Substitution is a person or thing acting or serving in place of another. It is, to put (a person or thing) in the place of another. To be more precise, it is to take the place of or replace something with another. In Christianity today, an unholy substitution has taken place. I am not sure exactly why we do it. Could it be due to ignorance or wilful disrespect for God and His ways? Only God knows. To be direct, we have substituted obedience with prayer. We even have ministries built around prayer and deliverance today. We are always praying. We pray in various forms and shapes. There is Silent prayer and violent prayer. We pray in the Spirit and with our understanding. We fast, we shout, we roll on the floor, we shake vigorously and in some cases we hurt ourselves. We do all these and yet we are not healed. Folks if we think that by all this prayer gymnastics the devil will be intimidated or God will be forced to answer our prayers by fire and by force, we are only kidding ourselves.
The way I react to some calls for prayer would make some people think I am not a Christian. A nation is lawless, corrupt, the citizens are lazy and indolent and worship thieves as a result of which there is abject poverty and frustration and people come around to say “bother let us pray.” I refuse to go to certain popular and routine prayer meetings, knowing that we are only going to waste our time. You can shout all you want all night but that would not change the way God thinks nor will it alter His priorities. Folks, God does not answer sinners Period! God does not give His children’s food to dogs. Check your Scriptures.
You pause and ponder for a while. The apostles prayed and prison gates were opened, cripples walked, blind eyes were opened, the dead were raised. Today we pray, and nothing is happening. Why is this so? Has God changed? No. Is His hand too short that it cannot save? No. Is His ear too heavy, that it cannot hear? No. We are our own worst enemies. We have replaced Obedience with Prayer and it will not work. There is a place for prayer. There is a place for obedience. And most certainly there is an order of things. That order is this- Obey first then you can pray. There is a priority, obedience is better than sacrifice. Reverse this order and nothing will work. It is that simple.
The way we conduct ourselves sometimes defy logic. How many parents would have children cry, shout and beg for what is the father’s obligation to provide? And if we who are wicked can be this magnanimous, well, you can bet your life for this, God who is holy is even far more eager to help us. He said “for my name's sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off”. He is ready to bless us, and to answer all our petitions. But it would be in His order of things- obedience first. Which is why He said in Isaiah 58: 10 -11 “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted?
He said “ Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last” In Isaiah 48 : 18 & 19 He laments “ O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea: Thy seed also had been as the sand, and the offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof; his name should not have been cut off nor destroyed from before me”
That is the truth right there. Folks, it is “seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33). It is if “ you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land”.
We have turned the House of God into a den of robbers, a house of fashion and into comedy theatres. Mind control and witchcraft are the order of the day in our services. There is too much artificiality, routineness, copycats and drama. And we think God will change His mind? It will not happen.
If you want God to answer your prayers, you must make up your mind from today to start obeying Him. Not your pastor or whatever names, titles and appellations they may have to their names. Substituting obedience with prayer is an adventure doomed to fail. You cannot fast your way around it. You cannot spend your resources around it. There is no short cut. You must obey. How simple can this be? When we suffer and we are in poverty, it is God’s name that is polluted. God is ready to deploy all the resources of heaven for our good, but we must first obey Him.