Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Prayer is Forbidden by Church Leaders

One reason I am "Unleashing Seasoned Believers" is summarized in the story . It was sent in Dan Gilliam, an old friend from the 1980's. It reminds me of similar stories I hear over and over that far too often, the most seasoned, experienced, wise, biblically grounded, well balanced and dedicated Christians are being quashed and stifled by the churches they have loved and supported for years or even decades.

That is not always true, of course, but there is a "spirit of control and fear" in many congregations. These churches have an immediate, reflexive "NO! response" to any desire for freedom to minister, lead or influence others.

Church Cancels Prayer Service

So I heard from a bird this week that a certain Christian church in a Western state recently made the decision to cancel a small prayer and meditation worship gathering because it did not fit within the parameters of their philosophy of spiritual development and programming. Sounds familiar.

This gathering did not fit the church's philosophy and programming from day one. Ironically, that's why it was started; to provide a place and time for church members (including the church leadership) to grow in their relationship with God by expanding their personal and corporate practice of prayer and mediation.

The wheels were in motion to cancel (it) months after it started. It wasn't so much a matter of small numbers, though the small attendance figures were a problem for some from the beginning. It was more that the "program" of the silent gathering was un-programmed. (It) allowed for the possibility that someone might think something to themselves and assign an aberrant message to God.

Hmmm. After all, we really can't know for sure that God is speaking to us unless someone is reading the Bible to us, preferably someone ordained by an approved Bible College. God would never give each of us the ability to learn to hear His voice (like sheep know their Shepherd's voice) when he has clearly given us preachers to tell us what God thinks and to explain to us how to interpret the ancient words he gave to Moses, Jesus and Paul.

All religious people know that silence is a gateway for Satan to come in, therefore it is best if we never wait in quiet before the Lord (except by ourselves at home for our private devotions) when we can safely worship God with clanging cymbals and amplified gongs.

That would be bad. So, it really is best that this prayer and meditation gathering got canceled rather than attended ... In the long run it was going to hurt the church. Prayer can do that, especially if we don't really want God's input into how we do church. (Edited)

Enjoy Life,

Dan Gilliam

Well, what do you think? Is it dangerous to actually allow people to seek God and respond to His voice? Maybe they are right and the people cannot be trusted.


paula clare said...

Wow, Gary! I cannot believe this post goes right along with what I've been saying about the "one-size-fits-all" model of small group. If we as believers are not "scheduled to death" won't we use the free time to "roast the preacher" or plot a mutiny of some sort? ARGH! Idea sharing and mutual encouragement and discussion is SO MUCH MORE conducive to spiritual growth (as the REVEAL study attests)

I find it ironic that something that has been a spiritual discipline for YEARS (centuries); silence, is now being feared by church leadership.

I'm not sure if Dan intended the article to be read "tongue in cheek" but that's the way *I* read it. Certainly there MUST be sarcasm afoot??? Would anyone, church leader or not, who truly wanted the will of God in his/her life discount PRAYER and silence as the way to FIND IT?!?!

Great thought provoker! Thanks for sharing!

Gary Sweeten said...

Paula, this is why we need to get the word out to the millions of Seasoned Believers who want to be treated like adults. Keep up the great work of helping people get unleashed from stifling systems.