Two Big Lies You Never Knew You Believed About Prayer

shocked

 

You often hear people ask,  “Why aren’t the extraordinary things we read about in the Bible— the miracles, healings, etc, not happening today?

Firstly, the question is fallacious because these things are indeed happening (you probably just need to get out more).

But really, what we should be asking is, “Where are the type of people we read about in the Bible, who believed God in unrelenting faith for the miraculous and impossible?

See, we’ve been trying to put the blame off on God for why these things don’t happen as much but the truth is, God doesn’t change. People, on the other hand, are a whole other story.

 

The Lies We’ve Embraced

 

For the most part, the Church has allowed herself to be robbed of the miraculous and answered prayers as a result of buying into two big lies.

Lie #1:

We have substituted devotion for faith. Over time, we have equated these things as the same. You get people all the time saying things like, “Uncle so and so was a minister for 50 years and he loved the Lord more than anyone. Yet he died of cancer, and never saw his prayers answered. If anyone had faith, it was him!

Think about that statement. Notice how the assumption was made that if you have devotion, you have faith.

Devotion and faith are not the same—hence the reason one is called faith, and the other devotion. As a result of accepting this falsehood, we have made God out to be a liar and impugned His character. How? Because He promised (it’s amazing how lightly we take that word now a days) that all things would be possible for the person who believes. Yet, we have people all over who are not seeing the impossible in their lives, though they are ministers. Though they are committed. Though they love the Lord.

No, faith for answered prayers is not the same as love or devotion for the Lord.

Lie #2:

We took all the verses where Jesus spoke about the necessity of having faith in order to get answers to prayer, and we said He was referring to faith in God. So folks go around saying, “I have faith! I believe in God, I believe in Jesus.”

False.

When Jesus spoke about the object of faith which gets prayers answered, He did not say it was faith in God.

Shocked? I was too. Let’s take a look at a few instances in the Bible.

Mark 11:23, for instance, He does not say, “If you pray and tell God how much you believe in Him, the mountain will get up and fall into the sea.” What did He say? “Whosoever shall say unto this mountain be removed and be cast into the sea and shall not doubt in his heart but shall believe (believe what? In God? No. Then believe what? What should he believe?) that those things which he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says.

Again, Mark 11:24, “Therefore, whatever things you desire when you pray, believe (in God? Nope) that you receive them and you shall have them.”

What did the woman with the issue of blood believe? Just in God? No. The Bible tells us what she believed. “If I may but touch the hem of his garment, I shall be made whole.” She did not say, “If I just believe in God, and trust that He is sovereign, I shall be made whole.

Right before Jesus healed the blind men, what did He ask them?

Do you believe in God?

Nope. He never asked that.

Do you believe I am the Christ?

Wasn’t ever brought up.

Do you believe that I’m sovereign and that one day, after you die, I will take you to heaven and open your eyes?

Negative.

He didn’t ask them any of those.

What did He ask?  “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matt 9:28).

Again and again we see that the object of the faith was connected to the desired outcome of the prayer. Not to some generic belief in God’s sovereignty, His existence, or Jesus as the Christ.

 

Lies Don’t Comfort

 

Don’t get me wrong, I understand there are things that we all wish were not the way they were. I wish that all God required of us in the area of prayer was to just believe in Him. To just believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for us and rose again. But the fact is, He requires more than that. And I get that we feel compelled to comfort the afflicted in times of tragedy and crisis by any means possible. But lying to them isn’t the way  to do it. Telling them the truth is. Giving them hope by sharing with them God’s Word is.

Of all people, Christians should be the ones to understand this the most. Lies do not comfort. It’s the truth that sets us free.

Instead of hiding the truth about prayer, we should be heralding it. This is Good News! It means we serve a real God who can and is still doing what we read about in the Bible.

