“Worthless Commands and Feckless Demands”

By Akin Ojumu

Brash egotism is an affront to God’s transcendence and our insolent pomposity is a slight to His magnificence. It is vanity to issue directives and decrees to the One who holds the universe by the power of His might.

Demonstrating this misplaced brashness and misguided hutzpah was Kenneth Copeland, the grand poobah of the Word of Faith movement himself, when back in March 2020, at the very early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, he stood in the empty chamber of his massive auditorium to address his followers virtually. Brimming with hubris, he pronounced judgement on COVID-19, saying:

“Standing in the office of the prophet of God. I execute judgement on you COVID-19. I execute judgment on you Satan. You destroyer. You killer. You get out…you break...break…we break your power. You get off this nation. I demand judgment on you. I demand…I demand…I demand a vaccination to come immediately. I call you gone. I call you doggone. You come down from your place of authority, destroyer. You come down and you crawl on your belly like God commanded you when he put his foot on your head in the garden of Eden. You are destroyed through COVID-19. No more! No more!! It is finished!!! It is over!!!! And the United States of America is healed. Said the Spirit of peace who is also the Prince of war, the Lord Jesus Christ...”

As at the time the rank heretic issued his commands and demands, US COVID cases and deaths were less than 200,000 and 4,000 respectively. One year later, US COVID totals had risen to 53,403,250 cases and 821,935 deaths. Kenneth Copeland’s commands, demands, and judgement were of no effect in stopping the spread of the deadly virus. What the false teacher succeeded in doing was to make a fool of himself as he quickly became a laughingstock and subject of ridicule on social media around the globe.

You see, very often, our prayers don’t get answered because they are full of commands, demands, decrees, and declarations. We pray amiss when we issue edicts to God for what we want Him to do for us instead of pleading that His will be done.

Scripture tells us what prayer is and how we ought to pray. In Matthew 6:5-15, Jesus instructed His disciples on the dos and donts of prayer. 

Continuing from last time, we see that:

4. Prayer is worship – Matthew 6:9-10

Matthew 6:9-10
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Principally and primarily, prayer is worship. When we pray, we acknowledge God as our Heavenly Father whose love and care for His children surpass the love and care of an earthly father.
In our prayers, we acknowledge His eternal preeminence and everlasting dominion. For our God is high and lifted up. Prayer puts God in His infinite majestic place.

“We are to express our love, gratitude, and worship to God in prayer without worrying about having just the right words to say. God is more interested in the content of our hearts than the eloquence of our words.” (Got Questions).

5. Prayer is submission and reverence – 1 John 5:14-15

1 John 5:14-15
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”

The Omniscient God knows all things (1 John 3:20). So, prayer is not about informing Him about what He doesn’t already know (Matthew 6:8). Prayer brings us into submission to the sovereignty of the Omnipotent and Benevolent God who provides everything we need according to His will.

6. Prayer is repentance and penitence – Matthew 6:12; 1 John 1:8-10

Matthew 6:12
“And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.”

Being the recalcitrant and wayward children that we are, when we pray, we throw ourselves at the mercy of God asking Him for the forgiveness of all our iniquities. In praying, we bring ourselves back into the dwelling place of the eternal God and we are returned into the safety and protection of His everlasting arms.

7. Prayer is acknowledgement of our weaknesses and struggles – Matthew 6:13; 1 John 2:1-2

Matthew 6:13
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

As long as we are in the flesh, we’ll continue to face temptations. Sometimes we’ll sail and sometimes we’ll fail. When we pray, we are to approach a forgiving and benevolent God with penitence. We have an advocate with the Father, the Lord Jesus, who is the propitiation for our sins.

8. Prayer is thanksgiving – Matthew 6:13; Philippians 4:6

Philippians 4:6
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Lastly, prayer is thanksgiving. All prayers will someday be discontinued, except the prayers of thanksgiving. When the day comes that we have no more to ask for, we will have everything to be thankful for.

And so, this is my advice to all those brandishing their worthless diplomas from feckless prayer colleges, trash the worthless thing. Those of you who lace your prayers with commands, demands, decrees, and declarations, stop it. Your repetitive babblings are as useless as a snooze button on a smoke alarm.

“When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come…” (Luke 11:2).


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