This short single-issue article compares normal prayer with another kind of prayer.
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Matthew 6:9-13 (Jesus said) Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
as we also have forgiven those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
- Faith in a powerful God - The prayer begins by acknowledging God as Father and that his name is holy. This prayer assumes that God is all-powerful and the only one who is able to carry out our requests.
- Asking God to act - It then moves on to a desire for God's kingdom to come and his will done on earth - this is a big idea but incorporates the propagation of the gospel and the rule of God. The rest of the prayer covers repentance, forgiveness and personal requests regarding our daily needs and help in living a righteous life.
- According to his will - The prayer asks for God's will to be done. Of course, God can only answer our prayers according to his will! (Matt 26:39, 42, John 5:30, 6:38, Rom 8:26-27, 1 John 5:14-15)
- Prayers in the Bible - Prayers in the Bible may include praise, worship, thanks, repentance, vows, complaint, expressing sorrow, joy, faith etc. and a lot of asking! There are so many examples of prayers in the Bible which we can learn from - here are just some of them!
(Gen 25:21, 28:20-22, Ex 32:11-14, Deut 9:26-29, 1 Sam 1:10-11, 2 Sam 7:18-29, 1 Kings 8:22-53, 18:36-40, 2 Kings 19:14-19, 20:2-6, 2 Chron 20:1-19, Ezra 10:1, Neh 1:4-11, Psalm 5:1-12, 8:1-9, 22:1-31 38:1-22, 42:1-11, 51:1-19, 139:1-24, Jer 17:14-17, 32:16-25, Dan 9:1-19, Jonah 4:1-4, Matt 6:5-15, Luke 10:2, 11:1-4, 18:9-14, John 11:41-42, 17:1-26, Acts 4:23-31, 8:15-16, Eph 1:15-23, 3:14-19, 6:18-20, Phil 1:9-11, 4:6, Col 1:9-14, 4:2-4, 1 Thess 3:10-13, 2 Thess 1:11-12, 3:1-2, 1 Tim 2:1-4, 8, 5:5, 2 Tim 1:3, Phm 1:6, Heb 5:7, James 5:13-18, 3 John 1:2)
This is a distorted version of the prayer with expressions often used by those following "Word of Faith":
“‘Our Father in heaven,
I declare that your name is hallowed,
I decree that your kingdom has come,
and your will is done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
I claim my daily bread in Jesus name.
I believe that my sins are forgiven,
and declare forgiveness over those who sin against me.
I take authority over every temptation,
and reject all evil from my life.’
- Commands instead of requests - This is no longer the prayer that Jesus taught us! It has become a set of commands, declarations, decrees, claiming, taking authority etc. often used by Word of Faith. You will not find prayers or commands like this in the Bible. It is true that commands are sometimes used in healing and deliverance (Acts 3:6, 16:18) - and in certain prophetic situations (1 Kings 17:1). True prophecy is not generated by man but by God (2 Peter 1:21, Jer 23:21-22) - this must also be true of our statements as it was for Jesus when he cursed the fig tree (Matt 21:21-22, Mark 11:22-24). We cannot simply make things happen because we want them to happen! Those involved in Word of Faith often do not pray in the normal Bible way simply asking God to do things.
- Faith in spoken words - Word of Faith believes that there is creative power in our spoken words because we are made in the image of God. It is our words and faith that makes things happen. These declarations are seen as a sign of powerful faith and spirituality - normal prayer requests to God may be regarded as rather weak in comparison. Unfortunately, there sometimes appears to be more faith in the power of our words than in God himself. Quotations from the Bible as the Word of God are considered to be particularly powerful but verses are often misused, taken out of context and used superstitiously.
- Word of Faith - Word of Faith developed during the late 20th century strongly influenced by Positive Thinking and has become popular through television and the internet. Impressive high-profile preachers and emphasis on prosperity and healing attracts a large worldwide following. Word of Faith doctrine is based on a small number of Bible verses and poor interpretation. Many people involved in Word of Faith are not aware that they are in a strange deviation from biblical charismatic Christianity.
Written July 2020