On Saturday morning we ended our church’s mission’s month with a seminar presented by Bishop Frank Retief. One of the topics covered was, “Why pray for missions?” In introducing his subject, Frank made the point that only Christians can pray. I’m assuming that we all understand pray to mean: speaking to God. If there is only One True God, only prayer directed to him will be heard and answered.
Jesus made this point in Matthew 6. He said we should pray, “Our Father in heaven”. It is not to a generic God we pray to, but rather to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has revealed himself in the Old Testament scriptures. All other prayer is simply meaningless, repetitive words that serve no purpose.. As Jesus said, “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.”
All people and cultures pray. We do this because we all are created in the image of God. We all, Christians, Muslims, Hindu’s alike, have an inward notion that we should commune with God. Many cultures may pray for the dead, burn incense to “God” and seek special audience with the spirits. However, because there is only One True God, only He hears and answers prayer. Prayers to other “gods” are “empty phrases”.
Some will point to the account of Cornelius’ prayer in Acts 10 and argue that he was not a Christian and yet God heard his prayers (v1-5). Yet in Acts 10 we see that the One True God was working in Cornelius’ heart preparing him to hear the gospel, which resulted in Cornelius praying (cf. Acts 16:14).
There are not many gods, there is one God. True prayer is prayer to Him.