Shortly after being saved, I was invited to attend a women’s prayer group.
It was a friendly atmosphere of over twenty women from various generations and denominations who were all coming together to pray over our city.
The leader of the group announced,
“I see we have several visitors tonight, so I will briefly go over how we pray in this group.”
Immediately, a red flag went up in my spirit (that I now recognize as discernment) telling me something was wrong and to be careful.
“Our city desperately needs prayer and for the people of God to humble themselves and pray. We know that it’s great when women pray, but it’s only when the men of God pray that gets God moving. So, we’re going to take the next hour and pray for the men in our churches. We’re going to pray they’ll stand up and pray for our city.”
Annnnnd there it was.
Inside, Holy Spirit was blaring “WRONG!” and “WARNING!” but I didn’t know what to do or what to think.
Another first time visitor started asking questions like, “Why can’t we pray for our city as well?” and “Where in the Bible does it say my prayers are less effective?” She was immediately made to feel as though questioning the theology of the group was being disobedient to God.
Some women in the group were not just praying for the men, but beginning to pray to the men.
Needless to say, I never returned.
I left that night very confused and hurt, anxiously searching the Scriptures to find out if my prayers were indeed worthless.
At one point, I thought God was watching me pray saying, “Oh isn’t that sweet.” Then, when a man would pray, God would sit up straight in His chair and look down upon the earth proclaiming, “Oh! A man is praying! I better start moving!”
You see, this is what happens when false teaching creeps into the Body of Christ.
False teaching hurts people, lead us astray, and becomes a stumbling block for everyone.
I think back to those early months of salvation with thankfulness that Jesus loved me through my confusion, and orchestrated mature believers to come into my life to help correct this false teaching.
To be clear, these is NOTHING in Scripture that supports the theology that only a man’s prayer is effective. If so, then there’s no reason for a woman to pray because her prayers are ineffective.
Furthermore, we are NOT to pray to anyone other than Jesus. Period. (Read John 14:6)
In Romans 16, Paul warns us about such false teachings:
17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. ~Romans 16:17-18
What I learned through this experience is that I need to make sure I’m always worshiping God in Spirit and Truth.
Some false teachings are not just based in misguided beliefs or traditions, but in spirits contrary to God’s Spirit.
24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” ~Jesus (John 4:24)
1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. ~1 John 4:1
Without having a firm knowledge of Scripture and constantly seeking the guidance of Holy Spirit, it’s extremely easy to start leaning in a false direction.
If you’ve been hurt by false teaching in the Body of Christ, I’m so sorry. I’ve been there.
In spite of what you’ve been through, never allow someone to keep you from a relationship with Jesus or keep you from being connected to a local church family. You have to forgive and move on.
It’s hard, I know.
But, your relationship with Christ is too important to walk away from, and you are too important to Him.