How many times have you turned on the TV and seen someone preaching and telling you that if you send in some money you will receive a prayer cloth. Financial, hope, love, relationship, job, it doesn’t matter….there is a prayer cloth for every need. The same thing goes with anointing oil and the like. The preacher/apostle/bishop/whatever will pray over it and send it to you. You will receive what you want just like that because the scriptures say so. Let’s beak this down into two categories: Prayer Cloths and Oil then Blessings for money.
Prayer Cloths and Anointing Oil
So what scripture talks about this? Let’s look at the most referenced:
11And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
12So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
Many pastors/apostles/prophets/evangelists (and might I say a lot of them are self-appointed to this “title”) quote the above and say God works through them in doing this or simply that we must follow the scriptures and believe in this as a way of life. I want you to look at the 4th word of the eleventh verse. The word is “special”. If you need a definition of the word “special”, please refer to Webster’s Dictionary. It is NOT something that is commonplace or done in mass quantities. It is something done BY God through someone and, in this case, was one of the Disciples.
God used these “special” miracles to show that He can work through others in ways unthought-of of, that simply by being touched by this cloth blessed from God through Paul, the “SICK” were healed. Hmm, God didn’t bring wealth, prosperity, a job, love, marriage, or anything else this way; it was a “special” miracle that healed the sick. Man has added in the notion of financial prayer cloths, love/marriage cloths, and the like. We have made God into the Wal-Mart for whatever you want in life. You want a good job? Want some money? A new car? Get one of these prayer cloths!!! God will work for YOU instead of YOU working for Him!
Knock-knock. Hey! Are you listening here? That is NOT how it is supposed to be. Prayer cloths have some sway because then people don't have to pray themselves; it gets taken care of FOR them. Prosperity cloths are an easy way to make people feel like they've done their piece in approaching God and now he's going to show them the money. Hmmm, where have I seen this before...oh right...buying self-indulgence? God is now your genie in a bottle! Get this, the miracle God performed was not creating prayer cloths, it was the fact that He could heal the sick through “handkerchiefs and aprons” (read the scripture) through another person. Again, as the scripture states, these were “special” miracles.
"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."
So, now the anointing oil comes in to play. Does someone see a trend here? This was to heal the SICK too! Wow! No money, job, marriage, or anything else mentioned. And it says the elders of the church (not just one person) would pray over them. This was symbolic and the Lord worked through these prayers. It was not to place emphasis on the oil.
Guess what? There is a trend going here. Did you notice in both sets of scriptures, no-one EVER had to pay any money? No-one was ever asked for a donation, love offering, blessing money, notta’, zip, zilch, zero, N-O-T-H-I-N-G!!! So why do these modern day healers ask for something in return? They are using God. God cares nothing about money, he cares about souls. THAT is the riches of Heaven.
Let’s switch gears a minute:
Blessings Based on Money
Okay, you’ve seen it on TV.
“Send in your love offering of $10, and I will send you a $10 blessing. Send in $25 and get a $25 blessing. $100 and get a $100 blessing.”
Let me get this right. You can instruct God what kind of blessing to give based solely on how much money someone gives you? I did not know God had an employer. I don’t think He is aware of it either. God does NOT care about money. So God cannot heal someone of cancer unless they give enough money beforehand? I don’t think so.
Now it’s in the churches that aren’t on TV.
“If you give $10, stand at the back. $20, stand by the pew, $50 stand at the altar, $100 stand up here by me.”
Do you realize just how much importance you have placed on money? Do you realize just how much you have belittled the person who cannot afford to give more?
The Bible tells us not to be of worldly things. Money is just that. You may argue that the Bible talks about money quite often. Jesus spoke of a landowner who gave talents (money) to three servants for them to go out and multiply. One did nothing with it, one increased it some, and one increased it greatly. People convolute this to mean that we are to go out and make a profit and prosper. Again, they make the mistake of thinking of worldly things. Jesus was speaking in a parable. The talents He refers to should transpose to you as Salvation. When you accepted Jesus as your Savior, you received Salvation. Are you going to just keep that inside to yourself and await death to go to Heaven (much as the servant that did nothing but hide his money)? Jesus wants you to bring others to Him thus, in the parable, the men who multiplied what they had. Those people will please god and receive riches in Heaven. And NO, those riches are NOT riches as we know them here on earth.
