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To Pray or not to Pray

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Member
My conscience has been bothering me about some things that I've been encouraged to do alongside my church family. I've spoken about it to other church members, but want an objective point of view from other Christians.

1st Concern and Question
Our church was advised to cease praying for a man who was divorced long before recently becoming a pastor of a church. We were told that we're allowed to pray for him in our private prayer time, but cannot do so during our prayer night. 1 Timothy 3:2 (husband of one wife) was the reason given for it.
I've never encountered such a circumstance before, and wondered if this is a normal practice? Are there valid reasons to not pray for someone, as a church, but allowable in private?

2nd Concern and Question
As a church, we are asked to pray aloud for 50-80+ people/causes each during our weekly prayer meeting. I find this difficult to do so sincerely, especially because it feels like a performance. Also I do not know anyone on these lists, or anything about them.
Is it moral to decline this format and pray for those I know? Or simply pray for a fraction of these list?
 
Member
To me, it sounds like that church is legalistic. It is fine for a church to have a "Statement of Faith", or "What we believe", but this sounds like carrying it a bit too far. I've been in churches such a this in the past, in the end, all these rules are too draining on the membership and it leads to a lot of congregation turnover, folks coming & leaving.

In your particular example (1rst concern) , I would say that man needs more prayer rather than less, and the church body should stand together for him in agreement. Could be though, that they just don't want people talking about it, ruffling feathers.

2nd concern - how in the world can everyone do that during the prayer meeting? I assume everyone prays at the same time? Spending only a minute or two on each person/cause would take a couple of hours...
 
Loyal
My conscience has been bothering me about some things that I've been encouraged to do alongside my church family. I've spoken about it to other church members, but want an objective point of view from other Christians.

1st Concern and Question
Our church was advised to cease praying for a man who was divorced long before recently becoming a pastor of a church. We were told that we're allowed to pray for him in our private prayer time, but cannot do so during our prayer night. 1 Timothy 3:2 (husband of one wife) was the reason given for it.
I've never encountered such a circumstance before, and wondered if this is a normal practice? Are there valid reasons to not pray for someone, as a church, but allowable in private?

2nd Concern and Question
As a church, we are asked to pray aloud for 50-80+ people/causes each during our weekly prayer meeting. I find this difficult to do so sincerely, especially because it feels like a performance. Also I do not know anyone on these lists, or anything about them.
Is it moral to decline this format and pray for those I know? Or simply pray for a fraction of these list?
When King Saul messed up so badly that God had rejected him, Samuel continued to "mourn" [could we not say "pray"] for him, God told Samuel that that was enough:

"And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons." I Sam 16:1

Ah, but how does this apply to your situation? It applies if you believe you must be in submission to those who told not to pray for him. I won't say you should or should not obey them. I will say that you must obey God, but first be certain what it is that God is speaking to your heart about the situation. Talk to God about what you should do:

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:" Matt 7:7

Sometimes God will speak to you through the mouths of people, but listen carefully to what it is that you are hearing:

"To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice." John 10:3-4
 
Member
My conscience has been bothering me about some things that I've been encouraged to do alongside my church family. I've spoken about it to other church members, but want an objective point of view from other Christians.

1st Concern and Question
Our church was advised to cease praying for a man who was divorced long before recently becoming a pastor of a church. We were told that we're allowed to pray for him in our private prayer time, but cannot do so during our prayer night. 1 Timothy 3:2 (husband of one wife) was the reason given for it.
I've never encountered such a circumstance before, and wondered if this is a normal practice? Are there valid reasons to not pray for someone, as a church, but allowable in private?

2nd Concern and Question
As a church, we are asked to pray aloud for 50-80+ people/causes each during our weekly prayer meeting. I find this difficult to do so sincerely, especially because it feels like a performance. Also I do not know anyone on these lists, or anything about them.
Is it moral to decline this format and pray for those I know? Or simply pray for a fraction of these list?
Love

Pray with desire, not because you want and the wisdom shalt be given to you what to do.
 
Member
To me, it sounds like that church is legalistic. It is fine for a church to have a "Statement of Faith", or "What we believe", but this sounds like carrying it a bit too far. I've been in churches such a this in the past, in the end, all these rules are too draining on the membership and it leads to a lot of congregation turnover, folks coming & leaving.

In your particular example (1rst concern) , I would say that man needs more prayer rather than less, and the church body should stand together for him in agreement. Could be though, that they just don't want people talking about it, ruffling feathers.

2nd concern - how in the world can everyone do that during the prayer meeting? I assume everyone prays at the same time? Spending only a minute or two on each person/cause would take a couple of hours...
Thanks for taking the time to respond!
I was leaning towards that conclusion about praying for that man more. He is a pastor in a small town that desperately needed one. I felt as though announcing his removal from our list, and having it still listed but explicitly crossed off, just looks bad! It's like he didn't "make the cut!" Ultimately though, I think that I will just pray for him in private, and pick my battles, for lack of a better phrase.

About the 2nd concern, we are told to pray for 40 mins total in order to complete the lists. Since we have to take turns with our partner, it's 20 or so mins per person. But it feels like I'm Speed Reading a telephone book! Even if I knew of everyone on the list, there is no time to seriously pray for them. During the time I gave in and prayed those lists, I was completely faking it, just so I could fit in, and found myself saying the most generic, and insincere things. But it seems like most people are praying with 'fillers' and doing so out of duty. Thank goodness for the children who without shame will say, once getting a list "these lists are hard to do!". But the response is that it is good discipline to go through the lists.
Sorry for the ramble!
 
