Prayer is an Abomination!
Prayer is an abomination! You may wonder what we mean by this for you’ve always been told that the Lord wants us to pray and worship Him. Doesn’t this please Him?
When we speak of prayer being an abomination, obviously we are not referring to all prayer. God commands us to pray and even says, “The prayer of the upright is His delight” (Proverbs 15:8b). When we pray to God, we love, honor, glorify, praise, and show our respect for Him. Thus, we surely are not speaking of every prayer of every person. But let’s notice the proverb to which we refer:
He who turns away his ear from listening to the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination. (Proverbs 28:9)
This is the kind of prayer that God abhors and finds an abomination!
Just what does Scripture mean by this? It is referring to a person who “turns away his ear from listening to the law.” That is the person that God finds so objectionable and so abhorrent!
And what does this mean? If a person refuses to listen to or read God’s word or refuses to take it seriously, that person is turning way from God’s will. If a person refuses to expose himself to the Lord’s Word in the form of the Bible itself, or in some other venue—such as a tract, a booklet, or an exposition of some kind—that person is turning away from God’s will. If a person would rather listen to or watch sports events, or listen to music, or engage in conversation, instead of coming to God’s Word, that person too is turning away from God’s will and word!
Have you ever spoken to a person, such as a friend or working associate, and attempted to share the truth of God with that person? We know from past experience that many people are not open to new ideas—even when those ideas constitute the truth. They would rather not hear what you have to say.
There is another way that we can turn away from God’s Word and that is by clearly disbelieving it or disobeying it. It is possible for a person to actually read God’s Word, but then selfishly pursue his own will in some way, or refrain from putting that Word into practice. As Jesus said, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall” (Matthew 7:26-27). This person in Christ’s parable “heard” His words but didn’t act on it. This is no better than a person who refuses to listen to Christ’s word at all.
Why would God be so serious in His condemnation of this sort of attitude? When a person is exposed to His Word or can be exposed to it and refuses, that person has dishonored God Himself. He is taking the words of God, our Creator and Lawgiver, lightly or contemptuously. Instead of loving God and His Word, such a person is showing ingratitude and carelessness I response to His Word.
In many places, we read of God’s displeasure over a person’s negative reactions to His word. He will only hear the words of those who respond to Him in faith and obedience and who refuse to sin or disobey Him.
The LORD is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous.
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
But the prayer of the upright is His delight.
If I regard wickedness in my heart,
The Lord will not hear.
The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous,
And His ears attend to their prayer,
But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.
1 Peter 3:12).
Scriptures like this show that God hates when a person wants to pray but refuses to obey Him. But you may wonder if this is commonly done. Indeed, it is. Consider a few instances of this.
Suppose a devout woman, for instance, never reads God’s word and only is exposed to it on Sunday when the priest reads a portion in the weekly worship. However, that same person daily prays to a human being, adores that human being, and makes requests of that human being. What’s worse is that that human being is dead! Anyone who knows Scripture knows that prayer is only to be offered to God (cf. Matthew 6:9). We are only to worship and serve God Himself and no human being, however worthy the person is. Of course, I refer to the fact that hundreds of millions earnestly pray to Mary, the mother of Jesus, when she is actually dead and can’t hear even one prayer! God finds such devotion an abhorrence even when the person thinks he or she is serving the Lord. They think that they are “offering service to God” when actually they are disobeying Him! (cf. John 16:2).
We know that God has spoken through His Word, the Bible. This includes both the old covenant writings (which we refer to as the “Old Testament”) and the new covenant writings (known as the “New Testament”). However, we know that there are millions of people who tenaciously hold to the Old Testament while rejecting the New Testament and showing no interest at all in reading it, listening to it, or obeying it. Obviously, they don’t even obey the Old Testament either, but what’s worse is that they refuse to believe in Jesus Christ who is described and displayed in the New Testament. They just overlook the hundreds of commands found in the New Testament writings. These Jewish people clearly “turn away their ears” from all of God’s Word and are content to listen to the Old Covenant writings. Our understanding is that most Jewish people don’t even have a deep and lasting pursuit of the Old Covenant writings that they exalt so highly.
A further example would be cultists who are so devoted to their particular founder, leader, or teacher that they give more attention and commitment to this person than they do with the inspired words of God’s Word. We’ve seen this again and again over the years. Try to show such a person the truth on some Biblical topic, and they will remain fixed and unmoved by the truth. They will be more interested in what Joseph Smith or some other “inspired” founder had to say or write, than they are concerned with what Paul, Peter, or Matthew had to write. They will plainly contradict the teaching of Scripture but tenaciously cling to their man-made esoteric teachings. This is so in spite of Peter’s strong warning, “Be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness” (2 Peter 3:17).
There are also many people who become so entrapped by immorality or bound by some other trap that they just can’t seem to be moved or released from this bondage. For instance, a preacher or televangelist may divorce his wife and marry another woman, something that the Bible calls adultery (Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18). But the preacher may be so trapped by this immoral relationship that he refuses to be moved by the Word concerning this particular sin. He would rather cling to his adulteress partner than he would repent and forsake this immoral relationship. And all of this happens in spite of the fact that God will judge the adulterer (Hebrews 13:4) and no adulterer can enter God’s kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
These kinds of people who are living in sin and wedded to false doctrines cannot have their prayers answered. They may try to pray and even assume that God is hearing their prayers but “the Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:18). They wrongly think that God hears and even answers their prayers, but they are deceiving themselves. In reality, “the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD” and “the way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 15:8, 9). Likewise, the prayer of those who deliberately disobey the Lord is an abomination to God! He despises this presumption that thinks God has his eyes closed to their guilt!
It is time that you and I become serious with the Lord. Let’s stop taking His favor for granted and thinking that He doesn’t really care. Indeed, He does care, and instead of loving favor, God responds to deliberate sin with grief (Ephesians 4:30) and anger (Hebrews 10:26-31). Let’s repent of our sins, make restitution for them, forsake them, and receive the loving favor of the Lord. He will once again hear us!