Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Do You Pray For "Travelling Mercies" and "Hedges of Protection"?

“All studies done on the subject confirm that people have but a cursory knowledge of the Bible – at best. Rare are those who are willing to follow the Apostle Paul’s directive to “study to show themselves approved unto God.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Most are content with getting their theology from sound bites and sermonettes which have little, if any, grounding in Scripture.” Justin Peters
If you’ve spent any amount of time in an evangelical Sunday School, listening to prayer requests, and then, either being led in prayer or sharing a rotating prayer baton within the group, you’ve heard this supplication to the Lord.
“We ask for traveling mercies for …”
And then whoever is traveling gets a mention before the Lord.  Now, don’t read what I am NOT saying.  There is absolutely nothing wrong, unbiblical, or errant in praying for the safety, traveling or not, of our loved ones and friends.  Doing so is an expression of Christian love.
But “traveling mercies” prayers tend to slightly irk me on two fronts.  First, they seem to exude a subtle undertone, the slightest hint, about God’s insufficiency for His children, as though somehow He might not have noticed the long-distance conveyance of His own children and that, not knowing, He might forget to watch over them.  I mean, nowhere in the New Testament do we see an apostle asking for “traveling mercy” prayers. Paul, who it seems accrued the most first-century apostolic frequent-flier (well, frequent-evangelist) miles, never implored his epistle recipients to pray for him in this manner, and never do we see him – or any other New Testament writer – doing so for anyone else.....
But there’s another phrase that is rampant in the vernacular of evangelical intercessions, and it exudes a bolder sense of exhorting God to act, not in granting providential, temporal safety from the perils of the world, but beseeching Him for protection within the realm of the supernatural. That, of course, is … (insert drum roll here) … invoking the hedge of protection prayer.  
End quote.
~Bud Ahlheim, Pulpit and Pen

Go here for the full article.
These kinds of prayers are akin to the superstitious mantras of Charismaticism's "binding Satan", rebuking Satan, and "pleading the blood", and likewise most Evangelicals don't stop and think about what they are praying and if it's biblical. It's a good point that most accidents happen within 5-10 miles of one's home yet that's never, and I do mean never, included in such prayers. Worse, as the article suggests, it presumes a lack of faith in the providence of God and that what He ordains in our lives, including "bad" things, are meant for our good. Such prayers as these are really, when you think about it, prayers of doubt.

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