Questions and Response

Question:

So should we pray for things for ourselves? Or just pray for others? What is the balance between focusing on others and self care?

Response:

I don’t think that there needs to be a distinction between how often you pray for yourself or others necessarily.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray continually,” and I highly doubt that anyone on the planet is narcissistic enough to pray about themselves 24/7!  In the simplest answer, you would probably end up praying for yourself and others as often as you think of your own needs or others.

Often, when I am thinking about how much I should do something (e.g. how much I should pray/read my Bible etc.) I am missing the whole point of the discipline.  Prayer is the most powerful tool a Christian has to influence the world.  The same Power that makes the lame walk, the blind see, and that raised Christ from the dead resides in us.  When we pray we enter the throne room of God with Jesus Christ and ask for things on the behalf of those we pray for.  Even when it seems like we can do nothing else, we can always pray.  We are called to be light and salt to the world, to be the hands and feet of Christ.  If praying for yourself and your own needs helps accomplish that, then pray!  If praying for others helps accomplish that, then pray!  I wouldn’t be too worried about how often you pray about one thing or the other, but rather how your life aligns with the will of God as revealed in His Word and in your personal experience.

K.J. Roelke

Director of Modern Worship

“Even when it seems like we can do nothing else, we can always pray.”

Question:

God is selfish. He created all these people just so we have to praise him. He’s basically saying if you don’t praise me you burn in hell. That’s selfish. It’s like a king saying if you don’t worship me you die. Honestly God seems just as bad as the fake profits and demons. Like what was his point in creating us? Was it so that we could entertain him or because he was fishing for compliments and need a nation to give him them. And since not enough people were giving him compliments he made a deal with the devil to burn those who don’t. So then all these people got scared and forced themselves to worship him for the wrong reason. I’m so sure that if hell DIDN’T exist almost everyone would not have a reason to worship God and wouldn’t be scared anymore and would just stop worshiping him.

Response:

While there have been plenty of religions that view God as selfish; that has seldom been a view among the followers of Jesus. In reading the creation story of Genesis 1 – God’s pronouncement at the end of each day is that it is good. That is a pronouncement of someone who is taking delight in the work of their hands. Jesus’ followers viewed God’s creation of the world, of angels, of humans, etc. as an extension of God’s goodness and love. The incredible pictures of worship in the Gospels is a result of people encountering the goodness, love, freedom, and reorientation to life (salvation) that Jesus brings. Fear, especially of God, is something that Jesus seeks to deliver his followers from. We would recommend you take another look at the God Jesus describes. James Bryan Smith has written a helpful book – The Good and Beautiful God – that along with a renewed look at the Bible will paint a whole new picture of God.

Watch or listen to this week’s sermon.

View questions from other weeks’ sermons.

© 2017 Schweitzer United Methodist Church
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