The other night I had a dream that I was being forced to sit under the ramblings of a prosperity “preacher”. As I sat and listened to this so-called preacher explain how and why God blessed him with his millions I began to get infuriated. I got so mad that I woke my self up. I literally sat upright from a dead sleep, filled with anger because of what I was hearing.
It was about that time that I realized the things I was hearing in my dream were actually being said on the television in my room. My wife had stayed up later than me to finish watching some show and she must have fell asleep with the television on. Apparently 4am is primetime TV for all those who are looking to God like a lottery ticket, because at 4am some huffing and puffing preacher comes on the TV to tell you how to open the window of heaven in order to fill your wallet.
This guy (who is preaching in front of many people who are literally in tears over what he’s saying) begins to explain that God wants all Christians rich and that he is going to pray for God to bring somebody into the life of all of his hearers who would be in their life just to give them money. He explains that the only reason this person will want to be around you is to bless you financially. He then asked everybody to get out their wallets and open them up so he can pray for their wallets to be filled. He goes on to say, “Even you at home; get out your wallet. If you don’t have a wallet draw a picture of a wallet and I’ll pray for it.”
There are so many things wrong with this picture that I don’t have room enough to address them all in one blog post but for now let me simply address this heretic’s view on prayer. First off, think about yourself. How do you understand prayer? What type of things do you pray for? Though many of us despise the so-called prosperity gospel, far too many in the church pray very similar prayers.
Jesus said, “Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:9-13). Jesus certainly tells us to pray for needs such as daily bread, but the idea behind our asking for daily bread is that we will be so about the business of the Kingdom that we won’t have time to focus on our daily bread. Prayer is directly linked to the fulfillment of the coming of the Kingdom.
John Piper says it like this, “Prayer is meant by God to be a wartime walkie-talkie, not a domestic intercom...not for the enhancement of our comforts but for the advancement of Christ's kingdom.” It seems to me Piper is saying something very similar to Christ here. One of the main implications of what Jesus says and Piper says is that Christians are to use prayer as a means to get the gospel of the Kingdom out into the world in order that people from every tribe, tongue, and nation would repent and believe and bow the knee to King Jesus.
Matthew 24:14 says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” This implies that when the gospel reaches all those the Lord wishes it to Jesus will return and the Kingdom will come in its fullness. In their book Faithmapping, Daniel Montgomery and Mike Cosper say, “The gospel of the kingdom is the announcement that life with God, under the rule of God, is made immediately available to us through Jesus, our King.” Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, had the wrath of God that all sinners deserve poured out upon himself while He hung on a cross, died the death that all sinners deserve, and rose from the dead on the third day conquering sin, Satan, and death for all those who will repent and believe in this message. That being the case, the prayers of the church should be focused on getting this message out in order to push back the darkness and fulfill the Great Commission. The last thing Christians should be doing is holding an open wallet in front of some guy who is promising them the world if they will merely send a check to his “ministry.”
Remember what the Word says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:10). “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul” (Mark 8:36)?
So please, don’t fall for the nonsense these prosperity preachers are dishing out. They are lies that deceive, distract, and disappoint. When you pray, pray with great intention for the cause of the Kingdom. Get your eyes off of yourselves and turn them to Christ. Jesus is better than a full wallet any day. And the thing this world needs more than anything is something that money cannot buy anyway. The greatest need in the world today is for people to be born again, and this only happens through the preaching and hearing of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17, 1 Peter 1:22-25).
We should be praying for God's Kingdom to come, yes for our good, but most importantly so that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). Or as Jesus put it, so that Our Father in heaven would be hallowed or glorified.
So, what are you praying for?