Occult tricks, spells and methods are the newest rage—and you’re likely to encounter them at your local church.
In traditional occult practices it works something like this:
You want to get rich, I give you an incantation to repeat day after day to bring wealth to you.
Wonder about your future? Go to a séance and ask.
In today’s Christianity the incantation is replaced by “the prayer of Jabez.” The séance with a “personal prophecy” session.
New wrapper, same old occult practices.
“Now wait a minute,” someone will argue, “prayer is encouraged in the Bible. Heck the prayer of Jabez is right out of the scripture. And didn’t people in the Bible get personal prophecy?”
Well, let’s consider those points.
While the prayer of Jabez is recorded in I Chronicles 4:10, it was never a best seller, oft repeated by millions of Jabez’ followers. In fact, it appears to have been the single cry of Jabez’ heart, once, to God and God honored that prayer.
The problem is not with the fact of Jabez prayer, it’s the contemporary implementation—as a magic incantation to bring you anything you want in life. It’s as if we are treated God like some impersonal, unconscious force able to be manipulated by repeating sounds over and over again.
That doesn’t sound much like a loving, personal father. A father who loves His children.
“My Friends all Prayed the Prayer of Jabez and All I Got was this Lousy T-Shirt.”
Personal prophecy goes down the same path.
For the uninitiated, “personal prophecy” grew out of the prophetic movement among neo-charismatic and Pentecostals. Basically an individual makes an appointment with a “prophet,” they get together, the prophet goes into a trance-like, uh, I mean “prayerful” state and “hears from God” personal messages just for the individual.
While I’m sure there’s no set fee schedule, I suspect there’s an opportunity to “donate” to the prophet’s “ministry as well.
No question that God has done the personal prophecy gig. In the Old Testament we have several instances where God sent one of the Hair Shirt brethren to a king or someone else important to God’s purposes.
But that’s the real difference, isn’t it? God did the initiating and speaking, we just do the listening.
Personal prophecy works on three assumptions:
1. God has something to tell me.
2. God won’t or can’t tell me directly, nor has He even told me He has a message for me.
3. God wants me to find the “Prophet” and “The Prophet” will give me the insight from God.
This is the exact opposite of God’s word:
“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.” – I John 2:27
I think both of these practices spring from a basic lack of faith. We simply don’t think God is either willing or able to bless us in our present state. He can’t speak to us. His will is somehow hidden and obscure.
Incantations put us in control. We can control whether or not we are blessed. Personal prophecy is the same way: We want a word from God and we want it now.
If that’s the god you worship, you can keep him.