 

Why Every Believer Should Pray in Tongues

 

 

 

 

I don’t know if you have ever experienced this type of phenomena but its been a pretty common scenario for me.  It goes something like this: You’re listening to a Bible teacher talking on a controversial subject. And at first it’s amazing. You’re thinking, “Oh, wow. There’s alot of good information here. I may finally get some legit answers on this subject!” Then it happens. What seems to be the inevitable fate of nearly every sermon we hear: Weird tangents that leave the Scriptures and start into gobbledegook. Or  the, “under the rug” treatment where Bible passages to the contrary are either completely ignored, or stamped with a generic disclaimer before moving on.

I’m a firm believer in doing unto others as I would like done unto me. So I’ve put this subject into an FAQ format in order to hopefully cover every angle, question and objection. If I missed something, or you have another question not addressed, please feel free to ask 🙂

Oh . . . And one more thing—I feel silly having to say this but just to clarify, this article isn’t about what people say or think about the Bible. It’s about what the Bible actually says on the subject. I mention this because I know there are entire schools of thought devoted to commentaries and what folks think the Scriptures imply as opposed to what they actually say about tongues. While I think these things can be helpful and informative, they are not divine and should not be treated as one in the same as the Bible.

 

 

 

 

Question/Objections:


“1 Corinthians 13:8-10 Says that when the, “perfect has come” tongues will cease. The, “perfect” refers to the Bible, so tongues are no longer an active gift.”

 

ANSWER: We need to be careful here. Does the passage actually say this? Or is this what we think it means? What it says is that at some point they will cease. But to assume that they already have is just that—- an assumption.

 

 

 

Question/Objection:

“The tongues mentioned in 1Corinthians were all known languages. They were not mindless babble like you see today.”

ANSWER: It is true that there is a gifting by the Spirit that causes someone to speak in a foreign language. You see this

in Acts 2 and it’s also mentioned here . . .

1Corinthians 12:10

To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

In Greek, the word, kinds is genos and means, “stock, tribe, offspring, national descent.” When you read the context you see that this manifestation of the Spirit can be given as He wills (vs. 11).

But he mentions another type of tongue that would not fall under, kindred or foreign tongues.

1Corinthians 14

2: For he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not unto men, but unto God: for no man understands him; however in the spirit he speaks mysteries.

So when we talk about praying with tongues (that is, speaking to God), we are not talking about any known language. No man understands. This is obviously different from a foreign or tribal tongue.

The same accusation is made of Paul. People say because he was a Pharisee he knew multiple languages. And these were the tongues he prayed in when he said, “if I pray in an unknown tongue my spirit prays (1Cor 14:14).”

First of all, we already know that when someone prays in a tongue it is not a known language. But beside that, Paul said when he does pray with his spirit, his understanding (GK mind) is unfruitful. If those were learned languages, then his mind would be the very place from which it was coming from. Instead, Paul identifies a distinction between his mind, and his spirit. And so should we.

 

 

 

Question/Objection:

“The usage of tongues today is abused. You shouldn’t do it out loud unless there is an interpreter (1Cor 14:27-28)”

ANSWER: Agreed.

There is no profit if people don’t understand you. The Bible says you’re speaking into the air (1Cor 14:6-9).

If there is no interpreter, keep quiet. Just speak to yourself and to God.

Having noted this, you should never measure a doctrine based on it’s abuse.

 

 

 

Question/Objection:

“Paul spoke negatively about people who pray in tongues because it only edifies that person instead of the rest of the church.”

ANSWER: This is an opinion. There is no scripture that says that. While it is important to seek to edify the Church, we are also encouraged to speak in tongues and build ourselves up (1Cor 14:5).

One definition for, “edify” in Greek is, “to bring about good.” So, contrary to the claim, Paul says it’s a good thing.

 

 

 

Question/Objection:

“1Corinthians 12:11 says that these gifts are given as the Spirit wills—-not given to everyone.”

ANSWER: Correct. The, “gifts” in 1Corinthians 12 are given as the Spirit wills. But as we have already noted, the tongues in this chapter are kindred, and different from chapter 14 which, “no man understands.”

