Praying - When is it Wrong?

Lorraine Day, M.D.

The Bible tells us to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17) – always to be in contact with the Lord as He is with us - all the time.  “He will never leave you nor forsake you.”  (Hebrews 13:5) 

It is incomprehensible to most people, especially to Christians, that there may be times when it is wrong to pray.  But the Bible is clear on this issue.

According to the Word of God, here are the specific times when it is wrong to pray:

1. When the answer is already in the Bible.

    God has given us His Word that contains the answers for everything in our life.  But when Christians are too lazy to study the Bible, or don’t want to study the Bible to find the answer because they believe the Bible is boring, or if they don’t understand the Bible because they don’t pray and study the Bible enough, or if they don’t want to obey what the Bible already tells them - - - they pray.

    For example:  A person with cancer may pray to God asking Him whether or not he or she should have chemotherapy.  Clearly the Bible tells us that drug medications are Sorceries and Witchcraft (See “Are Doctors a Gift from God?” at Also, the Bible tells us that our Body is the temple of God’s spirit, and,

          “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.”  1 Cor 3:17

    If a person prays to ask God whether or not he or she should have chemotherapy when the answer is already in the Bible (and that answers is clearly, “NO”), the person either refuses to study the Bible in depth and find the answer, or he or she wants to argue with God.  People desperately want to follow “man” (doctors) while deluding themselves into thinking that they are following God.

    One should never pray for an answer that God has already given us in His Word.

    2. When you have sin in your heart.

      God is very clear that if we have sin in our heart, He will NOT hear us.

      “If I have iniquity (sin) in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”  Psalm 66:18

      “Now we know that God does not hear sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth.”  John 9:31

      “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”  Isaiah 59:2

      “The Lord is far from the wicked; but He hears the prayer of the righteous.”  Proverbs 15:29

      3.  When you cannot hear God’s answer (His still small voice). 

      “The voice of God is as gentle as a summer breeze – so gentle that unless you are living in complete fellowship and oneness with God, you will never hear it.  The sense of warning and restraint that God’s spirit gives comes to us in the most amazingly gentle ways.  And if you are not sensitive enough to detect His voice, you will quench it and your spiritual life will be impaired.  This sense of restraint will always come as a ‘still small voice’ so faint that no one except a saint of God will notice it.”  Oswald Chambers, Aug 13

      God speaks to everyone - all the time.  But unless you have the spirit of God in your life, unless you have Christ living in you, you will not be attuned to His voice and you will not hear His voice.

      You can talk to God all you want, but if you can’t hear Him talking back to you, it doesn’t accomplish very much.

      My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”  John 10:27

      “. . . but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.  And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entrance of the cave.  And behold there came a voice unto him, and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?”  1 Kings 19:11-13

                “Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.”  Revelation 3:20

      “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty (inaccessible) things that you do not know.”  Jeremiah 33:3

      4. When the “prayer” you are praying is New Age meditation – and not Biblical prayer

        Christians of today have wandered so far from God, that New Age doctrines and methods are easily infiltrating the organized “Christian” Church.  Books such as,  A Purpose-Driven Life by Rick Warren (a member of the New World Order/Illuminati-controlled Council on Foreign Relations, CFR), the Harry Potter books (that teach children how to be a witch and cast spells), and The Practice of His Presence, by Brother Lawrence, a monk of the 17th century living in France, are being embraced and endorsed by major “Christian” leaders.  But all of these books are anti-Biblical and lead people away from God, rather than toward Him.

        The Bible tells us to meditate on God’s Word.  That means to contemplate it, think about it, and investigate it.  We are to use our mind to understand the character of God.  The Bible tells us to:

                  “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord.”  Isaiah 1:18

                  “Study to show thyself approved unto God.”  2 Timothy 2:15

        But God has not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

        God wants us to use the sound mind He has given us – not to empty our mind and allow it to be demon-controlled, as the New Agers teach.

        “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, I will return unto my house from whence I came out 

        “And when he cometh, he finds it swept and put in order.

        “Then he (the unclean spirit) goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”  Luke 11:24-26

        In his book, Deceived by the New Age, author Will Baron writes of his life as a New Age priest, deeply involved in the false doctrines of the New Age, of shocking encounters with a false Jesus, and of a master plot to infiltrate Christian churches with “another gospel.”  Baron tells of being told by his demonic “spirit guide” to go to the beach in Venice, California and preach about Jesus.  “But when you teach the people to pray, teach them to meditate,” said the “spirit guide.”

        New Age meditation, including the meditation associated with yoga (a dangerous form of New Age indoctrination), requires that the mind be completely ‘emptied’ as one totally relaxes.  This condition leaves the person open for a wholesale take-over of their mind, including their judgment centers of the brain.

