This publication is the response to one of the review questions for a live radio interview on my article: ‘What the Church Refuses to Teach About Christianity;’ the particular question was…
You mentioned praying for greatness as an error, but consider Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10, his prayer was not an error; how is that?
It is always important that we put scripture into context, especially since the original Bible was not written with verses but rather unified passages, so let’s go back just one verse if not more. Verse 9 of 1 Chronicle 4 says: “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” It is important to note that the word translated as more honourable is the Hebrew Word ‘kabad’ (kaw-bad’) which means more weighty, numerous, rich or honourable. Secondly the Bible does not say that he was causing pain; no! His mother called him Jabez because she (the mother) bore him in pain; now that’s the mother’s problem not his. So it was not as if Jabez was some cast-away; we have to note that.
John 21:25 says that “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” It is the nature of the Bible that it does not contain every detail of what people did; so rather not surpringly, the bible did not detail out the practical steps Jabez took to bring about the enlargement of his territory, you cannot say with certainty that Jabez did not work or put in effort, and that it happened miraculously; what noble man would not work; he worked and I believe he worked diligently to give life to his faith initiated in prayer.
Now, what really was his prayer? “Oh, that You would 1. bless me indeed, 2. and enlarge my territory, 3. that Your hand would be with me, 4. and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” Check this against the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4; they are very similar! So God granted him what he requested; especially because none of these requests was really to be answered physically without self comportment and diligence; essentially, hardwork. It is just like praying and saying: “Give us this day our daily bread,” as per the Lord’s Prayer; does God bring you physical bread miraculously? Ordinarily, No! (There was a time when I found in my pigeon hole, an envelope bearing a handsome amount; all that it had was my name, and inside the envelope flap was written: “Dave, God bless you!” And till date I don’t know where the envelope came from or who had put it there; it was during a very tight time on campus; most people were ‘broke’ like myself at the time. I know God commanded the ravens and they fed Elijah, and there was once manna, and also quail. Jesus fed the multitudes by multiplying fish and bread; etc. But such incidences were the exception (you may call them ‘miracles’) rather than the norm.) Ordinarily, like everybody else, you put in the effort to get that daily bread. Of course, God is with you all the way!
In Matthew 6:7-8, when teaching on prayer, Jesus directed that: “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” And then he gave out what we have come to term ‘The Lord’s Prayer.’ Compare that with, Isaiah 65:24 which says that: “It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear;” you will notice that they are similar! Great!! And you know Ephesians 3:20 also teaches that the Lord is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us;’ emphasis on 1. Ask, and 2. Think. Now compare especially the ‘think’ part with Isaiah 65:24 which says that “before they call I will answer,” it’s just like saying: ‘when they think I will answer;’ because you must think before you can call or ask; for that matter. Halleluyah!!! I seek to empahsise that, the thinking part is the activator, or initiator; the first potent power before the asking comes in.
And, what is that power at work in us that Ephesians 3:20 refers to, by which the Lord does all those great things? It is the Holy Spirit’s power as we know it, and more! All these go to confirm that it might be an error to pray for greatness, because once you think greatness; God says: “Done!”
In part one of the Zing4Life! Series, in addition to a whole lot of insights, we help people to appreciate this enormous power at work in us as indicated in Ephesians 3:20 by helping participants to understand how the nervous system, the endocrine system, genetic components, the soul and the spirit all interact through our thinking, in order to draw ideas, directions or inspired thoughts from God; the source of infinite intelligence. It’s amazing! They are all seen in the 8-Step Creative Thinking Process.
You know Microsoft; they have a wish list where people are supposed to post what they wish the softwares that they’ve already released, like Word, Excel, etc., could do. And when they analyse, they realise that about 80% of what people request for, are things they have already implemented in their softwares; except that people just don’t know that they are already there in the softwares they already own; largely because people don’t take time to study the softwares. It’s a similar thing; you will ask God to make you great only when you are not aware of your true status. So you just have to unearth your true/hidden potential; God has placed greatness inside of us already. We have to live it out, and the Zing4Life! principles and practices help one to do that; in addition to all that the Church and Schools are already teaching and helping us to do; variously. If you pray that ‘God make me great’ prayer to strengthen your faith and to receive directions – knowing that you will take the necessary and appropriate practical action – then fine; otherwise it will be an error.
Let me use a personal experience to wrap up on this issue; you may click here to see that.
This publication was the response to one of the review questions for a live radio interview on my article: ‘What the Church Refuses to Teach About Christianity;’ for the other review questions and responses you may click here.