Some False Hopes About Prayer

By Lewis Willis

While driving down the street the other day, I saw a message on a sign in front of a Baptist Church. It said, “God’s help is only a prayer away.” Wouldn’t it be great if this was always true? If you have a problem, or if you get in trouble, God would always be there to bail us out. Yes, it would be great  if it were only true.

One of the false notions of this statement is that God’s assistance is available, even when men do nothing to receive it. Just ask, and the help comes! Or, so we are led to believe. If the idea is true, one could live to please the Devil until in great trouble, then ask God to assist, and he would come through. Do you believe this? Does God respond in such cases, as the sign suggests?

Another thing the sign falsely implies is that every time we ask God for something, he always answers, “Yes!” Does God always grant every request we make in prayer? If a loved one is sick, and we pray that God will make them well, does he always do so? What if we ask, and he says, “No!”? If people have been led to believe that he will always say, “Yes,” they are going to be disappointed and discouraged if they do not get what they ask. They will, then, blame God for treating them poorly. Furthermore, modern religion will be responsible for deceiving them about prayer. (Incidentally, after reading the sign referred to above, I turned at the next corner and read this on another church sign: “Fear  a prayer headed in the Wrong Direction.” If I ever figure out what this means, I might offer a comment about it.)

The Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 3:12: “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” Therefore, if we expect God to answer our prayers, we had better be busy being righteous! Other-wise, we will be as deceived as the denominations are.

Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 15, p. 15
August 5, 1993