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Grace tidings: Hypocrites love praying

 Jesus taught that there is right and wrong praying.

Prayer is the most abused part of the Christian life today. Misguided understandings about prayer mess more people up spiritually than anything else out there.

Please note that I used to be guilty of most of the things I am now preaching against as I was growing up in my Christian walk before I got this revelation. I haven’t arrived but I have left.

 Jesus taught that there is right and wrong praying.

“And when you pray you shall not be as the hypocrites are, for they love to pray” (Mathew 6:5). Most believers don’t associate hypocrites with prayer. They think, if you’re praying, what could be wrong? Just because you start with the words “Our Father...” and conclude with “...in the name of Jesus, amen” doesn’t mean it’s prayer. A tremendous amount of what’s being called “prayer” today offends God and opens the door for the devil. I know this may come as a shock to you.

There are right and wrong ways to pray. Wrong praying gets wrong results. Jesus had to reveal what prayer was not, before He taught what it is. (Matthew 6:5-13.) The Lord Himself had to counter the religious concepts concerning prayer in His day first, or the people would never have been able to grasp what He was about to say. It’s just as bad today, if not worse. Like the Pharisees Jesus confronted, prayer has become a religious callisthenic. People use it to soothe their consciences, feeling like they’ve done something to manipulate and motivate God to move on their behalf—wrong motives!

The heart attitude behind your prayer interests God much more than the actual words you say. Just because you spend an hour, or more, in what you call “prayer” doesn’t mean you’re accomplishing anything. If your attitude is wrong, you’re praying wrong. “And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward” (Matthew 6:5). They won’t receive anything from God.

If you don’t have the proper motive, it doesn’t matter what you do. Praying in tongues, prophesying, having all faith, giving your possessions to the poor, or even laying down your life will all profit you nothing if done without God’s kind of love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3.) In the kingdom, heart attitude makes all the difference. If you aren’t seeing the desired results from your prayer life, check your motives. Are your prayers truly motivated by love? I understand this is hard to admit because you always want to be positive and believe the best. However, if you allowed yourself to take a critical and objective look at your own prayer life, would the honest evaluation be that it profits you nothing? Have you prayed for years and not seen the manifestation? Perhaps your body isn’t healed, or your finances still aren’t really improving, either way, it’s just not working.

Friend, it’s not God who hasn’t been answering; it could be your prayers that have been wrong. God Already Moved. Most Christians see prayer as an opportunity to “move God.” They believe He can do anything, but that He hasn’t done it yet. In this mentality, prayer is how to make God do something. If this is what you believe, your prayer life rests on an extremely faulty foundation. God has already done everything He’s ever going to do. He moved once and for all in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through the atonement, God has already forgiven and healed every person who will ever be forgiven or healed.

He doesn’t even have to do anything now to cause a healing or salvation. As far as God’s concerned, the sins of the entire world have already been forgiven. The Lamb’s perfect sacrifice dealt decisively with the past, present, and future sins of every believer and nonbeliever alike. This doesn’t mean that all are just “automatically” saved (or healed). All individuals must receive for themselves by faith what Jesus Christ has already provided in order to actually benefit from it. A gift given isn’t fully yours until it’s received. As Christians, we are to instruct people to believe and receive what God has already done for them through the atonement. That’s why the popular evangelistic method of “asking Jesus to come into your heart” is biblically inaccurate. Technically speaking, you don’t have to “ask” God to “save” you. This implies that the Lord hasn’t done anything yet until after you make your request. Then, depending on how He feels about you, He will either respond positively or negatively. This is completely incorrect because Jesus did everything for all of us two thousand years ago. The Philippian jailer approached Paul and Silas, asking, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:30,31). Believe what? Believe that He fully dealt with sin at Calvary. Payment has already been made. Now it’s just a matter of believing and receiving.

One of my favorite ministers of the Gospel, a man whom God used to rescue me from the clutches of religion, Andrew Wommack shares a story about a lady whom he wants met during one his teaching sessions. This lady informed him that she had asked the Lord into her heart a many times but still didn’t have any assurance of salvation.

“I told her,  “Tonight we’ll pray and you’ll get assurance.” After praying with her to receive salvation, I asked, “Are you saved?” She responded, “Well, I don’t know.” “What do you mean you don’t know?” Pointing to my open Bible, I shared with her, “The Word says right here in Romans 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’ Did you confess with your mouth?” “Yes.” “Do you believe God raised Jesus from the dead?” “Yes.” “Are you saved?” “I don’t know.” “Look with me at verse 13.  whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ Are you a whosoever?” “Well, I guess I am.” “Did you call on the name of the Lord?” “Yes.” “Are you saved?” “I don’t know.”

According to Andrew, she simply could not believe that she was saved.  In a situation like that, what would you think if I said to you, “I’m not sure why God hasn’t saved her. Would you please join with me in prayer, fasting, and agreement for her salvation? We shouldn’t let go of God until He saves her” You would probably disagree with me answering, “No, Doug, that’s not the way it works. God has already done it. If she hasn’t received, then her receiver is the problem, not God’s giver.” In the same way you appropriate and walk in forgiveness of sin, you receive healing, deliverance, prosperity, and everything else.

Jesus commanded us in Matthew 10:8 to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, [and] cast out devils.” There’s a huge difference between healing the sick and just praying for them. John G. Lake understood this difference. As a world-renowned missionary preacher, Lake had a powerful healing ministry based in Spokane, Washington. Instead of doing all the work himself, he trained associates called “healing practitioners.” Whenever people requested prayer, Lake sent his practitioners out with little bottles of oil and told them, “Don’t come back until they’re healed.” These believers didn’t just go pray for sick people; they healed them. The longest it took for a practitioner to come back was three and-a-half weeks. It might have taken a while, but they saw that person healed. Lake stated that not a single associate ever returned without seeing an individual healed. They stayed and diligently worked with them until the healing manifested. Although this might sound foreign to you, these are just normal results when you understand and believe that God has already done His part. Jesus Christ completed everything necessary to save and heal every person. You believed and received salvation. Healing comes the exact same way.

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