        I have friends who have innocently tried this New Age meditation promoted for stress relief and for lowering the blood pressure – with and without its association with another demonic New Age technique, visualization – with frightening results.  They related their stories to me after I revealed that I, too, innocently fell into the same trap when I was first trying to learn how to get well from cancer – BEFORE I understood God’s Natural Health Plan, which includes Biblical prayer – but does NOT include New Age meditation.

        The Practice of the Presence of God

        A book that is now gaining popularity in the organized “Christian” church is, “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence, a 17th century French Catholic Carmelite monk, living in a monastery in Paris, who was accurately described as a “mystic” - with the real name of Nicholas Herman.

        At first glance, the book appears to support a close, daily walk with God.  But on closer examination, it gives a view of the gospel that is totally centered on “self” rather than on Christ.  It is a monastic, cloistered, and totally contradictory lifestyle when compared to the life that Jesus commands of us – to share the gospel with those who need to know – in REAL life.

        In addition, the method that Brother Lawrence proposes to “practice the presence of God” is a type of self-hypnosis, a system similar to the emptying of the mind in New Age meditation.  The end result is an almost mindless “dream-walk” – a dangerous “zombie” state in which demonic takeover is nearly certain.

                  Prayer is a conversation with God, getting to know God as a friend, requiring the use of all the mental faculties God has given us.

        New Age meditation is Satan’s counterfeit “prayer,” a slick, underhanded, deceptive way for Satan to invade the Christian mind and the Christian Church 

        5. When you have something against someone else

          God wants us to have a righteous heart when we come to Him in prayer, a heart that does not hold anger or a grudge against another.  If we are not able to forgive, the Lord will not hear our prayer

          “And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any other; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

          But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:25,26

          “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  Mathew 6:12

          6. When someone else has something against you

            God is clearly asking us here to go the extra mile.  If you have been angry with someone and have subsequently forgiven that person, that is not enough.  If you know of someone who has something against YOU, Jesus tells us that we must go to that person and do what we can to straighten it out.

            “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there you remember that your brother has something against you; leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”  Matthew 5:23,24

            7. When you are not praying in the name (character) of Jesus.

              The majority of Christians end their prayers “in Jesus name, Amen,” often believing that they are praying Biblically.  But praying “in the name” of Jesus means praying in the “character” of Jesus, in the disposition of Jesus, praying as He would pray, having His life in us (eonian life), praying for the things that He wants – rather than for the things we want.

              In the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, a person’s name often defined his character.  The name meant something important for the individual.  Praying “in the name” of Jesus means that we exhibit HIS character and HIS life – in our life, and in the way we pray.

              Any other type of prayer is a selfish prayer 

              8. When you are dictating to God what you want Him to do, and the time frame in which you want it done! 

                Christians pray for success, including success in their ministry.   But the “success” they often pray for is measured by the world’s standard, such as - how many souls have been “brought to the Lord,” the growth and expansion of their ministry, large amounts of funds coming into the ministry.  All of these are considered signs of success, and signs of God’s blessings. 

                If that is the standard of a Christian’s success, he or she has never heard of Jesus.  According to the world’s standard, including the standard of the corporate world - bigger is better!  But at the end of His life, Jesus was rejected by almost all who ever knew Him.  Yet His death on the Cross was the most successful event in the history of the world.

                Christians pray for their children not to have trouble, yet Jesus said:

                            “In this world you WILL have tribulation. . .”  John 16:33

                Trouble is the only thing that changes us.  When things are going well, we never change.  It is through trials and tribulations that we finally realize our need for Jesus to run our life.

                Christians pray for God to heal them – NOW!  And they don’t want to change anything about their life.  When Christians decide to get well from disease God’s way, they often say, “How long will this plan take?  When will I be well?”

                The answer is – when you quit asking that question and realize that you have no right to ask it.  God is in charge – NOT us.  He is going to change our life in every aspect, and He’s not in a hurry.  When a person develops a serious disease, it is the result of years of living, eating, and handling stress the WRONG way – THEIR way – rather than GOD’S way.  They gave the disease to themselves.

                A person will not get well until he or she has committed to a permanent change in every aspect of his or her life, until he or she has agreed to give up their right to themselves and give it to God, and until he or she is willing to hang on to Jesus no matter how many obstructions clutter their path.

                We have no right to dictate to God HOW or WHEN He is to accomplish the work that He has PROMISED to do.

                We must pray in God’s will – nor our own will.

                God is in charge.  We are NOT!

