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If you ask us to pray for you about something, our answer will always be no. We absolutely will not pray for you. But since “I’m not going to pray for you” is considered to be a vicious insult in the Christian community, we are now going to explain why we will not pray for you so you aren’t getting your feelings hurt for no reason.
The truth is that we care too much about your soul’s relationship with God to encourage you to put your faith in a bunch of damaging lies, and that is exactly what we’d be doing if we said that we were going to pray for you.
ARE WE BETTER THAN YOU?
Think about it: why are you asking us to pray for you in the first place? Because we teach about God? Many Christians assume that those who teach about God must be “extra spiritual.” Is that why you want us to pray for you–because you think we’re in God’s inner circle of favorites? If so, you need to realize that exalting us like this is utterly inappropriate. In the first place, you have no idea what’s really going on between our souls and God. Okay, so maybe we know the Bible better than you do. Well, whoopee. Understanding the contents of a book is hardly evidence of spiritual maturity. How do you know that we’re not just fronting and talking a big story about caring about God? The reality is that you can’t see into our souls, and you have no idea what is really happening between us and God. But then again, what does it matter? Who we are and what we’re personally doing with God is irrelevant to your own walk with Him. You shouldn’t be focusing on who we are, you should be asking God if anything we’re saying about Him is true. You see, we’re only useful to you to the degree that God wants to use us to teach you more about Himself. Maybe He doesn’t want to use us at all in your life. Maybe He only wants to use us some of the time. Maybe He’s using us all the time—at least for a season. Whatever He’s doing, He’s the One you’re supposed to be pursuing. He’s the end goal.
If God is actually talking to you through our material, then what does that make us? We’d be functioning like a microphone. What’s admirable about a microphone? It just sits there like a lump. A microphone doesn’t have any wisdom of its own, and neither do we. If someone makes a great speech through a microphone, do you rush up to the stage and applaud the mic? Do you hold it up and say, “Isn’t this mic amazing?” No, you totally ignore the mic as you rush to talk to the one who spoke through it. The mic is irrelevant, because the mic isn’t the source of the message. The mic is temporary at best—one day it will stop working and have to be thrown out. This is the most you can ever say about us: we’re functioning like a mic for God in your life. Well, whoopee. How does that justify you applauding us or acting like we’re playing some critical role in your spiritual development? We’re not critical to anything, because God is hardly so pinched up that He can’t manage to work without us. God could chuck us into the wastebasket at any point and declare us to be useless. As a Christian who wants to get closer to God, you mustn’t get all bogged down in admiring irrelevant humans. We don’t deserve any of the credit for your spiritual growth—this isn’t some humble statement, it’s a reality which will remain true whether we feel like acknowledging it or not. No human deserves credit for drawing you closer to God, so if there are humans in your life who are trying to take credit for such a thing, you need to realize that they are leading you astray.
So then, if there’s nothing “wow” about us, why are you asking us to pray for you? What do you think us chiming in is going to accomplish? God doesn’t listen closer to us than He does to you, nor does He have short term memory problems. When you ask Him for something, He gets the message the first time. When you then ask us to repeat your message to God for you, you’re asking us to treat Him like some deaf dumbbell. Well, no, we’re not going to do that. It’s both disrespectful to God and a bad example for you if we say “Yeah, sure, we’ll present your request to Him.” Just by agreeing to do this, we would be insinuating several nasty things about both God and you. Plus we’d be elevating ourselves as having a far greater influence over God than we actually do.
THE RELATIONSHIP OF BELIEFS
You need to realize that your beliefs about God build on each other like layers in a house of cards. An important step in developing good discernment skills is to start asking yourself, “For this to be true about God, what else must be true about Him?” For example, before we can conclude that God didn’t want someone to die, we have to first believe that He does not control life and death. God says that He does control these things, and once we align with God’s truth, we find that many common assumptions about God get proven false.
Now let’s consider this very popular belief that Christians need other Christians to pray for them. This can only be true if we first accept many other things about who God is and how He operates. God says that He is your loving Creator who is intimately involved in every aspect of your life. You’re clearly rejecting this if you think you need other Christians to pray for you.
