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Devotions > Grading Praying

2 Mar 2013


There was a educational innovation several years ago that was gratefully received by nearly all serious students.   It was appropriately called grading on the curve.    Grading on the curve moved student evaluation from comparison with a fixed unequivocal standard to a flexible moving standard based on the comparison of the student to the balance of their class.    This was wonderful news for students, particular those students who would have received unsatisfactory grades if they were compared to a fixed standard.

Once this innovation was introduced and well settled into our higher education system it began to maliciously migrate into other arenas of our mental appraisals.   This modernism, along with our natural tendency to compare ourselves with the lowest available standard, encouraged a new found stradegy to remedy any area of unfavorable evaluation.   We no longer needed to be concerned with reliably authenticated standards.   We could simply target being better than the average. 

This evaluation innovation has worked so well in so many areas of life we have with little fanfare brought it right into the church.  While this idea of evaluation of self related to our peers seems on the surface to be a sound and sufficient means of appraisal, it lacks the primary credential for being orthodox; it is not approved by God.

God’s standards are not flexibly based on a mathematical average of a particular group of believers.  God calls us each to a higher and inflexible standard:

1 Peter 1:15-16 (AMP)
15 But as the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living.
16 For it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.

If we are to critically consider the matter of concerted prayer we would no doubt be amiss if we were to fail to consider the critical issue of righteousness.

One issue that seems to be somewhat akin to grading on the curve is our innate tendency to emphasize some parts of scripture and skim over others.   We usually focus on those parts that are more user- friendly and shun those parts that make us uncomfortable or seem difficult or impossible to obey.  

God the Holy Spirit did not write the Holy Scripture to be understood or applied on a curve.   The Holy Spirit said what He meant and meant what He said.   Every word is important and must be considered carefully if we are to be obedient to the scriptures and be in a place of power through prayer.

It is my opinion that we have many in our churches today who are hoping that God will grade on the curve.     There is no power in this hope.   No power to avoid sin.   No power to love unconditionally.  No power to reach others for Christ.    The more we in the church buy into the grading on the curve mentality the more powerless the church becomes.

We must not look to others for our standards of righteousness.   We must look to Jesus.   He longs for those who will take Him at His word and seriously seek to obediently follow Him.

Psalms 15:1-5 (NASB95)
1 O LORD, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, And speaks truth in his heart.
3 He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
4 In whose eyes a reprobate is despised, But who honors those who fear the LORD; He swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 He does not put out his money at interest, Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.

In order for power to be prominent in our prayers, we must stand on praying ground.

James 5:16b
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 

Jeff Williams