I’ve talked with friends who don’t know why they pray. It’s a legitimate struggle because of their theology of God. If your theology leaves you timid in your prayer life, your theology is wrong, or, at least distorted. And, no, I don’t care how many scripture verses you have to support your perspective. The enemy uses scripture too. What I’m concerned about is fruit. Jesus said, “Judge a tree by its fruit,” not, “Judge a tree on it’s ability to properly define its species, genus, family, order, class etc.” In other words, for a non-teacher saint in the kingdom, it doesn’t matter why we have the fruit that we have in our lives, what matters is having fruit. Some saints can talk all day about the theology behind prayer, but when it come down to actually praying they hardly ever practice it, let alone practice it boldly. I would rather have saints who have active and powerful prayer lives than saints who can teach on prayer.
Let me curb your mind. I’m not attacking Calvinism, and if that’s where your mind went right away, I would do a heart check and ask your heavenly Father why you are so quick to point out the speck in this or that person’s eye. It’s true though, I know Calvinist friends who struggle with, “Why should I pray if God is going to do whatever he is going to do anyway?” If that’s you, then yes, I believe your theology has been distorted by the enemy. I also know hard-core Free-Will-ites who won’t pray for God to move people or change their minds, hearts or lives because, “God doesn’t violate our free will.” Well, your free will stance has just limited what is or isn’t “okay” to pray for. Let’s be real though, God wasn’t really a gentleman when he knocked Saul of his donkey and blinded him, traumatizing him to the point of not eating or drinking for three whole days!
So maybe God controls every smallest detail and maybe he delegates his sovereignty to humanity, but if you’re not willing or able to pray boldly, then you have a messed-up view on God. I’m not a Bible scholar and I won’t claim to know all the answers. I’m definitely not going to tell you which theology is right or wrong. I’m just saying, either way, you need to be able to pray.
Hebrews 10:19 says that, “we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.” We all love the idea of being in the very center of the presence of God, but when the priests entered the tabernacle, they weren’t simply representing themselves. On their very clothing they wore the representation of every tribe of Israel right on their chests, displayed as beautiful and precious stones. And on their shoulders, two stones with every name of every tribe written on them.
We are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) and when we approach God, we don’t simply represent ourselves. We represent our communities, friends and family. This is why we approach and pray boldly, because there is more on the line than just our own personal existence. The thing to remember is that our reason for beingable to approach boldly is because of the finished work of Christ.
Reading through the book of John we see all sorts of scandalous statements by Jesus that we quickly explain away because we just don’t think that Jesus could possibly have meant what he said. It’s just too crazy to think that when Jesus said, “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name and I will do it.” that Jesus actually meant exactly what he said! (John 14:13-14). We are quick to chime in and qualify his statements and make sure everyone is clear on what that versedoesn’tmean. I’m done hearing about what that verse doesn’t mean. I want to know what it means. Jesus didn’t say that so that and then have it included in scripture so that we could know what he didn’t mean by it.
This is a call to restore bold, unhindered prayers. Let’s stop allowing our theology about God to define what we believe God can or can’t do. Maybe our prayers do change the course of history and maybe our prayers do change people’s hearts and maybe God does have power death literally raising the dead to life! Maybe I could stand out in the middle of thunder storm and command it to stop in the name of Jesus, bringing glory to the Father. Maybe God can shut down strip clubs, bars and drug houses against people’s will. And maybe that power and authority lives inside of us, waiting for us to release it on the world.
If your theology leaves you timid in prayer, it is wrong.