The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Praying in Times of Crisis

Responding to Your Child’s Serious Illness: Help for Christian Parents

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You’re a parent and you find out that your child is ill.  Very ill. Doctors are telling you that the recovery rate for this particular illness isn’t very high.  The only treatments they’re offering are things that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.  Your kid is scared and looking at you with those big, anxious eyes.  Parents are supposed to be able to fix anything, but you can’t fix this.  Parents are supposed to always know what to say, but you’re speechless.  Parents are supposed to be able to save the day, and you’re feeling like a total failure.  It’s time to reach out for some help, so you hop online and start cruising through Christian websites looking for advice on how to handle your situation.  It doesn’t take long to notice that a lot of them are telling you the same thing.  This isn’t God’s will.  Disease comes from the devil.  Healing is just a prayer away.  We have a big God: if you believe, you will receive.  There’s power in numbers, power in repetition, power in holy water, power in fasting, power in chanting Bible verses.  Tell God what you want enough times and He’ll surely do it.  Read more of this post

Loved Ones in Danger: How to Benefit from Your Stress

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Your husband is a cop and he’s out trying to stop a gang fight.  Your wife is a spy on a mission that she can’t talk about.  Your brother is a federal agent who is tracking down some dangerous criminals.  Your fiancé is a fireman trying to rescue people from a burning skyscraper.  Your sister has been kidnapped.  Your kid is in a coma.  Your partner was gunned down on the field and the surgery isn’t going well.  When our loved ones are in danger, the minutes feel like hours as we sit by the phone anxiously waiting for news.  When we’re sick with worry, we can’t eat, we can’t sleep, and we can’t concentrate on anything else but all of the awful “what ifs.”  So is this our only option in life—to sit around getting ulcers while we hope and pray for our loved ones to be returned to us safely?  No, this is not our only option.  We have much better choices available to us—choices that can greatly benefit our souls.  But first we have to decide that we want to mature, and unfortunately most souls won’t make this choice.  Read more of this post

Why You Shouldn’t Ask God to Change People: Improving Your Response to Grudges, Rebellion & Grief

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Your girlfriend is planning to abort your baby. Your husband is heading towards an affair with his secretary. Your wife has announced she wants a divorce. Your son just bought a gun and now he’s talking to one of his shady friends about some kind of heist. Your daughter is dating a sleaze and she’s threatening to move in with him. Your dying father refuses to listen when you talk about Jesus. When we see the people we love hurtling towards some disastrous decision which is only going to bring pain crashing down on their heads and ours, our natural instinct is to start praying for God to override the wills of other people. Read more of this post

Applying 2 Chronicles 20: Learning from Jehoshaphat

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Our story begins over 850 years before the birth of Christ. The nation of Israel has been fractured into two kingdoms: Israel in the north, and Judah in the south. This fracture happened right after the death of Solomon, about 88 years ago. As the kings of Israel and Judah keep changing, the two kingdoms keep changing their minds about whether they want to be friends or enemies. Right now they’re in friend mode. King Jehoshaphat is ruling in the south and evil King Ahab has just recently died in the north.

Now most of the kings in both Israel and Judah are idolatrous yucks who grossly disrespect Yahweh. Now and then there’s one who puts more effort into caring about what God wants, but it’s a very rare day that anyone cares enough to actually outlaw idol worship in their kingdom. As evil kings erect shrines and temples to icky idols, better kings rise up and inspire the people to care more about Yahweh, yet they still leave all those shrines and temples standing. So that’s like your country saying, “We worship Jesus here,” while they keep maintaining large monuments, museums, and temples that all encourage the worship of Satan. It’s more than a little two-faced. Read more of this post

Intercessory Prayer Teams: Don’t Go There

Intercessory Prayer Teams: Don't Go There

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Intercessory prayer teams are a very bad idea. They sound good, they feel good, and they are enormously popular in the Church. But the theology that drives them is sheer rot and joining one will only end up eroding your faith while giving you the illusion that you are in a strong position with God. Read more of this post

Praying for the Sick

Praying for the Sick

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

In the Church today we spend a lot of time praying for the sick to get well. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. When they do, we rejoice in the power of prayer. When they don’t, we feel confused, frustrated and sad. We wonder where we went wrong. If you’re tired of riding this roller coaster, or if you’re wondering how to respond to a sick friend who is asking for your prayerful intervention, then this post is for you. Read more of this post

When Loved Ones Are Dying: Improving Our Response to Bad News

When Loved Ones Are Dying: Improving Our Response to Bad News

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

When a person falls seriously ill, the common reaction we see is for all their friends and loved ones to start soliciting supernatural help from other people. Hence we see comments like these floating about the internet:

“Please send your light and love towards my friend right now.”
“LOVE conquers all! Sending positive thoughts in your direction!”
“Our hearts are lifting yours up and holding yours strong.”
“Positive energy is coming at you every night and day!”

If we’re the recipient of these well wishes, we feel good—too good, in fact. Certainly it’s nice to have friends caring about us—there’s nothing wrong with that. But that’s not what we’re really looking for when we post our crisis for all the world to see. What we’re really looking for is some supernatural power. We hate what God is doing and we want Him to stop it. Since our pleading is clearly having no effect on Him, we start trying to gang up on Him. We start shopping for some way to coerce Him into aligning with our agenda, which is instant healing. And somewhere in our stubborn little brains we think that God might find all these beams of light, love, and positive energy to be more than He can handle.

Read more of this post

Why We Shouldn’t Try to Pray Our Problems Away

Why We Shouldn't Try to Pray Our Problems Away

People are most likely to think seriously about God when they are feeling scared and vulnerable. Think about that for a moment. Then think about how often you ask God to make people’s problems go away as quickly as possible so that they can go back to feeling healthy, happy, and in control of their lives. Do you see a problem?

We Christians are used to approaching prayer all wrong. We don’t mean to, but too often we go through life without having anyone challenge our views. We’re taught it’s the loving and caring thing to do to pray against people’s problems. But is it? Read more of this post