Jesus said, “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give unto the Lord what is the Lord’s”. Please tell me you do not think He was talking about money here. Again, Jesus spoke in parables. Prayer is what God wants. Your submission to Him. You to obey. Those are the things that belong to God. Prayer is greater than ANY amount of money or riches in the world. Show me any scripture in the Bible you feel that God is trying to tell you to go out and get rich and prosper in worldly things, and I will show you a verse you have convoluted and misinterpreted. God is not OF this world, and we are to do things to honor and lift Him up. How is it that you becoming rich would do this?
Prayer cloths have had people put stock in a material item. They have more faith in that prayer cloth than their own prayer. When Jesus died on the Cross, He removed the old Levitical Laws and you no longer have to have someone pray for you in the Holiest of Holy places as in the Old Testament. And there were only certain times then that the priest could go in there.
Jesus made it possible through the Holy Spirit for us to pray directly to God, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long! You have the ability to do it personally with no intercession! You don’t have to have a material item to be “closer” to God. Without dying and going to Heaven, there is no other way to be closer to God than through prayer, your own prayer!
You have to be aware of what you ask for. Why is it that most people only pray when they want something and not to simply give thanks? I am not talking about thanks just for food, but for every breath you take! God gives us what we need, NOT what we want. We should not revere money so highly that we constantly ask for it or place it as an important item we constantly pray for. Quit asking for financial blessings and start asking for blessings in Heaven!! Ask for the blessing of being able to witness to someone. Ask for the blessing of being able to defend God when the world attacks his Holy Word.
Take a look at this:
20) A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent. (KJV)
This says that wealth sought in haste will bring a man to want. We see that today with so many people gambling. They spend their hard earned money in an attempt to get rich quick and thousands of dollars are lost that could have been used in a way that would have brought them to a prosperous position. Many people are also tempted to invest in "get rich quick" schemes that result in the same end -- they are a loser, they come to want. Now enter the prayer cloth for financial blessings or money blessings based on how much you give. You are looking for wealth in haste.
6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. (KJV)
Ever wondered why the scripture here spoke of "goodness" and "mercy" following us, as opposed to being in front of us. Goodness and mercy are always behind us because we needed them to catch us and pick us up when we fall. When do we need mercy? When we have failed the Lord. When do we especially need someone to be good and kind to us? When we have made a mistake and have fallen down. When we trust God, He is there for us, to help us up, so we can go on walking with Him. How great is His love for us!
Finally, think of this. You lead someone to church, or they are led because your witness to them is that when you become a Christian, your life changes. You can get financial blessings, marriage blessings, job blessings,, etc. Now they come and accept Jesus with the thought on their mind that they are going to have life changing experiences that will tend to their worldly wants. Then what happens when these things do not happen? Remember, God gives us what we NEED not what we WANT. Well, their thing was all this stuff is not coming through for them and from your description, it should. You told them that becoming a Christian gave you a life changing experience, but they don’t see the true fruit! They become angry and quit coming to church, and either shop for another church that offers a better deal of the weak (prayer cloth or money blessing), or far worse, denounce Christianity.
Too often in this day, that is what happens. You message should be first and foremost that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. Next tell them that Jesus is the Son of God and died on the Cross to save us from Hell. That is what it boils down to, don’t candy-coat it, you are doing them and God a disservice if you do. Tell them that by His saving grace, on Judgment Day, (it is appointed man die once and then comes judgment), God will see the pure blood of Jesus Christ making us perfect in His sight and allowing us to enter Heaven. That is first and foremost. Then tell them through prayer we can talk to god anytime we want and ask for help, guidance, direction, comfort, and forgiveness of our transgressions. Remember that our goal is to glorify God and our job is to lead the life He would have us live, and to lead others to Him. Ask solely for your needs to be met, not your wants, God is not your banking institution and even though you are saved, you will still have to pass over troubled waters. That is where your prayers for guidance and direction come in!
Finally, remember, when you do pray, leave your burdens at His feet. If you take them with you when you are done praying, you are not having faith in God to answer your prayer. Your burden is not too heavy for Him. Leave it at His feet and walk away from it. You have faith that He is the One True god. You have faith that Jesus is the Son of god who died on the Cross and rose again in 3 days to save us. You have faith that Jesus is coming back for us as He promised. Have that same faith in your prayers. No special cloth, oil, or money donation needed!
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