This is my last post on the mini-series topic of prayer. I hope you have been encouraged as you have had the opportunity to understand what the scriptures reveal regarding prayer. In this post, we need to answer the following question. When praying, which God are you seeking? Who are you calling out to and relying on in your time of need? Are you praying to a pretender? Moreover, what does this pretender want in return for a favorable answer to your requests? Your soul or possibly the pledge of your firstborn son?
Notable pretender gods in the bible
The I AM, Creator God continually warned the Hebrew children not to worship the ‘gods’ of the surrounding nations.
You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous (impassioned) God [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely mine], visiting (avenging) the iniquity (sin, guilt) of the fathers on the children [that is, calling the children to account for the sins of their fathers], to the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me – Deuteronomy 5:9 AMP
You shall not worship their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds, but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their sacred pillars in pieces. – Exodus 23:24
However, they continually disobeyed. Here are a few of those pretender ‘gods’ that were worshiped.
- Artemis – identified by the Romans as Diana – Acts 19.24
- Asherah/Ashteroth – one of the goddesses of the Canaanite pantheon – Judges 3.7
- Baal – the supreme god worshiped in ancient Canaan and Phoenicia – Numbers 22.41
- Chemosh – primary national god of the Moabites and Ammonites – 1Kings 11.7
- Dagon – highly venerated national deity of the Philistines – 1Samuel 5.7
- Marduk/Merodach – the chief deity of Babylon – Jeremiah 50.2
- Molech – A Canaanite god associated with child sacrifice – Leviticus 18.21
- Tammuz – a Syrian and Phoenician god of fertility – Ezekiel 8.14
A glimpse into other pretender ‘gods’ worshiped…
A quick internet search reveals there are still many ‘gods’ worshipped in other countries today. Consider the following.
- Many Chinese worship ‘gods’ of
- the cosmos
- celestial and terrestrial phenomena
- human virtues and crafts
- animal and vegetal life
- Buddhists use the Buddha as a way of attaining spiritual freedom and enlightenment throughout their lives. Although there’s no supreme being, there are all kinds of god-like creatures and beings called devas in the early scriptures of Buddhism.
- Hindus worship a universal ‘god’ known as the Supreme Being or Brahman. However, they also have numerous gods and goddesses, known as devas, who represent one or more of Brahman’s aspects.
- In Japan, there are eight million kami which are the divine spirits or ‘gods’ recognized in their Shinto religion.
If you intend to seek help from any of the so-called ‘gods’ listed above, don’t hold your breath. You would be praying to a pretender. An imposter who only wants to keep your focus off the One True God, Yahweh.
The God of Islam, Judaism, and Christians
Is the God of Islam, Judaism, and Christians the same? There is much controversy over the idea that we all worship and pray to the same God. However, is that a true statement? Just to be clear I am comparing theology, not people. Let’s take a look at the table below to compare the belief structure of these three religions.
|Believe in one personal God (YHWH)who is eternal, with "neither beginning nor end", has always been the unrivaled Creator and Lord||Believe in one personal God (YHWH)who is eternal, with "neither beginning nor end", has always been the unrivaled Creator and Lord||Believe in one personal and transcendent God which they call Allah who was originally an Arab tribal god. He was one member of a polytheistic pantheon. Eventually he supplanted all other gods as the one-and-only deity of Muhammad.|
|The dead will be resurrected.||The dead will be resurrected - Rev 20.5-6||The dead will be resurrected.|
|The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh is the Jewish scriptural canon and central source of Jewish law. - deny that the New Testament is the Word of God||Christians follow the Old and New Testament Scriptures - 2 Timothy 3.16||Believe in sacred writings that record the prophetic revelations|
|Rejects that God became a man in Jesus Christ||God became a man in Jesus Christ||Rejects that God became a man in Jesus Christ|
|The Messiah will come - do not accept Jesus as God's son and Messiah||Jesus is God's son who was sinless and born of a virgin||Jesus was a prophet who was sinless and born of a virgin|
|Jews reject the idea that Jesus of Nazareth was the messiah and agree that the messiah has not yet come.||Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah||Worship of Jesus – whom they deem only human – is anathema.|
|Rejects the Trinity||God eternally exists as three co-eternal and equal persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - Matthew 28:19||Denies that God is a Trinity. Worship of the Trinity to be polytheistic and thus blasphemous.|
|God knows all things including the thoughts and deeds of men - God will reward the righteous and punish the wicked||Mankind is born with a sinful nature that cannot be overcome by any human means - Ephesians 2:1-10||Denies that human have a deeply sinful human nature, claiming that we sin because we are merely weak and ignorant.|
|Looks to sacrifice and their good works for the possibility of salvation is essential||Christian holds faith in Christ through grace as the means of salvation. Christians do good works to please God, not to gain salvation.||Followers to obey the laws of the Qur'an in the hopes that they will be found worthy of paradise.|
|The mainstream Jewish view is that God will reward those who observe His commandments and punish those who intentionally transgress them.||Christianity teaches that salvation is secured only through faith in the achievements of Jesus Christ – his life, death, and resurrection (John 3:16-18).||If you believe and do righteous deeds, then God can be counted on to give you what you have earned, To those who believe and do righteousness, God will assign love. (19. 97).|
|God loves us, not by forgiving our sins before we even commit them, but by giving us good laws to live by.||God’s unconditional love for sinners. God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5.8).||According to the Quran, God does not love sinners.|
God loves not the unbelievers” (III.33)
"God loves not the impious and sinners" (II.277)
“God loves not evildoers” (III. 58)
“God loves not the proud” (IV. 37)
“God loves not transgressors” (V. 88)
“God loves not the prodigal” (VI. 142)
“God loves not the treacherous” (VIII.59)
“God is an enemy to unbelievers” (II. 99)
In a nutshell Christians and those that practice Judaism do worship the same Creator God, Yahweh. However, very few Jews, worship Jesus as the Messiah like the Christians.
