In continuing in the same theme of my previous post about observation; another observation I have within Christian circles is in how we pray. And the context of how we pray is a concern for me. To climb up on my soap box; my largest concern is that of binding and loosing.
Perhaps my observation is only cultural to my specific experience and not indicative within Christianity of a whole and if so; my apologies. And the area of concern is that we bind people in prayer from doing things. I bind this person from doing this or that. I bind this person to do this or that. In doing so; our prayers actually become a form of witch craft and while our hearts and intentions may be honourable; the results are not.
Note I am not talking about the practice here of binding and loosing demonic forces; a topic for another day. I am talking about the area of binding another human. While very few may actually say those words; “I bind you!” the intention is actually there.
Here is a personal example from when someone approached me and told me they had been praying that I would repent of separating from my wife and go back to her. I came out of an extremely abusive situation and one that I had no intention of going back into. 1/2 an hour before this encounter; my ex had rang me and abused me for not returning a pair of the kids underpants…this incident combined with being told how I was being prayed for left me cold and in a state of suicidal despair.
The prayer was binding me into a situation that to them seemed to be a Godly result; but in reality was destructive. And in reality the prayer was a prayer of judgement. A better approach would have been for that person and church to ask me how they best could pray for me. Or for the church to pray that God would bring healing and release us both into his purposes.
Some of my favourite prayers are found in Ephesians. They have a theme of growth and thankfulness. I pray that you will grow in knowledge of understanding. I pray that you will grow in love for all the saints. I pray that you will grow to know the love of Christ. I pray that together you will grow in the unity and love of Christ. Jesus taught us to pray to our father; forgive us; help us to forgive!
Think about your own style of prayer. Do you bind people in judgement, is the basis of your prayer one of judgement and wanting them to change to your ways and to your understanding. Or instead do you release those you are praying for, into the mercy and care of a living God who loves us and allow that grace and mercy to bring about growth.