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3 Phrases Christians Should Quit Relying On

It’s hyperspiritual: In the Christian world, there’s not much more you can do that creates spiritual one-upmanship than implying a conversational relationship with God. Truth is, in 20 years of ministry, the people who’ve attributed every thought they have to God have been some of the least spiritual people I’ve known.

It’s often a breach of trust: The impressions and thoughts that I occasionally feel come from God are spoken to me. It’s sort of like two lovers sharing intimate pillow talk, and then one of them blabs every cherished word to everyone they know. It cheapens that communion. Things spoken in secret don’t become more profound when shouted in public. In fact, speaking them often kills all the motivation for follow through.

Trust me, if God’s spoken to you, it’s valuable whether anyone else knows or not.

3. “I’ll pray for you.”

This is kind of a tricky one. Prayer is one of the most important things a Christian can do.

But there are moments when “I’ll pray for you” doesn’t seem appropriate.

It’s a commitment: The offer to pray for someone is sacred. If you have no intention of praying, or even if you just lack the wherewithal to follow through, it’s best not to make the commitment. The plus side is that your prayers are valuable even if the person your praying for doesn’t know (maybe even more valuable).

It doesn’t take the place of action: Someone diagnosed with cancer needs your prayers, but they may also need meals, childcare or financial help. To promise to pray for someone while neglecting the tangible ways you can show God’s love is heartbreaking. By all means, pray, but invest some time and effort too (it might actually be someone else’s answer to prayer).

Pray later, but pray now: One thing that makes “I’ll pray for you” a cop-out is that it’s future tense. It adds someone’s care to your to-do list. You want to reach out to someone? Pray for them later, but pray for them now, too. I’ve never asked anyone if I could pray with them and had them tell me, “No.” But even if they do, so what? Get out of your comfort zone and pray now.

Are there things Christians say that make you wince?

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