What happens to your faith when God says no to your prayer? Hopefully the next few paragraphs will show you that your faith doesn’t have to be shattered when God says no.
Going Viral Isn’t Always Good
This week I saw a YouTube clip of a famous televangelist talking about Covid-19. In some ways it seemed like he was telling God what to do. This clip made for good tv. I even saw one clip where they turned his sermon into a catchy rap song, and another made it into a rock song. Unfortunately, these clips brought some negative attention to the Christian faith. As we know Covid-19 is still here and the wind of God did not blow it away. This pastor has come under fire and many jokes have been made about his faith failing to end this crisis. What we learned is that our faith does not direct God’s movements. If anything our faith puts our minds in line with God’s as much as that is possible.
I need to include this here because it is very important. Nothing I state below should take away the importance of specified prayer. I believe that God wants us to pray for things but I also believe that He has our best interest in mind. So just like an earthly father who has to tell his kids no, sometimes God must tell us no. Just because He might tell you no, is not a reason to never ask.
Prayer and Faith – What’s The Difference
We pray to God for specific purposes out of obedience to Him and recognition that He is our Heavenly Father and creator. Faith is knowing that He is going to provide everything we need and trusting that His ways are best for us. Understanding the difference in these two pieces of our Christian walk is very important. I guess you could say, we pray for what we want and we have faith that God will provide what we need.
The truth of the matter is that this sermon was probably seen by millions around the world and it probably caused some to reach into their pockets because they really felt that if they did then God would listen to this man’s command to blow like a fire from hell and extinguish Covid-19. I wish that one day 1/10th of the people who saw his sermon would read my blog but only if what they read draws them closer to God in a real and powerful way.
Faith Doesn’t Mean God Always Says Yes
The problem with his Word of Faith style is that his command to God never took God’s plan into mind. He wanted what he wanted and believed that God had to listen to him. I know that God answers prayers and that if we have faith, we can move mountains. I also know that those mountains are only going to move if we are praying in accordance with God’s will. If I am pursuing God then I am not going to pray to move a mountain out of selfish ambition. Instead, I will be praying as Jesus prayed “not my will but yours”. In our pursuit of God we know the power of God but we also know that we are not the ones who harness that power. God may move the mountain in a different way than we had imagined. What looks to others like the mountain not moving may in fact be God just working His way.
As one of the many folks who has lost their job due to this crisis I am praying for its swift end and a return to this crisis but I also understand that God may have other plans in mind and I am okay with that.
Instead of demanding that God ends this crisis or acting like if I pray hard enough or give enough then He will listen to me I will choose to listen. I pray everyday that God brings a swift end to this crisis but I also pray that God’s will takes its course. The pastor I heard this week did not seem like God’s will was part of his plan. He really felt that his prayer was powerful enough to convince God to end this thing now because that is what he wanted.
I know that God has a plan and I can trust that plan. I don’t know when this crisis will be over but I can pray that our eyes are open to what God is showing us and our ears are attentive to what He is saying during this time. Believe me when I say that God is moving and speaking to us during this time. He has a plan and there will be good that comes from this and we just have to be open to trying to accept that we may not understand exactly what God is up to right now. He will reveal that to us when we need to know.
What is the “Word of Faith” Movement?
Word of Faith – Simply put, This movement pushes that we can push God to act in our favor due to our faith. It is a dangerous game and is taking advantage of many unsuspecting believers. What happens when life hits you in the mouth and things get you down? Is it because you did not have enough faith?
This “name it and claim it” mentality can be very alluring to someone looking for something good in their life. Seriously, if you have been struggling and here comes this preacher in a thousand dollar suit driving a fancy car and he tells you that not only can you have it all, but God wants you to have it all and he can teach you how to harness your faith so that it can all come true. Sounds good, but how good is good enough. What happens when you are 10 years in and the bills are still piling up and there is no fancy car? Well, you still have work to do. You haven’t really harnessed the power of your faith yet?
Pursuing God or Pursuing the benefits of God
This style of belief leads people to worship prosperity instead of worshiping God. As I said in my last post, if your pursuit of God is about anything other than honoring God as your creator, then your heart is in the wrong place. The Word of Faith movement is great at getting people to pursue God. At least that is how it looks on the surface. When you dig just a bit what you see is that many of those people are only pursuing what God can give them. They are pursuing health, wealth, and other things that are of this world. For them God is a means to an end. Simply put, they are not pursuing God, they are pursuing their own interests through God.
I personally believe that the teachings of Jesus were pretty clear. If we want to pursue Him then we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily. There is no part of that journey that involves storing up fancy suits, luxury cars, and mansions. Now, there is nothing wrong with those things and I am not criticizing anyone that has them. However, I am being critical of those who pursue those things while telling the world they are pursuing God. You are either pursuing things of this world or you are pursuing God plain and simple.
As far as the pastor and the Word of Faith movement, I pray that they can use their talents to bring people closer to knowing the real Christ. I pray that they know the real Christ and can find a life in Him outside of their fame and wealth.