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Those of you familiar with my writing and speaking know I am nowhere near even the outskirts of the “name it and claim it” movement. Abusing scripture with this theological construct is both insulting to the sovereignty of God and depressing to the one naming and claiming when their claims go unfulfilled.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.– 1 Peter 3:12, NIV

The Bible is replete with beautiful promises of answered prayer. Many of these promises seem unconditional and without limits. But we do ourselves a disservice to plant our flag exclusively with promises of blessing while simultaneously ignoring warnings of unanswered prayer. While that may come across as anomalous, in reality it is a strong catalyst for always viewing and interpreting scripture in its immediate, and its broader context.

The sum of thy word is truth.– Psalm 119:160a, NIV

If we look, for example, at what Jesus said in the Upper-Room Discourse, we find statements like:

If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.– John 14:14, NIV

That sounds pretty aligned with “name it and claim it,” no? Of course it does. But, context! In the very same discourse, Jesus said this:

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.– John 15:7, NIV

If! There are huge conditions attached to this outcome.

  1. – Am I abiding in Jesus? And…
  2. – Is Jesus word abiding in me? Do I even read Jesus’ word?

If I am abiding in Christ, and Christ’s word is abiding in me, my “asks” are going to align with his desires. These are significant qualifiers driving what can be, and frequently is, a horribly misapplied, out-of-context claim.

Let’s return to our target verse.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.– 1 Peter 3:12, NIV

We have the contrast of those for whom the promise of God’s favor applies and those for whom a different promise applies. The Lord watches over one group and hears their prayers. His face is “against” a different group. Sin in one’s life is clearly a hinderance to God hearing and answering our prayers.

Let’s look at a different context.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.– James 4:3, NIV

In this context, selfish prayer flies in the face of name-it-and-claim-it theology.

Or what about family relations? Husbands? Are you finding your prayers go unanswered?

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.– 1 Peter 3:7, NIV

Even if we can align behaviourally and attitudinally with every edict of scripture, we are still not able to treat God as a prayer-activated vending machine.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.– 1 John 5:14-15, NIV

If we ask in accordance with his will, we are heard.

If we are heard, we will have what we request.

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.– Luke 18:1, NIV

Republished with permission from Blogs.crossmap.com, featuring inspiring Bible verses about prayer.

Republished with permission from blogs.crossmap.com

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