“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:3)
A group called Pray Live organized a prayer rally on April 27, 2006 in Washington DC to pray, not for the salvation of souls, not for the glory of God to be manifest, not for the revival of the church, but for lower gas prices (see news article here). Then yesterday they gathered in Los Angeles to pray for the same thing again, and now this time they got even more pastors to support them (see news article here). What’s going on here? Hasn’t America seen enough of this stupidity? Sometimes I feel ashamed for the Church.
First of all, Pray Live thinks that this is a way to show America “the power of prayer.” That phrase in itself is a problem already. Prayer is about connecting with God so that He can change us and that we can know more about His will and to equip us to have the power to walk in His ways. Prayer is also about giving up our ways and letting God take control and change the situation. The primary agent here is God, who says “yes”, “no”, or “wait” or whatever He wants according to His good will and purpose. But what Pray Live is doing is trying to be the primary agent and show “prayer works.” No, God is not a prayer machine.
Secondly, despite skyrocketing gas prices, America actually has one of the lowest gas prices in the world. In many countries the gas price is 2 or 3 times more expensive than in USA! A better, modified prayer would be to pray for the oil companies to set gas prices with equality and “justice”, because “justice” is an essential character of God. And we should pray that God can change us so we can spend less on the non-essential things of life and have a chariable heart to care for the less fortunate in the third world nations, rather than fixating our problems on these gas prices.
All this talk about praying makes me want to pray too. Father, I pray that the Church will realize that, for the world to know Christ, we must be authentic instead of be gimmicky. We must reflect God’s love in our words and in our actions and in our concerns for the world. Please forgive us for our selfish ambitions, and help us to be obedient to Your will.