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When God Says, 'Don't Pray'

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Daniel Whyte III

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Praying Through the Bible #82

TEXT: Jeremiah 7:1-16

The Bible is replete with commands, admonishments, encouragement, and even incentives to pray. However, this passage in Jeremiah is quite interesting because, from our feeble, human perspective, God is doing something that we would not expect Him to do. In this passage, God tells Jeremiah not to pray. It might be hard to imagine that God would say such a thing to one of His chosen ministers. But, yet, here it is in the pages of Scripture.
 
What would prompt God to issue such a directive? Why would God tell one of His servants to cease doing something that is good? As we seek to understand this passage, we must grapple with three aspects of this instance when God says, ‘do not pray.’ 
 
1. First, let’s consider the prophet. As we read this passage, we are hearing "the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord." God commanded the prophet Jeremiah to "stand in the gate of the Lord's house, and proclaim there this word..."

2. The people. In verse two God says, "Hear the word of the Lord, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord." 

3. The punishment. Because the people of Judah would not repent, God tells them in verse 16, "I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim." 

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