Friday, May 30, 2014

Preparing to Be a Help Meet: God Needs Our Prayers - Part One

Debi starts each chapter with a title page containing a MORAL and a CAUTION.  With most authors, you'd expect the moral and caution to be tied in throughout the entire chapter in an over-arching theme.

Don't expect that out of this book.  You will be disappointed.

We're about half-way through Chapter One (of Eighteen....) and the moral and caution are finally addressed.

MORAL To The Story:  God wants, no, he NEEDS us to pray.

I'm very curious how an omnipotent God needs anything from his creation and, bluntly, this kept me reading through this book long after I would have stopped out of boredom.

A Caution: Don't pray amiss.

Debi's lost me already.  See, in my church, the purpose of prayer is to communicate with God.  There are all sorts of types of prayers and methods of prayer but the linking theme is that you and God have a nice little chat.    I don't get how you can talk to God 'amiss.'  

I'm sure Debi will illuminate me on this point soon enough.

God did something totally different in my love story.  When I was just a child he told me who I would marry.  He didn't tell my future husband - just skinny little me.  Why?  God always has a very good reason. I believe it was because my future husband needed, really needed someone to pray for him.  I prayed.  Is there a young man that you have met in passing that you thought would be a good husband? Have you been praying for him by name?

Maybe heaven waits on you.

This advice would have been an epic fail in my life.  You see, I met my husband for the first time when I was 28.   I can promise you that I never prayed for him by name before age 28 since I didn't know his name - or that he existed.  In spite of this monumental lapse, I'm a married woman.  Does that mean that my husband never needed prayers before he was 28?  Did heaven decide not to wait on us?  

So why did God tell me ahead of time who would be my husband?
One thing I know; Michael was God's man, a preacher that needed a faithful prayer warrior. He was in the thick of winning thousands of soldiers to the Lord, men who were soon heading off to a deadly war.

Since Michael Pearl has converted thousands of soldiers to God, why haven't I heard of him outside of his child-beating and spousal misery books?  You'd think if he was that successful there'd be legions of men praising his abilities as a preacher and missionary.   Come to think of it, the only legions of people I've seen have been aligned AGAINST Pearl......

He was tall, dark and awesomely handsome as well as half-famous. 

Now Michael's been downgraded to 'half-famous'.  I'm really starting to worry about the judgement of those church elders who decided having a bunch of teens listen to him preach was more important than avoiding a tornado.....

Hot females chasing after him would be a constant threat to his ministry, and they did chase after him - by the herds. This could have been an extreme temptation to his faith.

I don't buy the whole "Oooh....be afraid of the evil women!" argument.  If Pearl wants to convert thousands of soldiers during the 1970's,  logically he'd be way too busy to be continually tempted by women.

The "herds of women" makes me giggle and imagine Michael Pearl trying to out-run the Black Friday crowds at a Walmart or Target.....

Think about this: Several girls all thought it was God's will for Michael to be their husband. How was it that these fine Christian girls all truly believed he was the one for him, and, yet, were wrong?What if all these girls were RIGHT?

My thought when I read that part was "Oh, damn.  She's gonna start preaching in favor of polygamy."

Maybe they were being moved by God's prayer warriors to pray for this one man? It is possible that any of these girls could have been a fine help meet for Michael.  God was looking for the right help meet that would pray, not for herself to have a wonderful prince, but for a help meet to start HELPING this warrior of God to do the job God had for him to do.

*slow claps*

Look at the subtle way Debi manages to compliment herself as a solution to God's problem with Michael while insulting all the other shallow girls who merely want to meet a great guy to start a life with.

What specific thing are we told to pray for?
Our duty is to pray for those who are busy giving the gospel to those who have never heard. We can and do make a difference in eternity when we pray. If that were not true, it would be pointless to pray.
"Pray ye therefore the Lord of the Harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest. (Matthew 9:38)
"Therefore he said unto them, The harvest is truly great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore that he will send forth laborers into his harvest. (Luke 10:2)

II Thessalonians 3:1-2 says, "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you. 

Why did Debi leave out Matthew 6:9-13?  The Lord's Prayer is pretty famous and a standard answer to the question "What should we pray for?"  

Oh....but the Lord's Prayer doesn't really support her point, so best we sweep it under the rug.

I hate it when writers use two nearly identical quotes for synoptic Gospels to support one idea.  Use Matthew or use Luke but NOT both. 

Why does God want us to pray?
He tells us to pray that the word they are preaching may have free course.  The devils that would otherwise hinder them with sickness, strife or worldliness will not be able to slow down the gospel message! 
Verse two goes on to tell us how to pray for these preachers, "And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. 

I have no freaking idea where Debi comes up with the idea that Second Thessalonians 3:1-2 implies that devils are inflicting sickness or worldliness on people spreading the Good News.   

Called to Pray
God uses the prayers of his saints as as much as the message of the preacher.
"Verily I say to you, Whatsoever ye bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  (Matthew 18:18)

Matthew 18 is a series of parables and discourses on FORGIVENESS.  The word 'prayer' never appears in the whole chapter in either the KJV - which I dislike strongly - and the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition) - which is my study bible preference.   Poor verse choice, Debi.

 (Note: I believe everyone should be able to read the Bible sections to make their own decisions about the verses chosen and the application/interpretation Debi gives to those verses.  To facilitate that, I've linked Bible Gateway to each section with KJV and NRSV open.  You can use the pull-down menu to chose a different translation if you prefer.)


Debi created a natural stopping place here before moving into her next topic about how God uses prayer to do stuff....like prayer is to God as gasoline is to my car.  The next section alternates between rib-crackingly funny and agonizingly painful.

Anti-Pearl:  This is a favorite prayer of mine when I'm dealing with anxiety.  St. Teresa of Avila, who was in the process of trying to curb corruption in the Catholic Church, wrote this in the flyleaf of her prayer book.


Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing away.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.




2 comments:

  1. If Debi Pearl was praying for husband as a child, perhaps she was looking to escape from her family/upbringing? Especially if she was raised in patriarchal Christianity, where women stay under male relative's headship, until being 'transferred' to a husband.

    I keep thinking of Hannah Tupper ("The Witch of Blackbird Pond") telling Kit Tyler, "It is not an escape if love is not there." Regarding marriage.

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  2. That is certainly a possibility. She never talks much about her parents - although she does mention that they are "new" Christians and later in the book she implies that her mother was disturbed by the way Michael treated Debi.

    I hate to think that Debi went out of the frying pan into the fire.....

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