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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Prayer Posts and Prayer Dares #4

Sometimes, the environment we grow up in—though it may be uncomfortable for us while we are in it—or we may not want to return to it—can be very helpful in our learning process if we embrace it.

This is true for me and prayer. I spent a good deal of time in one particular church experience as a child that I would never want to repeat, nor would I wish it on anyone. However, in those painful years I learned a ton. I learned a lot in the way one might look at a parent and say, “when I grow up I will not treat my child like that.”

So, here is a list of some things I learned from other Christ followers growing up (p.s. just in case you are not good at picking up on sarcasm, the list below is NOT something I believe). These things screwed with my prayer life for years :

What I learned about expressing emotion from “Christ Followers” :

  • Christ Followers are “happy people” (shiny, happy people) at all times
They “know God is in control” so they smile
There is too much to be happy about—no tears
  • Christ Followers who struggle and are frustrated are people without clarity
So, they give clarity with misquoted Bible verses and pithy grabbers intended to satisfy (God is in control, He won’t give you more than you can handle, there is power in weakness, there’s a prize at the end, there’s no crown without a cross, yada, yada, yada. They are not always false, but mostly they are untimely.
  • Christ Followers that are “spiritual” have good sounding prayers to God—well thought out and verbose

Things I learned from the world, the media, friends, and the uninformed:
  • God sends lightning
  • God’s main job is to punish us
  • We have to earn God’s favor—so don’t make Him mad!
  • I must change before God accepts me (stop drinking, smoking, cussing, looking at porn, being angry), I must get my act together!

Things I learned from life experience and motivational speakers, tapes, and books
  • Doubt is the opposite of belief
  • It’s best to buck up, grab the bootstraps and move on
  • People with emotional “issues” are weak
I believe these are unbiblical misconceptions about God, emotion, prayer, etc. and if we don't move past them, they will haunt our prayer life (or lack thereof) forever.

Another prayer dare : : : go down this list of misconceptions again and find one that may have you hamstrung. Tell someone about it. Investigate it. Ask someone to pray through the issue with you and ask God for a change of perspective.

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