I want all of you reading this to know that today Jennifer and I were blessed with an extraordinary and unexpected gift. We received in the mail a very special letter. On the envelope was printed “Two homes are about to be blessed…Then it must go to another dear friend.” To the right of that was “YOU FIRST!” I could not contain my excitement. What is this miraculous blessing that doth bestow itself upon our humble home? With bated breath I tore open the envelope. What could be in here? A check for $10,000? The answer to all life’s riddles? An all expenses paid vacation for two to Maui? A new puppy? What could it possibly be?!? Oh. It’s a prayer…rug…made out of……..a piece of paper.
But that’s not all. In addition to the handsome “rug”, complete with artist’s rendering of a thorny-crowned Messiah, was a letter of explanation, another letter of prayer rug user testimonials, another letter folded over and sealed, and a return envelope (postage paid). The letter of explanation gave us instructions on what to do with the rug and had a section on the back for filling out prayer requests to send back to Saint Matthew’s Church where this little sacred delight originated. We were to go into a quiet place with no distractions, place the “Holy Ghost, Bible Prayer Rug” (other names included were Faith Church Prayer Rug, Bible Prayer Rug, Church Prayer Rug, Bible Faith, Church, Prayer Rug, and Church Faith Prayer Rug) on the floor and either kneel on it, or place it over both knees. They were very adamant about it “touching both of your knees.” Then after saying our prayers we were to take the rug and place it in a Bible at Philippians 4:19. If we didn’t have a Bible, “it’s OK–just slide it under your side of the bed, for tonight.” First thing the next morning, it instructed us to “get this unusual blessing Church Prayer Rug out of this house and back to” them as soon as possible. We were not to keep the rug for more than 24 hours! We were to write our requests on the letter, or fill in the appropriate provided boxes (My soul, a new car, to stop a bad habit, a better job, etc.) and mail it back as well.
The sealed letter was also very interesting. On the front it said “A sign from the Lord about your future.” Under that it carried this ominous message: Important – Only break open this sealed prophecy after you have put this Church Prayer Rug and your prayer requests back in the mail to this 56-year-old church ministry. If for any reason you are not going to return this Church Prayer Rug, then this sacred prophecy must be destroyed, unopened, and unread, because this is a sacred, spiritual prophecy, sealed word, concerning you and your future. Remember, the Bible says, “Let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6
Now, I happen to be in full agreement with Philippians 4:6. I just don’t think it said in Philippians 4:7 that my requests need to be made while both my knees are touching a computer printout of a Jesus rug. Wait, let me check on that. Nope, didn’t think so.
And that’s the real problem with all of this. I don’t know anything about this Saint Matthew’s Church and this didn’t appear to be an overt appeal for funds. The rug was free after all, though they did want it back. If this is indeed a sincere call for those in need to submit their prayer requests to a willing and loving group of praying friends than fine. The problem is that their well meaning intentions are not rooted in scripture, concerning this prayer rug business. I checked out a little bit the the FAQ on their website and here’s a couple of things I found:
Question: Do I have to have a St Matthew’s Church prayer rug letter to be able to pray to God?
Answer: No. A Saint Matthew’s Church prayer rug letter is simply a tool for inspiration, an encouragement to get you down on your knees and praying to God.
OK, so not a requirement, that’s good, but couldn’t the rug, besides causing detrimental confusion leading to that question, become something of a security blanket, i.e., an idol? I don’t think we’re supposed to have those.
Question: Does St Matthew’s Church encourage prayer rug letter use?
Answer: Yes. Using the Saint Matthew’s Church prayer rug letter can inspire one to pray when they find no motivation elsewhere. St Matthew’s Church believes and teaches that God answers prayers. St Matthew’s Church will never stop preaching this message.
I would never ask SMC to stop preaching that God answers prayer. He does. I’ve seen it in my own life, in my wife’s life, and in the lives of countless others. Hearty agreement there. But please, please, enough with the rugs already. Fifty-six years is long enough. People are being mislead into thinking that if they have a magic carpet to pray on they will be blessed. It smacks of Benny Hinn. You don’t need a rug. God and God alone decides what blessings to bestow and to who He will bestow them. Giving someone a picture of a rug, it’s not even a real rug!, is only masking the greater problem of the fact that we are all sinners and without salvation we’re destined for trouble. You can’t hide that stain with a decorative floor covering. If you’re hurting, if you’re wandering, if you’re lost, if you’re empty inside, turn to Christ not a fake tapestry with “His” face emblazoned on it.
Oh, and I totally opened and read the prophecy.