praying that God’s will would be done or praying as he was led by the Spirit of God.

Some people believe that because a man or woman of God may have a title or stand in a certain office in the church that God will answer their prayers more quickly than their own. In turn, they end up feeding people (like the minister I mentioned earlier) some of their inner-most problems and concerns. Some Christians cannot resist the temptation to share information that you may consider to be sacred. God is no respecter of persons. It doesn’t matter if you are a bishop or a lay member – you can go to God for yourself.

Now, I’m not saying that there is something wrong with having prayer partners or prayer groups. Nor do I believe that all ministers are like the minister that obviously just wanted to know what was going on so that he would have a timely sermon topic. But beware, watch as well as pray because there are people like this out there. Jesus said that we are to pray one for another. He also said that when two or three gathers in His name that He is in the midst (Matthew 18:20). However, if upon evaluation of the time you spend in prayer you realize that the majority the time you spend praying is with a prayer partner or in corporate prayer, please consider spending some one on one time with the Lord where you are unrestricted and can freely talk to Him. Remember prayer is two-way communication with God. He will listen to you but He wants to speak to you as well.

How do you feel about publicly stating your prayer concerns publically? Do you “tell all” or are you like me and keep it real simple with statements like “pray my strength in the Lord” to avoid disclosing personal information? Have you ever had you prayer concern spread throughout your fellowship? Let me know. I’d like to hear from you.

Shanita Waters
By His Stripes We Are Healed, Author
Now offering Book Tying Services


GOD'S LADIE said...

I have never been one to disclose all her business. I am a very private person. I learned at a very early age that sometimes people will take your problems and issues and use them against you. As you stated, you have to be wise. I rarely ask for prayer. I think I have requested prayer only twice and that was after I had prayed to GOD and believed HE was going to do exactly what I had asked HIM to do. I asked for my spiritual leaders to agree with me in prayer. As you mentioned, you have to be careful especially in these last days. "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves"Matthew 7:15. Praise GOD, you had the wisdom to pray for the minister and people of GOD.

debrah said...

I absolutely see a need for corporate prayer and for the most part the concerns during corporate prayer are not personal - I have not seen any evidence of abusing the prayer concerns from leadership or prayer teams...If that is happening in your church there must be some way to address the situation so that it will be corrected...breaking a trust like that hurts the whole body...
You are right that we are to have our own relationship and communicate with Father, Son and Holy Spirit on our own...While there are also time we are called to intercede on behalf of others and then there are times to pray WITH others not necessarily FOR others...and your right that solitary prayer is also to be part of our prayer life...perhaps that is the praying w/o ceasing...the bible says that Jesus went to pray and commune with the Father by himself many times...I agree with God's Ladie thanking God that you had the wisdom to pray for your minister and the people affected...I pray that we all use wisdom in what we share
be Blessed,
In His Love,