The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Prayer Focus

Praying for Other People: Why It’s a Bad Idea

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In our material, we teach you not to pray for other people.  This includes praying for God to heal, save, and comfort other people.  Many Christians find such teaching to be quite disturbing.  So what’s the deal?  If we claim to be Christians–which we do–then how can we have a problem with praying for others?  The answer is simple: we care immensely about pleasing God, and once treating God well is your top priority, praying for other people needs to go.  That’s the short answer.  Now we’ll give you the long one. Read more of this post

Psalm 109: Learning from David’s Hatefest

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Psalm 109 was written by David when David was in a very angry, very hateful mood.  This is the carnal ranting of a hypocritical grudge holder.  As is typical for those wallowing in a victim mentality, David considers himself to be morally superior to the fellow who has stuck it to him.  Not only does he expect Yahweh to take his side in this matter, but he has already decided how God should handle this situation.  In this psalm, David is basically throwing a bratty tantrum and peppering Yahweh with a long list of demands.  David isn’t content to just see his enemy suffer—he is so consumed with hate that he wants to see the man’s relatives and descendants suffer as well.  Psalm 109 is a fabulous example of carnality run amuck, and to call such garbage “God breathed” is utterly absurd.  David was certainly not passing on the words of God when he wrote this hatefest.  Instead, he is grossly exaggerating his own importance by talking as if anyone who opposes him is deserving of unending suffering.  Well, no, the universe really doesn’t revolve around David, and David is totally out of line to boss Yahweh around like this.  Let’s now go through this psalm line by line and see what positive lessons we can learn from David’s terrible example. Read more of this post

Improving Our Treatment of God: Why We Shouldn’t Pray for the Lost

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Like seeds that are designed by God to sprout and grow, we humans are also designed to continuously grow and change.  Since we are spiritual beings, our spiritual maturity is the most important aspect of our personal development.  Spiritual maturity has to do with how we relate to the three non-human Beings who created us: Yahweh, Jesus, and the magnificent Holy Spirit.  We mature in two basic ways: acquiring more understanding about who the real Gods are and what They want from us, then applying that understanding well.  We are totally dependent on our Gods to lead us in both of these areas, for we can’t gain understanding on our own, nor can we learn to apply our understanding well without Their guidance and help.  In practice, spiritual maturity is like a dance in which our Gods are the Leaders and we are the followers. They always initiate.  They choose the direction in which They want to move us, and we try to follow Their lead with as little stumbling as possible.  But of course we do stumble all over the place, and this is not a problem until we start getting intentional about it.  It’s one thing to have your faith crumble because you applied what you had and it wasn’t enough.  It’s another thing to sit on piles of faith and refuse to use it because you want to give the orders instead of take them.  Read more of this post

Practicing Submission in the Way that We Pray

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Without submission, you’re going to end up in Hell. Without sincere submission to your Creators, there is no salvation, there is no spiritual maturity, there is no hope of being invited closer to Them or anything else. Submission is vital. God demands it of you, and He wants more from you today than you were giving Him five years ago. Submission is like trust: we don’t just ring a bell and say, “all done.” Submission is like learning to master an instrument: we keep practicing, we keep learning, we keep growing in our skills and understanding of the concept. You’re not going to conquer the topic of submission on this earth, nor will you graduate on from it when you die. We’re going to be growing in our submission to God for all of eternity. Is this a bummer? Not at all, for submission is one of the critical ingredients which enriches our communion with Him. Read more of this post

Asking & Aligning: The Two Stages of Prayer

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God has created human beings with a need to repeat themselves. When we feel very strongly about something, we start saying the same things over and over again, often with very little changes to our wording. When learning new principles, we need our instructors to repeat their instructions to us. When we’re down, we need repetitive encouragement. When we’re insecure, we need repetitive assurances. A relationship in which both partners only verbalize “I love you” one time isn’t going to last long. Children who never hear “good job” more than once from their parents become frustrated and despaired. Read more of this post

Why doesn’t God always grant requests that are in His will?

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GOD’S GENERAL WILL

As you go along in life, the Holy Spirit educates you about God’s general will. He wants people to love and respect each other. He wants parents to protect and nurture their children. He wants laws to be just. He wants all souls to repent and spend eternity in Heaven.

Being educated about God’s general will gives us confidence in His goodness. We agree that the things He wants sound very pleasant and positive. But when we look at the world around us, we see that many of the things that God says are in His will aren’t happening. Government leaders are corrupt. Laws are crooked. Children are abused. People are cruel to each other. Here is where we should start to suspect that our education on God’s will is not yet complete. But instead of encouraging us to go to the Holy Spirit with our troubling questions, the Church teaches us to take on the role of God’s supervisors and guide Him in fixing a situation that has clearly gotten out of hand. This is when we start praying for Him to soften the heart of our unsaved neighbor, to relocate abused children to better homes, to make prodigal Christians repent, and to replace corrupt leaders with good ones. Because our requests align with the rosy picture of God’s general will, we feel justified in saying we are praying in His will. And if we’re praying in His will, God is supposed to answer us, right? Right. So why doesn’t He? Because the reality is that we’re NOT praying in His will. It turns out that God’s will is far more complex than we realize. Read more of this post

Asking God for Money

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In this world, money is revered as a god. We’re taught to believe that money has the power to make our lives more comfortable and give us access to health, fame, power, and friends. And once we have all of these things, how can we not be satisfied?

Once we buy into the lie that money is the magic solution to all of our problems, of course we will want more of it, and in the Church you will find many teachers and preachers encouraging you to make money your god. Of course they won’t put it to you this way, but this is their bottom line, for once we’re willing to dishonor the real God in order to squeeze more money out of Him, it’s quite clear where our priorities lie. Many Christians love money more than they love God, and they were guided into that position by shepherds who claimed to be teaching them how to apply biblical promises. We don’t want this to happen to you, so we are going to teach you how to pray about the subject of money with the right attitude. Read more of this post

Praying BIG

Praying BIG

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Here’s a popular little jingle in Christendom: “Pray BIG, because we have a BIG God.” But what does this mean exactly? If we need a car, does God want us to pray for a brand new SUV instead of some small beat up clunker? If we need a new place to live, does He want us dreaming of mansions instead of just hoping for a room somewhere? If finances are tight, are we supposed to name and claim millions instead of just what we need? Is God offended by our lack of faith when we don’t dream big and pray expectantly? Well, it depends. Read more of this post

Why Pray?

Why Pray?

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Suppose a friend invites you to meet for coffee. When you arrive, she is waiting for you at a table with an older man that you’ve never seen before. When she introduces you, she says that somehow this complete stranger knows everything there is to know about you. Then she makes up an excuse to leave early and encourages you to have a nice long chat with the man she brought along.
“He really likes you,” she whispers before scooting off. Okay…this is awkward. Sitting down at the table, you look at the man and he smiles warmly back at you.
“So, my friend says you know all about me,” you say.
“Yes, I do,” he answers with a ring of authority to his voice that convinces you he’s not bluffing. How do you start a conversation with such a person? Read more of this post