Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Spam (not the meat) (11/03/11)
I wonder if God ever feels spammed. There is a church not far where I live that has a prayer team. They boast that they have more than one hundred people in what they call a prayer chain that can be activated in minutes to pray in case a need arises. The concept must be that there is strength in numbers. The greater the number of people who pray the more likely it is that God will respond and grant the blessing. I know of no evidence that would indicate that this concept is valid.
I know that there are some very good people who believe that Jesus encouraged group prayer in Matthew 18:19-20. “Again I say to you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the middle of them. The fact is that the above statement was made in the context of individual disagreements and has nothing whatsoever to do with group prayer. Further evidence of this is the next verse which was Peter’s infamous question concerning forgiveness. “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?”
Spamming doesn’t work. It is illegal in some places, and I just can’t believe that the Holy Spirit likes to be spammed or that the Creator of the World can be intimidated into action by a group of people regardless of the size of the group and even if all the group members are believers.
I’m not sure that the New Testament writers—with the possible exception of Paul—understood that the modus operandi of the religion of Jesus is a personal relationship. All of these people were born and raised in the Hebrew tradition, which was—at least in the Old Testament—a group experience. The concept of an individual relationship with God was foreign to the Jews, and it is perfectly understandable if these very talented men of God did not fully comprehend the power that the Holy Spirit can offer to individual believers. But the fact is, God is much more likely to respond to an individual who talks to him friend, the Holy Spirit than he is to a group that treats God as though he is a surrogate for Santa Clause. The Holy Spirit exist for the sole purpose of assisting believers. Wouldn’t you rather talk one on one with someone you know and have respect for and with whom you have a relationship than with a group—especially when the group is trying to apply pressure. We don’t have to beg to get the Holy Spirit to act in our behalf, and there is nothing to be gained by begging as a group.
Am I saying that all group prayer is wrong? No. Of course not. But we have to remember that the Holy Spirit exists as a helping agent. The progress of society is our responsibility and spamming God is a diversion—an attempt by a group of people with different levels of commitment to transfer responsibility.
Jesus healed Peter’s mother in law (Mark 1:29-31), and according to Mark no one prayed. They didn’t have to. Jesus was Peter’s friend, and friends help friends when they can.
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