Who Do You Pray To?

If you don't like the God I serve, don't ask me to pray because that's the only God I pray to.
Let me be honest upfront, we don't all worship the same God. We may all say God/YHWH/Elohim or Jesus/Yeshua/Christ, but if we start talking about the character of the God we serve, you'll see that we aren't talking about the same deity. God only has one Church (we're going to get deeper into that next season on the podcast), and that Church should follow His values. When we have values that are vastly different than those outlined in the Bible, it says that we're serving the god of our mind's creation as opposed to the God who created us.

Hollywood and Disney movies (particularly the old ones) have us under the impression that the devil will be an overtly evil villain. For instance, in the original Sleeping Beauty, you have a horned Maleficent casting a death curse on a baby and saying she's "calling on the powers of evil" (or darkness—I can't remember the exact word). Recently, however, movies have started to show more complex villains; villains you sympathize with. Villains that make you question your definition of good and evil. That's the field the devil is playing on. He doesn't have to get you to become an atheist or a satanist to claim a victory; all he has to do is deceive you.

Last week, I had an eye-opening conversation with a pastor I met. While boasting about his church's support of ecumenism, he revealed that there are people in his congregation that don't believe in the power of Christ's blood and therefore, he doesn't pray in the name of the Messiah. If he had told me he didn't believe in the blood of Christ and that was why he didn't pray in such a manner, it would have been fine—I wouldn't have agreed, but it would make sense. The concept presented, however, is that he prays in a way to not offend or to appease those around him. Therein lies the problem.

For his specific example, there are two issues. One, he isn't teaching the people what God has revealed to him. Imagine if Daniel had said he wouldn't interpret the dream because the king didn't worship the Most High God. Imagine if the disciples refused to spread Christ's message because it went against what the Jewish leaders were teaching. We are called to preach the whole gospel, not pieces of the gospel. Therefore, we have a responsibility to those around us to teach all the Lord tells us to.

The second issue is that he's going against his own belief to accommodate man. If you believe that "no one comes to the Father without going through [Jesus]," then you know that you can never approach God without Christ covering and cleansing your sins with His blood (through His sacrifice). Given this, a prayer that isn't passed through Christ is worthless.

There is also a set of broader issues we should discuss. If I'm in a diverse room and they ask me to pray, or even if it's just one individual who has differing beliefs. If I never specify which God I am speaking of, everyone gets confused. If you are Hindu and worship Hindu gods, you may believe I'm praying to them. If you worship creation, you may think I'm praying to it. Yet, 1 Thessalonians 5:22 says that we are to abstain from the appearance of evil. That means you should never think I'm praying to anyone other than the God of Abraham. Furthermore, if I am praying for your healing (or in this case, justice), when it comes to fruition, it is YHWH that should get the credit. However, if I did a generic prayer, even if YHWH received it without complaint, the person listening wouldn't attribute subsequent miracles with the God of Abraham.

Needless to say, I spent a lot of time after this conversation contemplating the issue. I must say, after thinking on the matter, I don't feel comfortable in settings where people are praying, but I am unsure who they are praying to.
Photocredit: White

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