These unknown tongues are never referred to as a gift. They are simply described as praying in or with the spirit.

See, if you call it a, “gift” then it leaves the impression that some may have it and some may not. But if you refer to it as Paul did, “praying with my spirit” it becomes a strange idea to assert that only a select number of Christians are able to pray with their spirit.

Besides that, the same verse in chapter 12 that mentions kindred tongues, also mentions prophesying (vs. 10). Yet later Paul says, “You may all prophesy one by one (1Cor 14:31).” This would not be possible if, “given as the Spirit wills” meant, “not all are able to.”

 

 

 

Question/Objection:

“1Corinthians 14:22 says tongues are a sign for the unbeliever. We should not be trying to use them to edify ourselves or as some secret prayer language.”

ANSWER: It is true that the Bible says tongues are for a sign. But the prior verse shows us that the type of tongues he refers to are the kind that are spoken to men. Notice the quote, “With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people yet for all that they will not hear Me . . .” Remember, the subject is the unknown tongue which is spoken not unto men, but unto God (1Cor 14:5).

Besides that, even if it were talking about the unknown tongue, that does not mean it cannot stand as a sign when believers use it in prayer. To attempt to exclude it’s uses because God said it was a sign to the unbeliever is both weird and needless.

“1Corinthians 12:28-31, asks the question “do all speak with tongues?” This shows us not everyone is going to speak in tongues

ANSWER: We are not wondering whether or not all Christians speak in tongues. You don’t need a scripture to tell you that —it’s obvious they don‘t. We are addressing whether every Christian should.

 

 

 

Question/Objection:

“There is no scripture that tells us God wants us all to pray in tongues.”

ANSWER: There actually are multiple scriptures.

Jude 1:20

But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in/with the Holy Ghost,

 

Ephesians 6:18

18: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in/with the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Here, God tells us all to pray in the Spirit. What does that mean? Do the Scriptures tell us what it looks like when someone prays in the Spirit? They sure do.

1Corinthians 14

2: For he that speaks in an unknown tongue speaks not unto men, but unto God: for no man understands him; however in the Spirit he speaks mysteries.

 

1Corinthians 14

14: For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15: What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

 

 

Question/Objection:

Speaking in tongues is only one form or one type of prayer in the Spirit. Not the only one.

That is a good point. Let’s look again and see if God addresses this as well . . .

Ephesians 6:18

18: Praying always with ALL prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Some translations say, “All KINDS of prayer” or, “EVERY KIND of prayer.”

If he told us to pray with all kinds of prayer, that by itself, would be enough to know that prayer tongues would be included. But he actually takes it one step further and says to pray with all kinds of prayer IN THE SPIRIT—making it unmistakable.

Finally, the easiest way to know God wants all of us to speak in tongues is because He said so, word for word.

 

1Corinthians 14

5: Now I want you all to speak in tongues . . .

 

 

 

Questions/Objection:

“If God wants me to speak in tongues then it’ll happen— until then I’m not going to try and force anything.”

ANSWER: Right. And if God wants you to pray in English then it’ll happen. And if He wants you to read the Bible then it’ll happen. And if He wants you to go to church then it’ll happen—- but until it does no use in trying to force it, right?

No. You can’t make God’s responsibility what He has already made your responsibility. He told you to pray in the Spirit.

And for the record, this idea that it will, “just happen” with no effort or involvement on your part is unscriptural. There isn’t a single place in ALL the New Testament that says, “The Holy Spirit will speak through you” or, “a power will come over you and make you do it.” No, in every instance, it is the person who does the speaking.

Now, that isn’t to say the Spirit won’t prompt or inspire you, but we often have these strange and mystical expectations of things that can hinder us from true, biblical experiences. It may or may not happen the way we are expecting, but the safest way to a true experience is to stay with what the Bible actually says.