Monday, June 07, 2010

Prayer and Authority (20) Disappointment and Offence

Persisting in prayer to change God’s mind is pointless. Expecting the forces of evil to surrender without a fight is foolish. If we pray in the wrong way, our prayers will not be answered. This is not a problem, if it occurs occasionally, but is dangerous if it happens too often. Frequent failure in prayer leads to disappointment and disappointment corrodes the human spirit. If we do not deal with it, we can develop a bad attitude that destroys our faith in God.

When fervent prayers go unanswered, we can get offended and start saying negative things about God.

God does not care about me.
God cannot heal everyone.
Miracles are not for today.
These statements are not true. They may express our pain and disappointment, but if we keep speaking in this way we are insulting God’s character. In the New Testament, this is described as taking offence with God.

When Jesus came to Nazareth, the people were amazed at him, but their amazement soon changed to expressions of doubt.
Where did this man get these things?" they asked. "What's this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him. (Mark 6:3).
Their statements were true, but they represented a distorted view of Jesus. They gave too much weight to their own experiences and too little to God’s promises. Jesus did not match their expectations, so they were disappointed in him.

The people were disappointed in God, but the scriptures say they had taken offence.
Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marvelled because of their unbelief (Mark 6:5,6).
Offence led to unbelief, which shut down the power of God.

Offence is a silent insidious sin that is mostly buried and hidden. When we are offended by someone, we often say nothing. The other person may not even know that we are offended. However, the offence infects our relationship by eating away in our hearts and tainting everything we say and do.

Most Christians who are offended by unanswered prayers have never said what they feel out loud. They just have this feeling of being let down by God. This wrong attitude is often buried so deep in our hearts that we do not know it is there. However, it taints our thoughts and words and spoils our relationship with God. Buried offence at God makes faith difficult.

We do not want to fall into offence, so leaning how to pray correctly is really important. Instead of pleading with God, we should learn about authority and how we can use it to set the power of the Holy Spirit free to accomplish God’s purposes on earth.

For more on this topic see Rock of Offence.

To read this full series of posts go to Prayer and Authority.

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