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Why I Pray for Metallica and Joel Osteen...

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As a college senior and new Christian I had a hard time understanding things like prayer. It was so new and I was just figuring everything out. Questions like, "If I pray in my head, can God hear me?" (no kidding) and "If I pray for my enemies, is that the ultimate way I can stick it to them?" (again, no kidding). 
 
If I ever had time left over in my new prayer life, I always prayed for Metallica. I know that seems weird. The truth is, I struggled with giving up my old music collection and wanted Metallica to get saved and love Jesus so I can listen to good music again. I also prayed for Soundgarden, Beastie Boys, and about 20 other bands. It was pretty selfish. 
 
I didn't really care about their salvation and whether or not they knew my King - I just couldn't take any more acoustic guitar. When I look back on it all now, it's pretty embarrassing and seems ultra-selfish. 
 
Here in the last few weeks I've used the Osteens (Joel and Victoria) off and on as examples of how not to see suffering and happiness and maybe a couple of other things. They aren't the only players on that side of the chess board but are "low hanging fruit" because they are always in the news. I can't make it through a month without seeing a new statement made or interview where I get annoyed. 
 
With a church of 45,000 and millions of people reading Joel's books, I just want him to shut up and stop leading people away from the Gospel. I even pray for it. I literally ask God to shut them down and lay their teaching low. I'm not sure this is bad. When I think about it however, I'm praying with a similar attitude I had when praying for all my old metal/rap heros. I'm not truly thinking of their souls. I'm only thinking about avoiding or destroying what annoys or angers me. 
 
Don't get me wrong, I do want them to be silent and stop leading people away from Jesus, but God has been charging me also to grieve and pray for Joel and his bride. God has been leading me to see that when I name them publicly and rip their teaching (which is heresy and needs to be ripped) I also need to pray that they see sin clearly, see Jesus clearly, see the Gospel clearly, and truly fall in love with King Jesus. 
 
The Osteens lead millions - It's really pretty amazing. If they were to have a true regenerating revival in their lives it could possible have a greater effect on our country than most anything else in this century. I ought to be praying for that and laboring over that. If I loved people and loved the glory of my King being shown, I would pray to this end. 
 
This seems to be where Jesus was leading us...
 
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48 ESV)
 
Oh yeah, I'm going to still pray for Metallica and Run DMC, but maybe for their hearts to be changed rather than my iTunes library. 
 
Question: How are you praying for those you call "enemies" or "sinners"?

 

Soured Plotlines

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Four months of sub-human treatment in the enemy’s camp, and Bobby can’t believe his eyes. Hope forsook him long ago, and yet he’s now staring at his rescue in disbelief. The group of five infiltrated the camp, and they now stand ready to end his stint as a prisoner of war. An hour later, as they make their way out undiscovered, Bobby finally asks the Jed, the group’s leader, where they’re going. After some time with an absent look on his face, Jed admits, “I have no idea. I haven’t thought about it.”

Well, that was lame. Do I win “worst plot of the year” award? Probably. But I bet you’ve actually done this. I know I have. And we’re bound to do it again and again if we don’t ground our lives in firm goal of being infatuated with God ourselves.

It wouldn’t make much sense to break into an enemy camp with no idea where you want to bring the imprisoned soldier. It makes about as much sense to move into your friend’s life to help them and yet have little idea where you want to take them. So, let’s ask: 

What do I ultimately want to happen when I give counsel?

There’s always the answer from the last post, “I want them to see God.” For sure, it’s a sound and biblical answer, but we need to be aware that, as people inherently suffering from multiple personalities (that is, flesh and Spirit), our goals are constantly shifting. “What do you want to happen?” isn't just a one-time, static question to settle with a doctrinal statement. It is an all-the-time, pliable narrative that we work through over and over with the Holy Spirit amid our ever-changing, messy lives.

In fact, I’m not sure we can truly want something for someone else that we haven’t already practiced wanting in daily life. For sure, I can meet my friend and think, “I want you to see God.” But if I’ve merely wanted to escape into television the day before that, then the idea of wanting anyone to see God is honestly more of and out-of-context intrusion than it is a genuine desire. My goals for other people answer to my everyday life. They also have the deciding say as to whether I’m truly helping my friends or souring their plot lines with indecision and unknown goals. Goals are what fundamentally separate biblical counseling from pop-psychology:

What do you want to happen?

The truth is that life changes, our desires change, and we change with them. So get into the habit of asking yourself often where you want to take friends when you meet with them. And realize that your lifestyle (obedience in faith or disobedience in unbelief) is the rudder that determines where you want to take them. If you want others to see God, you must want to see Him yourself, and you must be careful to make this a daily want.

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