                “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we asked of Him.”  1 John 5:14,15

                “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your pleasures.”  James 4:3

                9. When you are only praying for gifts from God rather than praying to know God, Himself.

                  It is the ultimate in selfishness to pray for God’s gifts, whether material things or even healing.  If we do, our “Christianity” is all about US – instead of being all about Jesus Christ.  We must seek Jesus Himself, we must get to know Jesus personally first – and once we do, all the other things that HE has in store for us will follow 

                  Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Matthew 6:33

                  “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your pleasures.”  James 4:3

                  10. When you are not obeying all that you already know.

                    Confusion is always caused by not obeying ALL that you already know.  Knowledge from books and research is gained by reading, learning, and experimentation.  But wisdom from God is ONLY received when - - you obey

                    God’s word cannot be approached as one would approach a book of Shakespeare, or a science textbook.  That knowledge is gained through the five senses – what we see, hear, touch, taste and smell.  But we must approach God by believing Him and His Word.  When we believe – then we will “know.”  That is “revelation” knowledge.

                    “If any man will DO His will, he shall know of the doctrine; whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”  John 7:17

                    “Now therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a special treasure unto Me above all people; for all the earth is mine.”  Exodus 19:5

                    “But if you shall indeed obey His voice, and do all that I speak; then, I will be an enemy unto your enemies, and an adversary unto your adversaries.”  Exodus 23:22

                    “But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die as one without knowledge.”  Job 36:12

                    “But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.”  Jeremiah 7:23

                    “Then he said unto him, Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord, behold, as soon as you have departed from me, a lion shall slay you.  And as soon as he departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him.” 

                    1 Kings 20:36

                    “And the king of Assyria did carry away Israel unto Assyria, and put them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes:

                    “Because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed His covenant, and all that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded, and would not hear them, nor do them.”  2 Kings 18:11,12

                    “And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the Lord, and do all His commandments which I command thee this day.

                    “And the Lord thy God will make thee abound in every work of thine hand, in the offspring of thy body, and in the offspring of thy cattle and in the produce of thy land, for good; for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as He rejoiced over your fathers.”  Deuteronomy 30:8, 

                    11. When your prayers include “vain repetitions.”

                      “Vain repetitions” include chants, reciting rosary beads, saying the same prayer over and over again, or asking for the same thing repeatedly.

                      “But when you pray, do nots use vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

                      “Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask Him.”  Matthew 6:7,

                      12. When you publicly pray like the Pharisees – “to be seen by men.”

                        There are few things in the ritual of the “church” that are more disgusting than “praying to be seen of men,” an offense that did not end with the Pharisees, but continues in many churches today.

                        “And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues (churches) and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.  Verily, I say unto you, They have their reward.

                         “But you, when you pray, enter into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.”  Matthew 6:5,6

                        “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers therefore you shall receive the greater judging.”  Matthew 23:15

                        13. When you have no intention of obeying God’s law.

                          God’s way is the ONLY way.  The Bible tells us to “delight” in the law of God. 

                          “O, that there were such a heart in them that they would fear Me and keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever.”  Deut 5:29

                          “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be an abomination.”  Proverbs 28:9

                          “Yea, they made their hearts as a flint stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words that the Lord of hosts hath sent in His spirit by the former prophets; therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts.

                          “Therefore it is come to pass, that as He cried out, and THEY would not hear: so THEY cried out, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts:” Zechariah 7:12,13

                          Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep my commandments.”  (John 14:15)  But the “Christian” church has thrown God’s commandments overboard, saying incorrectly that they were done away with at the Cross.

                          But “done away with” means to “abolish” the law.  Jesus clearly stated He did NOT come to “abolish” the law.  He said,

                           “I came NOT to destroy (abolish) the law, but to fulfill it.”  Matthew 5: 17

                          Jesus fulfilled the law by showing us, through His life, how the law is to be kept.  His life demonstrated the perfect keeping of the law. 

                          14. When you have turned your back on the Lord.

                            When we choose to run our own life – or own way, rather than letting God take over our life completely, we will make bad decisions and “reap what we have sown.”  We have chosen to protect ourselves (as in “self-defense”) and by doing so, have taken our self out from under the protection of the Almighty God 

                            “If you forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you harm, and consume you. . .”  Joshua 24:20

                            “Because I have called, and you refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded it; But you have disdained all My counsel, and would have none of My reproof;

                            “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock you when your terror comes.  When your terror comes as a storm, and your destruction comes as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish come upon you,

                            “Then shall they call upon Me, but I will NOT answer; they shall seek me diligently, but they shall not find Me:

                            “For they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear (reverence) of the Lord.

                            “They would have none of My counsel: they despised all My reproof.  Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

                            “For the waywardness of the simple shall slay them, and the complacency of fools shall destroy them.

                            “But whosoever hearkens unto Me shall dwell safely, and shall be secure from fear of evil.” Proverbs 1:24-33

                             “And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and you rulers of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know justice?

