Should Christians “Command” God in Prayer?

by Rayola Kelley

        QI am very disturbed over the practice of some who, when they pray, command God to do what they want. I would be fearful of commanding God to do anything! However, they say that we are told in the Bible to command God, and that I lack true faith. I pray that God’s will be done, not mine. Am I missing something in my prayer life? Thank you.

        A:  I agree with you that it is a fearful matter to think you can command the God of heaven to bow down to your demands. Such an arrogant heretical belief has been around for at least three decades that I know of. It is associated with those who purport Positive Confession and have merged with the Manifest Sons of God movement.

       One of the Scriptures such individuals use is Isaiah 45:11-12: “Thus saith the LORD, the Holy one of Israel, and his Maker; Ask me of things to come concerning my sons; and concerning the work of my hands, command ye me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.” From initial appearances, it looks like we could command God, but if you study the contents of the chapter you will realize that all commands are strictly being made by God in relationship to His eternal purpose or plan for His people. In fact, what God is doing here is making a statement to those who are striving with Him. He is bringing a contrast by instructing them to ask Him about matters concerning the unseen, but to presume that He can be commanded since He commands the host of heaven and is their Maker is to expose their foolish rebellion. God is clearly defining His supremacy in Isaiah 45. If you study the chapter in its full context, you will see that when it gets right down to it, it is God who is commanding things according to His will.

       To reiterate His supremacy and abilities, in Isaiah 45:13 we are also told that God will rise up a righteous man, even those who are uncircumcised such as in the case of Cyrus who was mentioned in Isaiah 45:1, to do His bidding. Nothing is too small or too great for Him to bring about. 

       It is easy to take Scripture out of context to serve any perverted view on a matter. A good example are the Scriptures found in Matthew 16:19 and 18:18 where Jesus stated that whatever his followers bind on earth will be bound in heaven and what shall be loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven. It appears that we as believers are being given a lot of power, when in fact this statement is being made in relationship to the Jewish understanding that whatever was prohibited or permitted by the Law was binding on earth as it was in heaven. In the case His followers it would entail the perfect work of the kingdom of God rather than the holy Law of God.  

       As believers, we have a responsibility to compare all spiritual matters with Scriptural truths and examples. Other Scriptures will, and must bear out, what we believe to be true and must always be found to be consistent and in line with God’s character and complete counsel. For example, we know from examples and instructions that the prayers of the righteous avail much, and that we can boldly approach His throne, seeking mercy in hope of obtaining His grace, but there are no other Scriptures that confirm that we have a right to demand God to do anything. The only other example where such arrogance towards God can be found is inIsaiah 14:13-14, where Lucifer made five declarations in his heart as to his intent to ultimately rule over God. We know that the end of such arrogance is judgment.

       People are also clearly warned about praying amiss for those things they desire to heap on themselves that have nothing to do with righteousness or God’s eternal plan. In fact, such prayers are associated with fleshly lusts, spiritual adultery and sensual, demonically inspired envy. We are told that God does not hear the prayers of those who regard such iniquity in their heart, and He resists those who are arrogant or prideful (Psalm 66:18; 1 Corinthians 2:13; Hebrews 4:16; James 3:12-16; 4:1-11; 5:16).

       When you consider the right attitude and purpose of prayer, both are clearly defined in Scripture. Jesus, who was God in the flesh, as well as our example in all matters of righteousness, prayed according to the will of the Father. We are instructed that if we pray according to our Lord’s will, we can be assured a matter will be done. If we abide in Him and ask in His name, which means we ask only those things that would be in line with His character, ways and will, it will be done. We need to keep in mind that our faith is not based on what God can do; rather, it is based on who He is. We know that He is trustworthy and able to do what He promises if the environment and timing is right to do so (Matthew 26:39-44; John 14:14; 15:7; Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 5:14).

       People who think they can change reality through positive confession or believe that they can command God or His angels in the affairs of heaven err in their hearts. Obviously, they do not know God or His ways. Like the children of Israel in the wilderness, such people are not only acting according to the self-will of presumption, which is inspired by foolishness, arrogance and ignorance, but they are also provoking Him with their heretical claims (Numbers 14:41-45; 15:30-31; Psalm 19:12-14; Hebrews 3:9-16; 2 Peter 2:10-14). My advice to you is to beware of how close you stand to such an individual and whatever you do, restrain from coming into agreement with his or her antichrist spirit and partaking of his or her damnable sin. If you find yourself in the position of rebuking such an individual, obey the instructions of Titus 3:10-11: “A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject, Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.”