It is to be lamented the things that people sometimes believe about the Bible. I had a friend in seminary who worked with me in the library who, just for the fun of it, once subscribed to a typical, ranting, raving Word of Faith ministry. Every now and again my friend would receive a little package in the post that contained some item that was intended to bless him in some way or another. He would receive these as long as he paid his monthly subscription fee, of course. I remember how we would all stand around him in anticipation as he unboxed everything from “special anointing oil” to “healing holy water,”and then watch him as he comically read the instructions and put his latest “gift” to the test. On one occasion he even received a little cloth that the self-proclaimed prophet-healer prayed over. He was instructed to place this “special” cloth over his Bible on the floor and then literally stand on his Bible whenever he prayed, because it would of course render his prayers especially effective.
This is sad but true. There are unfortunately many false views of what constitutes as effective prayer. The same applies to those who swear by the “name of Jesus.” These are people who would for instance say that our prayers only become effective when we insert the magic words somewhere along the line, “in Jesus’ name,” or “in the name of Jesus.” You ask them why they say so, they’ll quickly retort by saying that it is because of these “special” words that our prayers become heard in the first place. Along this line of reasoning they honestly believe that God doesn’t hear us if we do not insert the actual words “in the name of Jesus” or whichever derivative thereof. I distinctly remember a school teacher, God bless her heart, who once taught us that if we do not say “in Jesus’ name” before we say amen, that our prayers won’t reach higher than the ceiling.
Wrong views of the employment of the name of Jesus certainly do abound. Sadly, some have opted for an approach to God that is similar to that of Aladdin’s with his genie. Allegedly prayers are only heard or answered when we “say the magic words,” and then voila! God will hear us. But this approach betrays an underlying blunder in biblical interpretation...
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