This week I took five minutes to search Twitter for one word … “prayer.” The results were depressing and shocking. Part of me that wants to believe the best in people. I want to give folks the benefit of the doubt. I want to believe people don’t really mean what they tweet.
However, the skeptic in me really believes people are confused about prayer. The realist in me knows that folks don’t always approach prayer from a biblical perspective.
A tweet has no context, so maybe I’m misunderstanding these folks. I intentionally selected tweets from people I do not know. I did this so I wouldn’t hurt feelings, but I realize I have further removed myself from the original intention of each author. I suppose you read this post and think I’m just trying to pick a fight. I’m not. I’m concerned about how Christians pray and how Christians talk about prayer.
Here are a few tweets about prayer, along with my questions and concerns.
- If prayer becomes a habit, success becomes a lifestyle. This sounds like something straight out of a self-help best-seller. “Success” is not the end game of prayer.
- Prayer can change things / Prayer works / Prayer is powerful. On the surface, I suppose I agree with these statements. However, I have concerns that these sorts of statements magnify prayer over the One we pray do. Let’s be real. It’s God and God alone who can change things, and God and God alone who is omnipotent. Not prayer.
- If you would like to invite Christ into your life, I’d like you to pray this prayer. I hate this statement. I hate it when it’s tweeted on Twitter. I hate it when it’s spoken from a pulpit. Why not just call people to repent of sin and believe in Jesus?
- Silent prayer teaches me to listen to my heart. Jeremiah 17:9 says your heart is wicked and beyond understanding. If you want to listen to someone, listen to God by reading his Word. Don’t listen to your heart.
- A prayer can help you feel better. Again, I suppose this is often true in experience. But if the end game of your prayer life is “feeling better,” you’ve missed the point.
- In reference to a medical issue … I need all the prayer can get. Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with many people praying for a particular issue. However, we must never assume that more people praying will somehow force God to act. That assumption turns God into a corrupt politician who only bows to public pressure.
- Lord, do this one favor for me. Prayer is not about asking for favors. Prayer is about acknowledging God as God, confessing sin, giving thanks, and humbly presenting your requests to a loving Father who has a good plan for your life.
- Ever look up at God and say, “you da man,” after an answered prayer? This tweet needs no comment, but I’m going to comment anyway. First, God is “da man” even when he doesn’t do what you’ve asked him to do. Second, calling God “da man” is belittling, insulting, and foolish. When you pray, you’re not talking to “the man upstairs.” You’re talking to the thrice holy God of the universe.
As I read these tweets, I couldn’t help but wonder … What does an unbeliever think when they listen to church-going-folks talk about prayer?
If you’d like to read more about prayer, check out my book Pray Better. The book walks through 20 Bible prayers, helping you think about how you should pray.
Originally published February 29, 2016 on landoncoleman.com.