“Name It and Claim It” Prayer Promises Are Not for Today
It seems that daily the idea of doing something to get a blessing from God appears on Facebook and in other social media.
Some claim this often-misused verse taken out of context to supposedly justify the idea of ‘name it and claim it’ – which is the concept of ‘Doing this or that to earn God’s favor’ or ‘Praying to Get the Blessing That YOU Want.’
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above All That We Ask or Think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20)
What then should we make of this verse? Is it really a promise that God will bless us beyond our wildest dreams… if we do something or pray for this or that?
Obviously, we should not take any verse out of its near and remote context within the Bible. So, we must look at Eph 3:20 in the context of the entire chapter. Note that the emphasis is always inner man... not external superficial blessings.
“16That he [God] would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit IN The INNER Man; 17 That Christ may dwell IN your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend [INwardly] with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know [INwardly] the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled [INwardly in your your] with all the fulness of God. 20Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above All That We Ask or Think, according to the power that worketh IN US” (Ephesians 3:20)
I don’t see anything about external blessing in these verses. These refer to blessings of the heart, that is of the soul and spirit… where we can have “joy unspeakable [indescribable]”
Yet, the TV ‘Prosperity preachers’ have taken Eph. 3:20 to erroneously teach that we can ask for External Material and Financial Blessings and Father God will give us even more than we could have even imagined. Some say He will give us more physical healing than we have ever dreamed of receiving. It is falsely claimed that God will give us more earthly blessings and riches than we could have ever thought of asking Him for.
Is this how our Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, intended that we should view his writing Ephesians 3:20?
As you will see, God’s work of the Cross of Christ is finishes - He has done ALL. What remains is the ongoing inner work of God - working in us [renewing our souls] and through us in expressing Christ’s indwelling life.
First, the self-serving prayer ideas for material and financial blessings as seen above are shallow, focusing merely on the external things of this life. These ideas are contrary to God’s word as seen in Paul’s “gospel of the grace of God.” which is about the good news of salvation through “faith in Jesus Christ,” and our confident expectation of eternal life at the Rapture to co-reign with Christ “eternal in the heavens” (2Tim. 2:12, 2Cor 5:1b).
Sadly, so many professing Christians today lack Biblical understanding in these and other matters. Christians should diligently “search the scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11) comparing “the word of truth” to what they hear from false TV and Pulpit Teachers. Their false words are usually mixed with some truth, but not God's Word “righty divided” … ‘in context.’ Remember too, it’s not only what false teachers say, but what they leave out.
Some, the likes of Joel Osteen, almost never warn people about the affect so sin, fleshly living, the coming judgments, such as believers should hear in the context of the Cross, His grace and call to maturity in Christ, and certainly not the possibility of “everlasting destruction” for unbelievers as Paul taught. They say they preach ‘love’ but real ‘love’ doesn’t give people what they want… real love includes preaching the truth, warnings men of the dangers of rejecting God’s grace. “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:” (Colossians 1:28 (KJV)
Many preachers seem to only want to present ‘God’s love’ along with their people-centered talk ‘prosperity gospel.’ These are those who God would call “SMOOTH” TALKERS – they aren’t at all preaching Paul’s gospel of Christ Crucified and coming again. Note how God sent Isaiah to warn Israel who was always rejecting the prophets that God sent them.
“Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: 9 That this is a rebellious people [Israel], lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:
10 Which say to the seers [the perceptive observers], See NOT; and to the prophets, Prophesy NOT unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: 11 Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.” (Isaiah 30:8-11 (KJV)
By contrast Paul wrote;
“Wherefore Be Ye Not Unwise, But Understanding what the Will of The Lord is.” (Eph. 5:17)
Many Christians, particularly Pentecostal/Charismatics and Catholics are superstitious in their practice and most shallow in their understanding. This lack of understanding will be most dangerous when Satan’s and Antichrist’s lying spirit are most active in the Tribulation period – deceiving them. They’re not thinking clearly because Satan’s evil world religious system has corrupted their understanding through the tradition of religion. Some of the most ridiculous so-called Christian beliefs and behaviors can be found in the realm of prayer, asking for blessings. They grab prayer promises that were only given to Israel, that do NOT apply to us today. They have no regard for contextual Bible Study.
They misuse verses ignoring CONTEXT. They often mistakenly claim these verses and blessings. I myself mistakenly used these verses at one time long ago. But all these below apply to Israel ONLY, NOT to us grace-age believers of “the body of Christ” today..
- Isa. 53:5-10, regarding being healed ‘by His stripes’ – TRUTH, we are healed of our sins.
- Isa 45:11, concerning the work of my hands command ye me.” – TRUTH, we do His will Philippians 2:13.
- Matt. 6:9-13, the so-called Lord’s prayer – TRUTH, its Israel’s prayer for the Tribulation
- 1Jn. 5:15, pray and get whatever you want – TRUTH, we get only what God wants for us.
- Jas. 5:14, oil anointing for healing – TRUTH – the time of healing coming through men is past
- 2Chron. 7:14, a prayer for the USA – TRUTH – the nation and land here is Israel
- Matt. 18:18-20, ‘loosing and binding’ by prayer - TRUTH, again, Israel only, through Jesus’ disciples
Many assume they’re safe praying these things so long as any Bible verse even partly resembles their agenda and endorses their petition. They substantially add to and take way from God’s precious written words.
First. we are saved NOT by our works but by God’s grace by faith in Christ’s Cross-work alone. If you receive a gift, does that mean you worked for it? NO! A gift is Free.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 (KJV)
Paul then tells us we have already been “blessed with ALL spiritual blessings in Christ.” (Eph 1:3). Paul says Christ who is our sufficiency is our ALL and there is nothing more that He can or will give us. Live or die He has equipped us to endure this life on earth.
“There hath no temptation [trial] taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 (KJV)
To get a better understanding let’s consider what the Holy Spirit laid out for us through Paul in Eph. 2 and 3 leading up to our text of Eph. 3:20, then the matter becomes clarified with absolute rationality! This below was our condition prior to coming to faith in Jesus Christ.
“you hath he quickened [made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3Among whom also we all had our conversation (lived) in times past in the lusts (desire) of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath.”
Before we received Christ, we were “dead in our trespasses and sins.” We were following Satan’s evil world system, while spiritually dead “in Adam.” behaving like the sinners that we were. We deserved only God’s “wrath.”
However, Paul presents us with the glorious gospel of grace, beginning here below with the words “BUT GOD, who is rich in mercy …”!
“4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened (enlivened) us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6And hath raised us up together, and ‘made us sit together in ‘heavenly places’ in Christ Jesus:
7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”