Prayers offered to empty stomachs

As a follower of Christ, the one thing that I hear more than the request for prayer is the opposition of it. Those that oppose it aren’t by the people who follow Jesus Christ but those who are against the “Christian Faith”. People who have said that they were once believers until they learned “the truth”. People who say that religion but more importantly Christianity itself is all invented to control the masses. There are also those who say that Christianity was created by white people to enslave African people and should be abandoned. One of their proofs is that prayer does not work. And if you ever wanted concert evidence of praying being empty words being sent to an imaginary “God” then look no further than the millions of starving people all over the world. There is no denying the fact that millions go to bed starving every night. Even a blind man could see this. I’m not attempting to defend God but not because I don’t believe in Him. But I’m not defending God because He doesn’t need me to. As believers we are expected to be able to give a reason for why we believe. But I’m not doing that either. What I will do is simply hold up a mirror. This mirror is for believers and unbelievers as well as anyone in between the spectrum of humanity.

Whenever arguments like this are brought up against God we are actually trying to put God on trial. We have taken the moral high ground and sat upon the throne of judgment. We have decided that God must be sentenced and punished for the crimes He has committed to all of humanity. Anytime we stand in judgment of someone we have to first believe that we are better than them. Holding a grudge requires us to think that we deserve to feel the way we do. We believe that the person we are holding in contempt owns us something. They owe us answers, rewards, restitutions, or whatever we feel that they should be giving to us. With that being said, those that hold a grudge against God because of all of the starving people are usually not starving. In most cases those who feel this way are pretty ok and are not missing many meals. It’s not a stretch to say that they don’t pray to God either. So they aren’t in a situation where they have asked God to help others and God hasn’t because they never asked. There are those who would say that they use to believe and when they were Christians they prayed. They would say that they prayed for things and God didn’t deliver so they stopped believing. God talks about mockers and scoffers in both the Old Testament and New Testament and He isn’t bothered by either. Actually, if you were to honest think about the Christian belief itself, the bible wasn’t written for unbelievers. The bible even says that without the spirit of God we can’t follow Him nor can we even hope to understand what is written without Him or a fellow believer helping us. So the very idea of an unbeliever holding a grudge against a God that they do not believe in seems odd. It would like me being upset with a woman who cheated on her husband and I’m not the husband. Yes, I could feel empathy for the husband but legally I can’t take the woman to court to get payment from her for pain and suffering. In the case of the latter the bible speaks about people who leave the faith were never a part of the faith. God speaks of being the good shepherd and that his sheep hears his voice and come to him. Salvation is of the Lord and it is God who saves and God who calls. We don’t decide to be Christians, God chooses us. So if God chooses us, he promises to keep us. So it is impossible for us to be Christian and then not be, because it doesn’t work that way. Also, Jesus has a parable of the sower that speaks to this.

Matthew 13

Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. 2 A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. 3 He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! 9 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”

11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets[a] of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. 13 That is why I use these parables,

For they look, but they don’t really see.
They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.

18 “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: 19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. 20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. 23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

. 22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. Unfortunately, a lot of people turn to God to gain wealth. This does a disservice to themselves as well as belittle God reducing Him to a lucky 8 ball or a genie in the lamp. We expect more from our relationships but we think God should be happy with our behavior. We think God is stupid and doesn’t know any better. We think that we can mock God that’s why we regularly try to bargain with him. Admittedly, we can be this way when we feel pushed into a corner. Just as Christ said, when the worries of this life chokes us and the allure of wealth and its promises of taking away the pain we try to use God. We hear of the testimonies of God doing wonderful things and we want that. We hear of God and all of his miracles and we desire that as well. So we try God because we have tried everything else to no avail. And when our praying produces no results we become bitter with God. We hold grudges against God like a person who has set out to get close to someone for the sole purpose to use them for their money. We latch onto them like a leach trying to bleed them dry for our benefit only. But the moment they realize what we are up to, they end the relationship. At which point we become outrage that they would not give us what we want. At one time or another we have all done this and shaken our fists at God like a bratty child.

So when we get to this stage we lash out at God and we grab the one thing we think that we can use to possess the moral high ground. The one thing is the poor, the homeless, and the hungry. We are pulled that why because we feel that we are one of them. We believe that our prayers are also their prayers and that we are both in the same boat with a God not answering our prayers. We assume the life of the husband with the cheating wife. We know that something should be done for them and for us. We feel it in the depths of our souls. Yet, we never do anything ourselves. We expect someone else to what we know is right. We look to someone else to do it for us. We put ourselves on a throne looking out on the world from a high tower and wonder why no one is helping them. We sit up high thinking that we don’t have anything knowing that we have been blessed with more than others. We are holding on to what we have refusing to give freely. We wish that God would give so we don’t have to sacrifice.

Matthew 25:31-46

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

We think that we are putting God on trial and we have been to trial already. We have been judged. We have been sentenced. Some of us are already serving time. Some of us are out on parole. Some of us have been cleared of all charges. Some are still on the run pointing fingers. God created us and gave us dominion over the earth. This responsibility of caring for the earth as well as our brothers and sisters. We and everyone on this planet are the image bearers of God himself. As a parent how would you feel if you knew that you had an extra loaf for beard that you could not eat before your next payday and your little sister or brother had no hopes of having a payday? You saw them every day and you did nothing but complain that your parents didn’t do anything so you thought. But your parents gave you extra in the hopes that you would do the right thing. As siblings I know firsthand that sometimes it’s easier getting help from brothers and sisters than mom and dad. So we take what we get paid and we take what God gives and without hold the extra baskets of fishes and loaves for those in real need. God sacrificed his son to save us from ourselves and a judgement we can’t handle for not caring for God by caring for the poor among us. The cross offers a new start at being who God knows us to be, our brother’s keeper. Jesus Christ always commanded his disciples to take care of the poor because to show mercy and do justice is following God, it is loving God, and it is loving yourself. There reason why so many are hungry is not because God has not provided a way for them to be feed. The holders of the provisions are infested with the sin of greed, selfishness, self-righteousness, and pride.

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