The God of the Islamic faith, Allah, was originally an Arab tribal god. He was one member of a polytheistic pantheon. Eventually, he supplanted all other gods as the one-and-only deity of Muhammad. Therefore, we see this Allah is not the same as the God of the Jewish or Christian faith.
Furthermore, neither Christianity nor Islam can logically endorse the other religion’s distinctive claims and practices without denying its own.
Pretender ‘gods’ closer to home
Don’t make the mistake of thinking just because you claim to be a Christian you do not worship other ‘gods/idols’ alongside the Creator, Yahweh. Here in America we actually have many gods’ that we worship. By ‘gods/idols’ I mean anything in our life that commands more loyalty, dedication, and devotion than the one true Living God. It may not necessarily be the highest loyalty, but we give it our sincere and central devotion.
KJV Dictionary Definition: idol
- An image, form or representation, usually of a man or other animal, consecrated as an object of worship; a pagan deity. Idols are usually statues or images, carved out of wood or stone, or formed of metals, particularly silver or gold.
- An image
- A person loved and honored to adoration.
- Anything on which we set our affections; that to which we indulge an excessive and sinful attachment.
- Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John.5.
- An idol is anything that usurps the place of God in the hearts of his rational creatures.
What are a few of the ‘gods/idols’ worshiped in America?
Can we are honest with ourselves? Is it possible that you and I have struggled with allowing one or more of the following? Hence, allowing one or more to hold a ‘god/idol’ status in our lives? In no particular order for your consideration are some of the ‘‘gods/idols’ worshiped:
- Our automobiles
- Social Media
- Government/national security
Even so-called ‘innocent’ past-times can take on the ‘god’ status if we are not careful. However, most of us don’t want to admit that we have allowed other ‘gods’ to replace the One True Creator, Yahweh.
YOU MAY ENJOY READING: 10 Clues That Something Has Become an Idol
There is only One
There is only One true God and it is to Him only that we can put our trust and hope. You will not be praying to a pretender when you seek Him. He alone can and will answer your prayers. Consider the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:
- I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. – Mark 11:24
- You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it. – Matthew 21:22
- “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7
- I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! – Isaiah 65:24
The moment we begin to pray:
- The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. – Daniel 9:23
- I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. – Psalm 34:4
- In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. – Psalm 34:6
- In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. – Psalm 118:5
- As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength. – Psalm 138:3
- Then the priests and Levites stood and blessed the people, and God heard their prayer from his holy dwelling in heaven. – 2 Chronicles 30:27
Beware, God will not be mocked:
- “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. – Hosea 14:8
- The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but he delights in the prayers of the upright. – Proverbs 15:8
- The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayers of the righteous. – Proverbs 15:29
- God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law. – Proverbs 28:9
- When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims. – Isaiah 1:15
To recap this series on prayer
Throughout my posts in the past few weeks regarding prayer, I have shared many scripture gems to answer the basic questions regarding who, what, when, where, why, and the how of prayer. Consequently, we have seen:
- What the big deal about prayer is
- 7 specific areas to remember when praying
- We looked at the when, where, and why of Prayer
- Scripture reveals the attitude that matters
- There is only One True God we can rely on when praying. All others are pretenders.
God’s Word has been and always will be the absolute truth we can depend on! Additionally, it is imperative that we realize that there is tremendous power in prayer! Furthermore, don’t let the liar and deceiver of the brethren, Satan, convince you otherwise.
God is longing for us to build a relationship with Him. Moreover, God promises to hear and respond to the prayers of His people when they pray in the Name of His Son and according to His will. It only takes one submitted heart to move God to work in a situation. Therefore, let us all lift our voices and hands in surrender to the Lord who CAN AND WILL do something if we seek Him with our whole heart!
Then God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself any idol or any likeness (form, manifestation) of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth [as an object to worship].
5 You shall not worship them nor serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous (impassioned) God [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely mine], visiting (avenging) the iniquity (sin, guilt) of the fathers on the children [that is, calling the children to account for the sins of their fathers], to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing graciousness and steadfast lovingkindness to thousands [of generations] of those who love Me and keep My commandments.
7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, irreverently, in false affirmations or in ways that impugn the character of God]; for the Lord will not hold guiltless nor leave unpunished the one who takes His name in vain [disregarding its reverence and its power].Yahweh – Exodus 20:2-7 AMP
Be encouraged! Until we meet again, I am, Passionately Loving Jesus, The Anchor of my soul!
I have included a link to a table I assembled for your encouragement of people in the Old Testament that prayed to God along with the results of prayers prayed. You can see it HERE.
If you are not yet a follower of Christ, know that God loves you and is longing for a RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU! It is not a coincidence that you have come across this website and especially this article. God has an awesome plan for your life!