So here is the last news article I will mention today. It is not news, really. Rather, it is an article written up in Charisma magazine. Its title is “Praying With Prophetic Power.” You can read the article and then see what I think about it (if you have not already guessed!).
So, why should this be an alert? Prayer is good, right? Yes. Prophecy is good, right? Yes (at least true prophecy is good…). Then what is the problem?
First, there is a real danger in trying to make up new ways to get what we want in prayer. This kind of ‘strategy’ revolves around the person making the effort to find the best strategy which will cause God to intervene. This is not grace and it does not glorify God. I quote:
Knowing how and when to apply a specific prayer strategy can make a difference in a situation’s outcome.
This is a modern kind of gnosticism – the idea that special knowledge will give special power. Biblically, the efficacy of our prayers can be hindered by a few things. What makes them effective or powerful is ultimately the will of God. When we ask for things in accordance with God’s will then God may answer those prayers. Period. Our strategy in the thing is not important.
Consider what my children do. When they want something which they think they are unlikely to receive, they approach me with all the sweetness in the world. My son Micah will come close to me, sometimes he will stroke my arm and he will talk in a gentle voice. “Daddy, me want a piece of chocolate. Please you give me one.” He is employing a strategy for getting me to do what he wants. This is immature and, in my children, I call it manipulation.
In grown Christians, I call it the same thing.
Here is a slightly longer quote which is very problematic:
God established the church on the earth to finish the work of putting Satan under His feet. Paul speaks in Ephesians of the work and power made available to the church. He says he was called to “bring to light … the mystery” hidden for ages in God “in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places” and declares that God “is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Eph. 3:9-10, 20, NASB).
Paul indicates that God is going to make known His wisdom through the church. According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the word known comes from the Greek verb gnoridzo. It means “to certify, to declare, make known, give to understand, to come to know, discover.” To “make known” means that God is going to use the church to make declarations to the demonic rulers and authorities.
Can the church exercise some discernment please?!? From the first sentence, this is wrong. God has not established the church to continue the work of putting Satan under anyone’s feet! Rather, the church, according to Paul in the book of Ephesians, is being built into a place where God can live by His Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22). According to Jesus, all authority has already been given to Himself. What does the church need to do with Satan?
Furthermore, this mangling and dismembering of Scripture is horrible to read! The idea that God is going to make His wisdom known through the church is accurate. But to take one possible meaning from the Greek word and use it to then give the church some special prophetic declaration strategy to demonic beings is nonsense.
Quite plainly, the translation chosen by the translators – who are very well-equipped to know which is the best word to use already – is the best one. God is working through the church to make His wisdom known. From the context of the book of Ephesians, Paul is making the point that the church, by virtue of its unity, will demonstrate God’s wisdom to the world. The church will achieve unity and the unity of so many different people will be a picture and reflection of God’s manifold – varied – wisdom.
Why should we be alert? Because this kind of teaching has the potential to put us in bondage. We can be bound by trying to conform to some false standard of what prayer really is. If our prayers seem to be unanswered then we can be compelled to go and pray for a new strategy. This is wrong! If our prayers seem to be unanswered then the correct response is to trust God! Pray again and trust God for the outcome.