Member
When King Saul messed up so badly that God had rejected him, Samuel continued to "mourn" [could we not say "pray"] for him, God told Samuel that that was enough:

"And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons." I Sam 16:1

Ah, but how does this apply to your situation? It applies if you believe you must be in submission to those who told not to pray for him. I won't say you should or should not obey them. I will say that you must obey God, but first be certain what it is that God is speaking to your heart about the situation. Talk to God about what you should do:

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:" Matt 7:7

Sometimes God will speak to you through the mouths of people, but listen carefully to what it is that you are hearing:

"To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice." John 10:3-4
I guess you nailed it on the head when you spoke of submission. When I am told to follow something, sometimes I wonder if I'm trying to submit to the LORD or man. I just want to ultimately do what's right in the His eyes.
 
Member
Thanks for taking the time to respond!
I was leaning towards that conclusion about praying for that man more. He is a pastor in a small town that desperately needed one. I felt as though announcing his removal from our list, and having it still listed but explicitly crossed off, just looks bad! It's like he didn't "make the cut!" Ultimately though, I think that I will just pray for him in private, and pick my battles, for lack of a better phrase.

About the 2nd concern, we are told to pray for 40 mins total in order to complete the lists. Since we have to take turns with our partner, it's 20 or so mins per person. But it feels like I'm Speed Reading a telephone book! Even if I knew of everyone on the list, there is no time to seriously pray for them. During the time I gave in and prayed those lists, I was completely faking it, just so I could fit in, and found myself saying the most generic, and insincere things. But it seems like most people are praying with 'fillers' and doing so out of duty. Thank goodness for the children who without shame will say, once getting a list "these lists are hard to do!". But the response is that it is good discipline to go through the lists.
Sorry for the ramble!
1rst concern reply - Years ago, I was going through a very, very difficult time; At the time of day that I was available to hear the Gospel, Charles Stanley was broadcast on our local station. Well, at that time was when him & his wife were having issues, and soon after they separated and divorced. The reaction of the local radio station was to kick him off the air. I called the program director in regards to that decision, and I was treated very rudely/coldly. I couldn't believe the words he was saying to me "behind the scenes" - obviously, he would not have said those things in public...

At that time, my heart was a stone, and God was reaching me through Pastor Stanley's message. I was healing with every word that he was speaking. It was in very poor taste for the station to make a decision to kick a man of God off the air, especially through a situation that his wife initiated the process. Part of what the program director mentioned to me was the story of David/Bathsheba (which didn't even apply in Dr. Stanley's situation), and that after David sinned, he was never fully restored.

We all need prayer, no matter what the sin or shortcoming, and we need prayer at all times, not some prayed for in secret, and others publically.

2nd concern - I think I understand what the church is attempting to do, possibly teaching prayer discipline or something like that... but again, with all these rules, a person is apt to burn out or be insincere. Personally, I would be turned off if an overzealous youth minister (or the like) came up with a bunch of these rules & regulations to follow.

YMMV...may God grant you the wisdom to discern the proper way to proceed.
 
Loyal
I guess you nailed it on the head when you spoke of submission. When I am told to follow something, sometimes I wonder if I'm trying to submit to the LORD or man. I just want to ultimately do what's right in the His eyes.
Amen! The answer must ultimately lie between you and the Lord.
 
Member
Thanks for taking the time to respond!
I was leaning towards that conclusion about praying for that man more. He is a pastor in a small town that desperately needed one. I felt as though announcing his removal from our list, and having it still listed but explicitly crossed off, just looks bad! It's like he didn't "make the cut!" Ultimately though, I think that I will just pray for him in private, and pick my battles, for lack of a better phrase.

About the 2nd concern, we are told to pray for 40 mins total in order to complete the lists. Since we have to take turns with our partner, it's 20 or so mins per person. But it feels like I'm Speed Reading a telephone book! Even if I knew of everyone on the list, there is no time to seriously pray for them. During the time I gave in and prayed those lists, I was completely faking it, just so I could fit in, and found myself saying the most generic, and insincere things. But it seems like most people are praying with 'fillers' and doing so out of duty. Thank goodness for the children who without shame will say, once getting a list "these lists are hard to do!". But the response is that it is good discipline to go through the lists.
Sorry for the ramble!

OMG I been to different churches and I feel at the end that you can have a relationship with Jesus and God without a church. Its nice to have to celebrate with a community but it isnt absolutely necessary. That being said Jesus is all about love and forgiveness. I would not believe he would ever tell anyone to cease praying for someone. Honestly that sounds more like politics involve.
My conscience has been bothering me about some things that I've been encouraged to do alongside my church family. I've spoken about it to other church members, but want an objective point of view from other Christians.

1st Concern and Question
Our church was advised to cease praying for a man who was divorced long before recently becoming a pastor of a church. We were told that we're allowed to pray for him in our private prayer time, but cannot do so during our prayer night. 1 Timothy 3:2 (husband of one wife) was the reason given for it.
I've never encountered such a circumstance before, and wondered if this is a normal practice? Are there valid reasons to not pray for someone, as a church, but allowable in private?

2nd Concern and Question
As a church, we are asked to pray aloud for 50-80+ people/causes each during our weekly prayer meeting. I find this difficult to do so sincerely, especially because it feels like a performance. Also I do not know anyone on these lists, or anything about them.
Is it moral to decline this format and pray for those I know? Or simply pray for a fraction of these list?
 

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