In this article we will take a Biblical look into the topic of praying for wrong things and 7 the things you should not pray. So, let’s get started…
It’s usually not on what shouldn’t be doing. I personally never thought about what we should not be praying. Then one day I was in the shower thinking about it and trying to think off the top of my head what the Word of God says.
I couldn’t shake it off! I then struck up a conversation with my mom on the topic. That’s when we came up with 7 things below. Now, there are most likely other things we shouldn’t be praying and I might add more once I stumble upon them.
But for now we will just look at 7 of them!
Things You Should Not Be Praying
1. Do Not Pray Like the Pharisees
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. – Matthew 6:5-6
This one is all about motives.
It’s important that when, how, and what we pray comes from a pure and sincere place in our heart. We should never use prayer to flaunt our spiritual prowess!
Our prayer time should be about spending time with God and praying. It’s about relationship and intimacy. It should never be about us looking better than others.
And when we do go to prayer meetings and if we pray out loud we should make sure we stay soft before God and check out heart when needed. Our prayers should never be about drawing attention to ourselves but drawing close to God.
2. Do Not Pray For Judgement or Curse Others
In our anger, pain, or hate we can want God to judge and avenge us. But that does not give us a legal right to curse or pray for judgment on a person, or people. This also includes praying for someone to die.
A prime example is when Jesus rebuked the disciples….
And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. – Luke 9:54-55
And all of Romans 12 is a great read and discusses the stance we should take…
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. – Romans 12:14
It still can be hard when you have been hurt. I know this first hand. But we have to remind ourselves that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. -Ephesians
When we come to God in prayer we should pray for and bless those who hurt us. And remember all vengeance belongs to the Lord (Romans 12:19).
3. Do Not Give God Ultimatums
We are never to manipulate or try to twist God’s arm by giving Him an ultimatum. We are to come to God humbly giving our request. We should never demand God of things to tell Him “If you don’t do this God…I will fill in the gap”
We will go deeper into this in #4 when we see in Ecclesiastes 5:2 to not be rash with our mouth before God.
4. Do Not Make Vows Hastily or Ones You Can’t Keep
2 Do not be rash with your mouth,
And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.
For God is in heaven, and you on earth;
Therefore let your words be few…..4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it;
For He has no pleasure in fools.
Pay what you have vowed—- Ecclesiastes 5:2,4
A vow is a voluntary promise to God to do or not do something. When make a vow we want to be considerate if we can keep it. We should be careful not to make them in haste or make foolish vows. Yes, God will forgive us if we repent. But we should try to be wise and avoid these kinds of mistakes. Jephthah’s story is a classic tale of a foolish promise made to God. (Read It Here: Judges 11)
5. Do Not Pray To Have Someone Else’s Spouse
This may sound a little weird, but I have seen pastors who get random letter from Christian ladies saying things like this…“I know God has called us to be together and that you married the wrong person. I’m praying you leave her and we can finally be together.”
If you’re coveting someone else’s spouse and praying for you to be with them…. that is a sin and you need to repent. Plain and simple. You should pray that someone get divorce or that they leave their spouse.
God’s word is clear…He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) and…
‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Mark 10:7-9
6. Don’t Use Vain Repetitions In Prayer
And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. – Matthew 6:7
Jesus made it very clear that we shouldn’t use repetitive words in our prayers. And to be clear He’s not talking about bringing a request before God multiple times.
What Jesus is talking about is that we should not be chanting or use a mantra (mantra: a repeated word or phrase, prayer or chant). As Christian when we pray we are having a conversation with God.
We are not trying to conjure up something by saying a phrase 1000+ times. This will only open the door to the demonic realm. Steer clear from this
7. Don’t Pray Just Your Will
Throughout the New Testament, we see the prayers of Jesus and the apostles teach us to pray the Lord’s will to be done. We see this in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) and Jesus gives the example of this in His prayer in the garden.
It can be easy to focus on all the things we want in our life and bring these requests before God. But we should also be seeking and praying for the Lord’s will and desire for our lives. This doesn’t mean we don’t give our request before God.
It means we shouldn’t just pray our will. Deep down we should want the Lord’s will over our owns.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. – Matthew 6:33
I hope you have enjoyed this post on things you should not pray and that you learned something new on the topic of prayer.
Feel free to leave me a comment! I would love to hear from you and what the Lord is doing in your life. And for more faith articles check out my Christian Articles.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…