Praying at the Wrong Altar
You may be praying and not know it. How?
Traditional prayer is a solemn request for help or a giving of thanks to God. Somewhere along the line, prayer can become about something other than God. Have you ever caught yourself thinking that science (medical or otherwise), money, or a relationship might save you, make your life easier, or ‘complete you’. That, too, is prayer, but it leaves God out.
That kind of prayer sneaks up on you. You’re not aware of it in the sense of traditional prayer – as in talking to God. Pain, fear, anger, weakness, and impatience all make it easy to put your faith in something other than God, and not be aware of it.
Have you ever said something like one of the following:
- “If I could just find the right doctor, one who will understand my problem(s) and treat them, my health will improve.”
- “If I could just get the right medication, I would feel better.”
- “If I could just get that promotion, our money problems would be over, and I would be happy.”
- “If I won the lottery, I’d never worry again.”
- “If I could just be in a relationship with ‘X’, I would be happy.”
I was going through a particularly hard time physically, and I was impatient and weak. I went to my doctor, who is also a friend of mine, for help. She is a wise woman and a Christian. She said to me, “You have far too much faith in the medical system. It’s run by people, and people are flawed. Eventually, you’re luck will run out.”
It was then that I realized I had been praying at the wrong altar. I had left God out of the equation. I was blessed enough to have a friend who was kind enough to point that out.
If you don’t feel healthy, wealthy, or complete, maybe you should pray at the right altar. Pray to God.
James 5:13-14 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
Have you ever prayed at the wrong altar?