I’ve wanted to break from the norm of my song reflections I’ve been doing and write about something different. I didn’t grow up in the church, so when I heard the Gospel and got saved, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, was completely new to me. I had heard of Jesus and his Gospel, but I didn’t know about hymns, church traditions, how to pray, what was in the bible and the whole sub-genre of Christian music.
I think one thing that really stuck out to me at first was how Christians talked. It wasn’t that they necessarily sounded foreign or didn’t swear every ten seconds, it was just certain words and phrases that were very weird, like Hedge of Protection. I thought that certain phrases or words had certain “powers” and “effects” if used a certain way in prayer; silly I know but I was just a babe in the faith. Tim Hawkins has a great stand-up bit about hedges.
To this day, I still don’t understand where this phrase comes from, and yet I still hear Christians sincerely using it in prayer. I guess maybe its just old habit or a stylistic thing? Now, I don’t think that it’s wrong to pray saying “a hedge of protection”, I just think there are better ways to pray. I think a more effectual method would be to find a scripture that pertains to protection, say, Psalms 5:11 or Psalms 20:1 and use that as a platform to launch into prayer.
Another quirk I’ve noticed is praying against a spirit or spirits of whatever (be it depression, anxiety, poverty, alcoholism, cancer, defeat, or other football teams). Again, another thing I don’t see referenced in God’s word. Yes, I do believe that there are demonic forces, powers and principalities in the heavens. Yes, I do believe that Satan is like a roaring lion, prowling about trying to devour God’s beloved. I’d be naive to say that the Christian doesn’t have an enemy and is not engaged in war everyday. My point is this, I don’t know if there is indeed a spirit for every hostile and volatile event and circumstance out there. I do know that because of sin, it has brought upon disease, sickness, physical and spiritual death. Instead of praying against spirits, like the “hedge of protection”, lets allow scripture, through the power of the Holy Spirit, guide our prayers without labeling everything; that just seems easier.
Name it and claim it theology, also very weird. Calling out “prophetically” for things to come into existence (I think this was big with the prosperity movement and prosperity preachers), such as wealth, Cadillac’s and promotions, even healing. All too often with the healing, I see many claim healing and cling to their confession as though God stamped it for approval, only to watch the sickness worsen, or God forbid, end in a loss of life. Such tragedy leaves room for the devil to exploit our disappointment and discouragement.
There are many other oddities I’ve still yet to understand (snake charming, people falling over in the “spirit”, cheesy christian t-shirts, the pentacostal movement), but in the end, most of these things are trivial. God is sovereign, God is good and he loves his Church. Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” There are essentials and non-essentials of our Christian faith. Some things we give grace towards, such as the way we pray or phrases we use, the way we dress or the music we listen to, and there are things we are stubborn over, such as doctrines concerning salvation, the atonement, the Gospel; these are the things we fight for and do NOT waiver on. It takes maturity and wisdom to know when one is the former and the other the latter.