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Chain Prayers

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Inspirational Chains

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Luck Chains

Chain Prayers

Here's one I have received in one form or another over the years: "We all need friends to pray for us!!! When you receive this, say the prayer.  That's all you have to do.  There is nothing attached.  This is powerful.  Just send this to four people and do not break this, please.  Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. (general prayer follows). . . Passing this on to anyone you consider a friend will bless you both.  Passing this on to one not considered a friend is something Christ would do."

Let's examine this more closely.  What is prayer?  It is two-way communication between ourselves and God.  Prayer has several parts: praise, petitions & questions, and intercession.  It is very true that intercession is powerful.  However, I have my doubts that repeating a generalized prayer has that power.  The power comes in prayer being specific and consistent.  Jesus always prayed that way.  His made very specific requests for both His current disciples and those yet to come AND for Himself.  The kind of praying encouraged here is neither specific nor consistent.  It takes but a moment of our time and no effort of thought.  When I pray for a friend, I pray for specific needs.  When I pray for missions efforts, I pray for specific needs. 

Coming face to face with God Almighty, either in our own behalf or the behalf of others, is not easy, not light, and requires something from the depth of our souls.  What I find unfortunate here is that once we have taken a minute to pray this prayer, then another to forward it, we may begin to feel like we have done something very spiritual and helpful.  Perhaps we need to re-read James 5:16: "Confess your faults to one another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed.  The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."  I really can't see the fervency in such general prayers, hence, I am doubtful of its being very powerful.

Genuine fervent prayer should cost us something.  It should take something of ourselves, our time, our concentration.  King David wouldn't offer up to God something that cost him nothing - maybe we shouldn't either.  I've an idea that something which costs me nothing is worth exactly that.

Regarding the end statement:  Would Jesus REALLY pass along general prayers someone else had written to lots of people?

Inspirational Chain Letters

There are different types of chain letters:

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those that invoke superstition (don't break the chain or you will have bad luck, or keep this going and you will have good luck).  Information on this type is shown in the section below. 

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inspirational stories, pithy sayings, sentimental poetry or prose that asks you to continue to pass it along to those you care about

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stories, poems, prose or prayers that ask you to pass it along as a test of your love for God

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stories, poems, prose or prayers that ask you to pass it along as a test of your friendship towards others

There is nothing whatsoever wrong with inspirational stories (as long as they are true), pithy sayings, sentimental poetry or prose.  If you think someone would enjoy it, or be blessed by it, by all means, send it along!  However, you might want to make sure that the person you are sending it to DOES enjoy such things.  The sentimental stuff is usually way too syrupy for my tastes.  Don't forward it to your whole list or ten people, or whatever the message says to do.

The ones that tell you to pass it along as a test of your love for God, are, I believe, terribly dishonest.  Here is one example:  "If you aren't ashamed to do this, please follow the directions.  Jesus said, "If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my Father,"  Not ashamed, pass this on. . . only if you mean it.  Yes I do Love God. . . . . (some words about who God is to the writer). ..  This is the simplest test. . . if you Love God, and are not ashamed of all the marvelous things He has done for you, send this to ten people and the person who sent it to you!  Remember Only send this if you Believe." (what happens if you send it and DON'T BELIEVE? LOL!)

Another one along the same lines:  "This is a test!  An easy one.  You score 100 or zero.  It's your choice.  If you aren't ashamed to do this, please follow the directions.  Jesus said, 'if you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you before my Father.'  If you are not ashamed pass this on...only if you mean it. . . . . . This is the simplest test - if you love God, and are not ashamed of all the marvelous things he has done for you, send this to ten people and the person who sent it to you!"

And yet another sample: "I don't think I know 10 people who would admit they love Jesus.  Do you love Him?  Here's a simple test: If you love Jesus, send this to at least 10 people, including the person who sent it to you."  Pictures or poems are included. 

Notice how scripture is being ripped from its context in the first two examples.  I'm sure that our Lord DID NOT have in mind that a person who refuses to forward chain email is ashamed of Him.  What does constitute being ashamed of Christ is not taking a stand before our world (even in the face of persecution) and being afraid to share Him with a lost and dying world.  This is a generalization, but in my experience with most who enjoy passing these things along, I find that most of them rarely ever share their faith with anyone personally, many don't voice a stand against immorality and many, while enjoying the benefits of being a part of the Body of Christ, act like useless limbs in that body.  Jesus said that if we love Him, we'll keep His commandments.  That's the litmus test, not forwarding emails.

This is not a good witness.  Sometimes God gives us one time opportunities to share with another person.  Most of the time He gives us ongoing relationships THROUGH which we share the love and mercy of Christ by both our daily lives and our speech.  Relationship building is important because then people can see God working within us, freeing us from sin. Messages like these can have the opposite effect on an unbeliever.  It makes us seem foolish for believing that forwarding an email will prove our love for God.  

I'm afraid that many people who would be glad to push a forward button couldn't tell you what Jesus has done in their lives in the past week, much less the past year.  It's so easy to forward an email.  It doesn't cost me anything (and that's about what it's worth).  True witnessing, true obedience and true love for the Body will definitely cost us something.

The second example talks about the marvelous things God has done for us, yet it urges us to send a generic message without giving an account of His marvelous deeds.  Is this the "sacrifice of praise" talked about in the Word?  Why not recount the great things God is doing in your life and has done in the past, and send it on to ten or more people?  Now's that's something great!

I feel sorry for the person who concocted the third example.  If they don't know 10 people who love Jesus, perhaps they need to get involved with the Body of Christ in their own community!  I know hundreds of people who love Jesus (they show it by their actions) and I meet to worship with them a couple of times a week.

Notice the guilt motivation used to get people to pass it on.  How is this any different from luck letters?

I must mention the funny lines , "remember only send this if you believe," and  "only if you mean it."  Who else WOULD send it on?  What would happen if someone who didn't believe passed it on?

Good/Bad Luck Chain Letters

These letters claim that you will have good luck if you continue the chain and bad luck if you do not.  Various stories of people who continued the chain and those who broke it are usually included.  

It's hard to believe that adults actually believe in this stuff, but they do.  I guess in a society that spends umpteen dollars on phone(Y) psychics that this shouldn't surprise me.  However, no Christian should ever buy into this.  As Christians, we believe in the providence and omnipotence of God.  I know that God uses the circumstances of my life to speak to me, to change me, to make me a stronger and better person.  If the thing happening to me is something that I think is bad, that thing is a growth opportunity.  Sometimes things we think are bad, may actually be really good.  There are no coincidences and there is no luck in the life of God's people.

However, if a person believes in such things, they will chalk up certain experiences to bad luck.  Instead of seeing situations and circumstances as they really are, they  will see them through the filter of their belief system in luck.  If the person chooses not to send the chain letter on, their belief system will be the determining factor in whether circumstances that follow are a matter of luck.  There is such a thing as a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

In reality, these sorts of letters are a test of our own belief systems.  If a person believes that God is the author and keeper of their life, circumstances will seem entirely different.  Entrusting ourselves into the hands of our loving Father is sure and secure and completely eliminates the concept of luck. 

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Truth Miners is run by, owned by, written by and maintained by Cathy Holden - all articles, unless noted, are written by me.  Ask for reprint permission please.  Thanks!