I like Paul Washer. He is a missionary, preacher, teacher, and author. I like his passion, I like his teaching, and I like that he proclaims the gospel. I was listening to an excerpt from a sermon online that was entitled, “Worthless Prayer Meetings.” If you have ever been to a prayer meeting they can be very routine. Update on who is in the hospital, who is sick, who is out of church, and so on. A lot of talking and little praying. This may not be the case at your church, but it is the case for many. Paul calls it worthless and said something that struck a chord with me. He said, “we spend all our time all our time praying to keep saints out of heaven than praying to get sinners into heaven.” Wow.
Last winter during my second semester of seminary I had a prof pose a very interesting question to me. He said, “Jared, if God answered all of your prayers for the last year how many people would become saved?” He was calling me out and rightfully so, it cut deep. I spent much more time praying for myself than for others. I still struggle with this because like you I am selfish. It’s not wrong to pray for yourself. However, it says something when you are crying out with shouts of dependency of God to save those who need Him most. I am I praying more for me, or for the glory of God to be shown by the salvation of many. Missions is the heartbeat of our God, and should be a focal point in our prayer life.
Back to Paul’s quote, “we spend all our time all our time praying to keep saints out of heaven than praying to get sinners into heaven..” We spend a lot of time in the church praying for Brother Jones or Sister Williams to be healed than we do for those in darkness to come into light. For sinners bound for Hell to miraculously be saved and join in community with other believers. We are praying to keep people from heaven more often than praying to keep many out of Hell. We spend more time talking about others like gossip around town. It’s not wrong to pray for the sick, not at all. In fact we should pray for the sick and hurting. But are we praying for the eternally sick and dying? Or are we just sharing information about others we have not even stopped to pray for.
In the grand reality of everything Mrs. Johnson’s hip surgery is not as important as millions of individuals dying and going to Hell, many never hearing the gospel. Paul said many of you would say if it were your hip you would want prayer, and he said yes, but if his children were lost he would rather have prayer for them. Does your prayer meeting sound more like a medical convention, or for the reality of the Gospel to capture the hearts of the lost? We can and should pray for the sick and hurting, but we should also be falling on our faces before God asking Him to do what only He can do; save wretched sinners like He did with you and with me. I hope you are. I hope you are in your private prayer life, and in prayer meetings.
I am committing to add individuals I know are not saved to my prayer calendar. Different ones each day, continually. Will you do the same? I hope so, and I hope I hear stories of those friends becoming children of God.
Here is a link to Washer’s excerpt: