I’ve come to a place where there are certain things I just can’t pray for. Maybe it’s just a lack of faith on my part. Or maybe it’s that I’m no longer naïve to the nature of God or His will.
I write today because there are times when I find it so difficult to pray. Sometimes I feel in my personal life and as I observe in others prayer is nothing more than some superstitious recited cantation. Far be it from me to be the judge of anyone’s heart or intentions, but by the things we pray for sometimes it’s hard not to draw conclusions.
I think my own difficultly in prayer has risen out of some very common questions.
- “Why does God seem to answer prayers for parking spots when entire countries are destroys in earth quakes and famines?”
- “Why is one healed and another left sick?”
- “Why are some Christians poor and others are rich, if both work just as hard and love God just as much?”
So maybe I’m just lack faith, but there are things that I can’t pray for anymore.
I can’t pray for finical gain above what my family needs to survive. I understand living in America already places in me top percentages of the world’s rich. Instead I find myself praying for faithfulness and wisdom for the things that God has given me.
I can’t pray for parking spots when owning a car means I’m living in a reality that 90% of others in this world are not. That’s like saying God indoor-pluming is not good enough, I want my toilet to be gold plated.
The writer of Hebrews lists several key items and labels them “Elementary Teachings.” He says of points listed that they are “spiritual milk,” and that his Christian audience should be growing up and feasting “spiritual meat.”
Here are the points of understanding that the writer labels “milk”:
- Repentance from acts that lead to death.
- Faith in God.
- Instruction about baptisms.
- The laying on of hands.
- The resurrection of the Dead.
- Eternal Judgment.
Some of the items on this list are understandable as “milk.” Repentance and faith in God are the introductory elements to the Christian life. However as one examines the other items on the list unanimous consent isn’t a given. For some these points might be areas of contention between denominational communities. For many others there might a complete and genuine ignorance as to understanding of these issues. To this ladder point I write to address.
The Christian church has failed on many levels to educate its people. At one point Christians were at the forefront of community education. Yet our ranking has dropped. Many churches are “producing” dumb Christians. I am not an advocate that every Christian needs a seminary education. However, I do believe that the community of believers need to taught more than many of them get in the Sunday morning situational/behavioral sermon. Our lives are shaped and flow out of our understanding of who God is. If our view of God is shallow than our lives are build on a shallow footing and any powerful event may have the ability to shake us from beliefs.
It also seems as though this list has shifted today from what it was. The elementary teachings of the church ages past are not consistent with the elementary teachings of the church modern. I have debated my self, wondering if this is due to contextualization or if there is a misrepresentation of what truly is an “elementary teaching.”
Two of the most common substitutions on this list are the teaching of Creation, and the Rapture. In many circles these have become the benchmark doctrines for new believers. Evolution is only equaled by some to Satanism, and the teaching of the resurrection of dead has been surpassed by the Hollywood images of floating in clouds in some mysterious Rapture.
I want to hear your opinion on the issue. Think back for me what was the most common and frequent teaching you remember or hear to this day in church?