                            “Who hate the good and love the evil; who strip off their skin from My people, and their flesh from off their bones;

                            “Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them, and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the cauldron.

                             “Then shall they cry unto the Lord, but He will not hear them, He will even hide His face from them at that time, as they have been evil themselves in their deeds.”  Micah 3:1- 

                            15. When men are not treating and loving their wife properly.

                              Sometimes “Christian” men order their wife around like a slave, commanding them to “submit” as though their role as “head of the household” allows them to become a tyrant, a role that many churches covertly support. 

                              Yet, the Bible says, “Husbands, LOVE your wives, even as God loved the ecclesia (His true followers) and gave Himself for it.”  Ephesians 5:25

                              A husband’s role as “head of the household” is to demonstrate the character of God to his family.  If he does not, God will not hear his prayers.

                              “Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them (your wife) with understanding, giving honor unto your wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”  1 Peter 3:7

                              16. If you don’t help the less fortunate.

                                “Whosoever stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall NOT be heard.  Proverbs 21:1 

                                17. If you don’t have faith

                                   If you don’t BELIEVE that God WILL do what He has already PROMISED to do, God will not hear your prayers.

                                  “Therefore I say unto you, Whatsoever things your desire, when you pray, believe that you will receive them, and you shall have them.”  Mark 11:24

                                  “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and without reproach; and it shall be given him.

                                  But let him ask in faith, never wavering (doubting).  For he that wavereth (doubteth) is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

                                  “For let not that man think that he shall receive anything from the Lord.
                                  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”  James 1:5-8


                                  “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.”  Hebrews 11:6

                                  Faith must be tested, because it can only become your intimate possession through conflict.  There must be continual testing in the life of faith.  Faith is absolute trust in God – trust that could never imagine that God would forsake us.  (Hebrews 13:5,6)

                                  But here is where “Christianity” - as it is now practiced in the organized churches,  fails miserably. 

                                  Faith, trust, and belief are ALL the same word in the Greek.

                                  Christians do NOT believe (have faith) that God “heals ALL our diseases” (Psalm 103:3) “IF we follow His Laws (including His Health Laws), His Commandments, and His decrees” (Deut 7:11-15).  That is why “Christians” go to doctors, rather than following God’s Natural Health Plan.

                                  Christians do NOT believe that God can – and will - “TAKE AWAY the sin of the WHOLE world.”  (John 1:29)  That’s why “Christians” think the majority of people will burn in hell.

                                  Christians do NOT believe that God is “working ALL things after the counsel of HIS OWN WILL (Because “Christians” believe that “man” has “free will” which supercedes God’s will – making “man” his OWN god.)  (Ephesians 1:11)

                                  Christians do NOT believe that God can “make ALL new.”  (Revelation 21:5)  That’s why “Christians” believe “they” will be saved – but most of the world’s population will be lost eternally.

                                  Christians do NOT believe that God “can save to the uttermost.”  (Hebrews 7:25)  That’s why they believe that some people are SO wicked that they will NOT come to Christ eventually – and that Christ does NOT know how to get them to come to Him.

                                  Christians do NOT believe that God will -  or even can - save “ALL mankind.”  (1 Timothy 4:10)  Even though Christians SAY they believe that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient – and that God can do ANYTHING – they still DON’T believe that God eventually can make everyone like Him – and save ALL mankind.


                                  “Without faith (Belief), it is impossible to please God.”  Hebrews 11:6

                                  “Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man.  We hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that.  What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer.  When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life.  Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished.  We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.

                                  “When a person is at his wits’ end, it no longer seems to be a cowardly thing to pray; in fact, it is the only way a person can get in touch with the truth and the reality of God Himself.  As long as you think you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.

                                  “To say that ‘prayer changes things’ is not as close to the truth as saying, ‘Prayer changes me and then I change things.’  God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things.  Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature.”  Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, August 28

                                  “Never say that it is not God’s will to give you what you ask.  Don’t faint and give up, but find out the reason you have not received; increase the intensity of your search and examine the evidence.  Is your relationship right with your spouse, your children, and your fellow man?  Are you irritable and cross, but you still want spiritual blessings?  We often refuse to look at the evidence that clearly indicates where we are wrong.

                                  “For most people, prayer simply becomes some trivial religious expression, a matter of mystical and emotional fellowship with God.  We are all good at producing spiritual fog that blinds our sight.  But if we will search out and examine the evidence, we will see very clearly what is wrong – a friendship, and unpaid debt, or an improper attitude.  There is no use praying unless we are living as children of God.  Then Jesus says, regarding His children, “Everyone who asks receives. . .”  Matthew 7:8  Ibid., August 24