Tuesday, June 4

What not to pray

Scripture: Proverbs 28-29, Psalm 60, Romans 16

Proverbs 28:9 He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination.

Proverbs 28:9 (The Message) God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to him.

Observation/application

Proverbs are not hard-and-fast rules, but pithy observations about life.  Here is an interesting one.  

If we refuse to listen to God’s law (God’s word), then our prayers are an abomination (rejected).  

This is not God petulantly saying, “If you won’t listen to Me, then I won’t listen to you.”  I think the idea here is that if we pray about something that God has clearly spoken about or forbids, our prayers are worthless and won’t be heard.

An example: recently, I heard someone say that they were asking God if they could do X, when X is clearly forbidden in Scripture.  That is a wasted prayer.  There are some things you don’t need to pray about—when God has spoken clearly.  In fact, to pray about them is just plain wrong—just do what God said.  

I don’t need to ask God if I can have an affair, or tell a lie, or cheat someone to get ahead, or keep my tithe, or refuse to forgive someone.  To ask about any of those is to willingly ignore what I know God has said.  I don’t need to ask; I know what to do.  Those are wasted prayers—abominations.  

It’s not often I’d say not to pray about something, but here’s one: never pray about something God that has clearly spoken about.  Just obey.

Prayer: Lord, help us to know Your word, and in our prayers, to seek Your help to live it (not avoid it).