I received an anonymous letter, which read as follows:
“I recently attended a house church meeting and was flabbergasted at the selfishness of the members. When they prayed, the subject was solely what they might get out of God. They didn’t show any concern for society or mankind. The church has changed! It wasn’t like that before! They were also irrational, considering everything an answer to their prayers. They were not rational, reasonable people.”
This letter made me smile because the writer reminded me of myself 30 years ago when I was not a Christian. He spoke as I did at that time.
Our love must begin with our next-door neighbors. It is much easier to love society and mankind in general because they are abstract. It is much harder to love our neighbors because they are real. We must start by loving our neighbors and expand our love to those who are far away.
People who advocate love for society and mankind are often unkind to their own family members and rude to their neighbors. What they love are not actual people but the abstract concept of people. Only those who are loved are capable of loving others. Only those who have truly experienced God’s love can genuinely love others. One way to experience God’s love is to have prayers answered. Through answered prayer we are assured that God does exist, that He does love us and that He does care for us. This is why God encourages us to pray for our own daily needs. That way we can easily confirm that our prayers are being answered.
This is one of the reasons that the selfish prayers of new believers are answered more often than not. God knows that what they need in this stage of their spiritual growth is assurance that God exists and that He answers their prayers. The person who wrote me this anonymous letter complained that Christians consider even natural events to be God’s doing and answers to their prayers. But when “natural” things occur regularly to the benefit of people who have prayed for them, they are no longer natural – they’re supernatural! In that case, it is more rational to believe that there is someone who has influenced the course of events in response to their prayers.
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