Take a hard look at your motivations for wanting others to pray for you and you’ll discover that this is a fear driven activity. You are assuming that God’s care of you is some fickle, mediocre thing, and you are trying to get Him to step up the quality of His care by getting a bunch of humans to remind Him that you exist. By saying, “Yes, we’ll pray for you,” we’re also saying, “You’re right, God does keep losing interest in you.” Well, no, this is an absolute lie. No one loves you more than God does. His attention is always on you, and He is taking far better care of you than you realize. If we want to help you grow closer to God, why on earth would we undermine your confidence in His love for you by agreeing to pray for you? Why would we encourage you to cling to this delusion that God might forget your name unless other humans keep nagging Him about you?
There are countless truths about how God views you. Some of these truths are more important than others, meaning that they have a much greater impact on all of your other beliefs about God. The fact that God dearly loves you and the fact that He is intimately involved in every area of your life at all times are what we call essential truths. Essential truths are truths about God which are especially important for you to understand. When you don’t have a decent grasp of essential truths, then you are going to spin off into all kinds of dangerous delusions. For example, there are souls in this world who have become devastated by the belief that God has totally cut ties with them. They believe that God is intentionally blocking out their prayers and that He is holding some permanent grudge against them. Even though these things are absolute lies, the souls who believe in them end up really suffering. These souls need to be educated on some essential truths about God, because then they would realize that they are making very wrong assumptions about Him.
Your beliefs build on each other. Every time you accept some fact about God as true, you close your mind to certain conclusions about Him and open your mind to other conclusions. Because your beliefs are so interconnected with each other, Christian teachers are teaching you much more than you realize when they speak about God. For example, when a Christian teacher says, “The Bible is infallible, inerrant, and Divinely inspired,” he’s also saying, “It is wrong for you to ever question anything you read in the Bible. You must treat the Book like an extension of God Himself.” These are some very harmful lies. But notice that the teacher didn’t say those extra things—he just said one thing, but other things were being taught by implication. In the same way, if we say to you, “God always blesses those who give sacrificially,” it’s the same as saying, “God can be bribed.” Well, no, God can’t be bribed. And in our haste to get our greedy hands on your money, we end up leading you far astray.
WHAT’S IN THE BASKET?
When it comes to teaching Christians about God, it is impossible to ever teach them just one thing. Every individual concept that we might want to tell you about God functions like a picnic basket that is full of other things. When we hand you that basket, we’re also handing you everything that is packed inside of it.
Maybe the basket belief is that God is in absolute control. If you accept the basket, you’re also going to be accepting the belief that Satan can’t override God’s will, that God does what you call evil, and that God always gets His way in all things. These things are all true, and they’re all conclusions that you’re forced to come to once you believe that God is in absolute control. You see, there are no empty baskets. Every fact about God forces you to accept and reject other facts. You can’t have a God who is in absolute control at the same time as you have One who has nothing to do with evil. Those are two different baskets, and you have to choose between them. Whichever one you choose will come packed with other conclusions about God. If you accept a basket belief about God that is wrong, you’ll end up also accepting all of the other lies that are packed inside that basket.
As Christian teachers, we know that there are certain truths about God which will really upset you, and certain lies which you will find very comforting. For example, most Christians do not want to believe that God is the ultimate Source of all of their misery in life. Most Christians don’t want to face the fact that God controls how and when demons attack them. When Christian teachers want to gain your favor, they encourage you to believe lies that they know you will find comforting. They say, “Oh, no, God never wanted your child to come down with cancer. That’s just a very sad thing that has happened because this is a fallen world and God hates it as much as you do.” This is an absolute lie, but it’s the kind of lie that really comforts grieving parents. A lot of Christian teachers are going to sell you all kinds of comforting lies because that’s what will earn your loyalty. But because every lie is a basket belief that comes packed with far more lies, Christian teachers who toy with you like this end up leading you far astray. What they’re really doing is just using you to get a name for themselves, and they don’t care what happens to you further down the line. Well, this is called abusing God’s flock and it’s the kind of thing that gets teachers in serious trouble with Him.
