Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Those Who Pray Together Slay Together

I am convinced that the manner in which we pray has a significant impact upon the manner in which we speak to, and about the people of our prayers. If we pray in grace, and gentleness, then I am convinced it will spill out into our vocabulary about the situations, and individuals who fill up our prayers. If we pray with aggression this too will spill out.

Haven't we learned this same lesson from watching fundamentalists in the middle east? Their speech has reached their actions, and it has been the death of their enemies, and sometimes themselves.

Could it be that a form of spiritual warfare which identifies people as servants of the devil, and curses their actions, also causes the Christian praying in that manner to see people as their enemies at worst, and unwitting pawns of evil at best?

This concerns me in regards to the mission of the church. How can I expect to see the movement of the hand of the God of love with the prayers of Hell? Our task is not the curse, but it is the blessing. Hatred, fear, superstition, and estrangement are not our method; but love, acceptance, peace, and joy are.

So I would anticipate that the prayers which have spiritual power, and overcome the works of the wicked one are prayers which model the heart of God for humanity. Prayers of grace, love, and blessing. These kinds of prayer drive the devils out of me, and call for the hand of God to move in blessing upon others.

"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."

I have seen the attitudes of aggressive spiritual warfare kill relationships, and drive people away from Christianity.

Of course, the natural point of debate to what I have seen is that those who are driven away are servants of the devil, and until they repent, or the devil is driven from them they will continue to reject Christianity. I am not convinced that is the answer. Instead I believe that as long as we pray with aggression those who pray together will slay together, and people we should be developing redemptive relationships with will be the victims.

JJ the Smu (aka John Smulo) is blogging about this topic as well here

9 comments:

Webb Kline said...

Powerfully put and full of wisdom, Phil. I couldn't add a thing to it.

Sounds like it would be a great foundation for a much-needed book (hint, hint). ;-)

Pastor Phil said...

Thanks Webb. I'm humbled.

jenelle said...

I'm with webb kline. Another chapter in the wall!

Shiloh Guy said...

Phil, do you think this passage fits our subject?

...but the people there (Samaritans) did not welcome him because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" But Jesus turned and rebuked them. And he said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." Luke 9:53-56

I know that textual critics reject much of verse 56 but it sure sounds right in the mouth of Jesus!

Oh! If only we would invest as much time and effort doing the things Jesus clearly commanded us as we do in extrabiblical activities like the kind of "spiritual warfare" we talking about!

Dave Moorhead

Pastor Phil said...

Dave,

That's a favorite verse of mine in this context. I was going to be jumping in on that one in the next couple days, and adding to the discussion.

Anonymous said...

The arguments I've heard when I've mentioned this kind of thing tend to lean towards speaking'the truth' with regard to the old hellfire stuff. Often I've been told that kind of thing is hard for me to hear comfortably because it is the truth and I know it is the truth, I just try to reject it. A weird way to justify being obnoxious.

Just seeing a little balance in peoples representations of their faith would be nice. But I'm preaching to the converted here. :)

BB

Mike

Pastor Phil said...

Mike,

I can not tell how important your observations about our faith are. As an outsider who has a significant investment in understanding Christianity you bring insights we can not have about ourselves because we are myopic - being too close.

You may be a good ol' Pagan, but I feel like you are my own brother. Who's gonna move across the pond first?

Steve Hayes said...

I created a "link to this post", but it doesn't seem to show up under "Links to this post" -- another thing broken in Blogger?

Just a thought -- I wonder if the thing you are describing is related to the "stigma" attached to those infected with HIV/Aids? Jesus had compassion on them and healed their sick -- but we will have no compassion, and blame their sick.

Pastor Phil said...

Steve,

Yes I do think Christians place people with HIV/AIDS in the same category. There are others besides. I wonder if most Christians would consider nudists the same way? And there are other groups besides for us to consider if we will reach the new "tribes" with the Gospel.