The prosperity message is freely preached today in our churches and many times it comes disguised. Yesterday, I listened to a sermon that mentioned a ‘formula’ that would ‘make prayer work’ such that God would ‘rain blessings down’. It’s disappointing to hear this message preached, because in my opinion, it truly diminishes the real love that God has for us.
You see, I believe that when God gives us something – He gives it to us simply because He loves us. That’s it! Pure. Unconditional. Love.
However, this preaching of ‘prosperity prayers’ suggests that when we pray to God using a formula – it’s because we’re expecting to get something back – Blessings. Needs. Wants!
I have been repeatedly told that if I pay my tithe – God will bless me! If I pay more offering, God will take care of my bills! If I pray like this – my prayer will be answered! If I meditate more, if I serve more, if I do…more… more…MORE… God will do more… MORE…MORE!
But the bottom line is…God’s blessings have absolutely nothing to do with anything I do, how faithful I think I am or how I have prayed my prayers. He has already told us that our righteousness is as filthy rags. So, to even suggest that God’s blessings have anything to do with my behavior reduces God to a mere puppet, who responds and is manipulated according to my actions.
While I believe that God wanted to teach us how to pray, I think He was teaching us how to honor Him. I do not believe He was teaching us how to pray so that we could use it as a formula to receive blessings. The idea of this sounds extremely manipulative – and in reality – it is. We end up using the Bible and God’s promises to try to get things from God, that He really does not intend for us to have because they may not be in our best interest. We can end up using the Bible to tell God what to do… to demand his love, a house, a car, more money and potentially things that really may not be good for us.
How many of you would feel honored if your child only ever helped you around the house based upon what they could get out of you? Or if your spouse only ever put something into your relationship because it meant he or she could get something in return? While admittedly it seems to be the way things are done these days, with incentives, motivations and bribes being they way to get what you want but wouldn’t you rather receive help or gifts simply out of love? Pure. Unconditional. Love?
It doesn’t mean that we cannot ask God for things, we should. He tells us to ask, but our love and worship is not tied up in giving to get. I think God laid His ground rules stating how He wanted to be treated, loved and respected and therefore when you pray … ‘do it like this’. This is God’s Love Language not his ‘formula’ for manipulation. I wonder how much God wishes that we could just give Him love, worship and prayers simply to honor Him, without the strings. Pure. Unconditional. Love.
Yes – there are certain things I would expect to have ‘right’ before I approach God in prayer. Love for Him, a ‘right heart’, contrite spirit, forgiveness for others, a desire to get to know Him and learn His will for me. But I’m not doing this to get anything and furthermore, getting my way, needs or desires met really should be last. Nevertheless, if our prayers are based upon a formula to get our needs met – isn’t God going to see through this anyway? Are we not insulting God? We cannot fool God!
I don’t know about you, but if I listen to the concept of any kind of prosperity message, it is burdensome. It adds another layer of works to my faith, and I know I cannot be saved by my works. Just as we like to feel loved and blessed, I think God wants to be loved and blessed too. So I just want to learn to sit in God’s presence and be in awe of Him. If God’s going to bless me – He going to do it anyway- simply because He loves me. Pure. Unconditional. Love.