A Damning Theology and Practice of Prayer
While it appears spiritual, it is erroneous to call fire on believers’ problems. We don’t bind demons or Satan in hell. Because we simply don’t have such authority or power. You cannot command Satan. Thus hours of prayer spent in these ways is corrupt and unbiblical. Christians must grasp a proper theology of the nature of their enemy, spiritual warfare, and prayer.
Prayer is important to many people, Christian or not. It seems to be intertwined with human DNA to seek divine help. Prayer happens everywhere: at shrines, in exam rooms, on the football pitch, in mosques, during travel, and in churches. The Bible itself is full of prayers and praying people. In fact, prayer is at the heart of all communications between God and his people. Such is the seriousness of prayer. But prayer can also be right or wrong, sound or erroneous, even heretical. Thus a proper understanding and theology of prayer is crucial for a Christian. It matters to God how we pray.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism provides an excellent, biblical definition of prayer. It describes prayer as, “offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.”
But recently I’ve noticed a huge emphasis among Christians on praying that casts out, binds, and calls down fire from heaven to burn Satan along with other problems in their lives. This practice is built on the presupposition that Jesus gave believers authority and power over spirits, principalities, and heavenly beings. Thus the believer is encouraged to bind and cast whatever stands in the way of their progress or prosperity. Through prayer, they call down heavenly fire against Satan, as well as those spiritual beings in league with him. However, casting and binding doesn’t seem to be the primary shape of most biblical prayers.
Believers Don’t Hold the Keys, Jesus Does
To support the above practices, Christians and especially preachers will often appeal to Matthew 16:19. They understand this verse to mean that Jesus gave believers the keys of heaven and hell, to bind and to loose anything above or below. However this understanding of Jesus’ words isn’t only a bad one, but it reveals a horribly presumptuous view of mortal man.
When Jesus spoke to Peter, he referred to the gospel that he’d entrusted to them, the disciples.