Because we revere God, and because we sincerely care about what’s best for your soul in the long term, we’re not going to tell you pretty lies that we know will only lead you astray. It would be a simple thing for us to just say, “Sure, we’ll pray for you.” We know that this is what you want to hear, and we know it would make you feel good right now. But we also know that saying this is going to encourage you to believe in all kinds of serious lies about how God interacts with you, and those lies are going to really mess you up in your personal walk with God down the line. Now because it’s quite likely that our contact with you will be very brief, we could use that as an excuse to lie to you today because we know we won’t have to clean up the mess it creates later. But how is this being a good shepherd? How is this honoring God with the way we treat His flock? No, God teaches His shepherds and teachers to care about the long term health of each individual soul, and that means we are going to tell you tough truths today to try and steer you clear of misery tomorrow. We’re not going to play this praying game with you just to make you feel good because this a game that will greatly harm you. The way the Church teaches Christians to approach prayer is extremely problematic and it is driving souls far off course with God.
Here’s the reality about other people praying on your behalf: their prayers are utterly useless and totally ineffective. God is not going to change how He treats you because of what other humans say to Him. How God deals with you is a direct response to how your own soul is responding to Him. Other humans can’t make God treat you better or worse than He already is. Your relationship with God is a private, personal thing which no one else can barge in on. No one can sever your connection with God, no one can make Him talk to you, and no one can alter His judgment of you. So when you ask another Christian to pray for you, it’s like a hungry man asking someone else to eat on his behalf. No matter how much food that someone else eats, the hungry man will still be hungry. If the hungry man wants to stop being hungry, he needs to do the work of eating himself. In the same way, you are responsible for your own relationship with God. Other people can’t repent for you, they can’t rebel for you, they can’t confess your sins for you, they can’t save or damn you. The only way you’re going to move forward with God is to stop with all the triangulation and start taking full responsibility for your own walk. It’s not on other Christians to keep you faithful. Only God can keep you faithful, and if you’re worried about your devotion to Him, He’s who you need to talk to. Other Christians can’t secure God’s forgiveness for you. So if there’s some issue between you and God, you need to go direct and ask Him to help you resolve it. Every time you start trying to put some created being between you and God—be it another Christian, a dead saint, an angel, or your pastor—it’s like you’re throwing up walls between you and God by refusing to accept how personal your relationship with Him is. Stop asking people to pray for you. Do your own praying and leave other people out of it.
If you want to move forward with God, you need to develop trust in His personal involvement with you and in His willingness to lead you in life. Every time you go running off to other Christians for prayer support, you’re rejecting these truths. As a Christian, there are many fabulous truths that you can depend on. God loves you. He is for you. He is always with you. He is always listening to you. He is leading you. Everything God does to you is about strengthening your personal bond with Him, so when problems arise, you need to be asking Him, not other Christians, to help you learn the lessons He wants to teach you.
Other Christians don’t know exactly what God is doing with you in a given moment because your relationship with God is personal and private. As a general rule, God isn’t going to talk to other Christians about what He’s doing with you—He’s going to talk to you about you and He’s going to talk to them about them. When you try to talk to God about them, He’s going to turn your focus back onto you and Him. When other people try to talk to God about you, He’s going to turn their focus back onto them and Him. All of this energy Christians spend on trying to control the way God is working in the lives of other people is just a stubborn refusal to submit to His Authority. God does not take orders from us. He demands submission, and you’re not practicing submission when you’re asking other people to gang up on God for you.
So then, why won’t we pray for you? Because we know it’s pointless, and we know that pretending it’s not pointless is going to lead you into harm. We care too much about the health of your soul to promote the Church’s ego pleasing deceptions about prayer. We’re not going to lie to you just to make you feel good. We’re going to tell you the truth, whether you want to hear it or not, because only the truth is going to help you move closer to God.
Practicing Submission in the Way that We Pray
Practicing Discernment: The Structure of Beliefs
Four Ways to Identify False Teaching in the Church
Prayer Warriors: Disrespecting God & Proud of It