Candidly, I distinctly remember God speaking to me about this concept in the early 2000s and the ORT/1Church1Day prayer strategy incorporates that revelation. In the strategy continual prayer, praise and worship seats the courtroom of heaven so you can come and plead your case and await to hear God's decision. Now, back to the purpose of this article.
As I recall, they said something to the effect that there was a fee and that it just did not seem right to them. They were uncomfortable with it as it seemed like they were charging for prayer. It seemed like "pay to pray."
When they asked me about it I had to qualify my answer because I did not have time to address this subject and cover all the bases. You see, I was hearing things second hand and I did not have all of the information. I did not know the motive of the ministers nor how things were actually being handled. But I can tell you the way it was presented did not sound good to me either.
It caused me to remember prosperity ministers who would use manipulation and violate trust in order to get more for themselves kind of like Eli's sons did in 1 Samuel 2:38-30. Eli's sons took the very best for themselves. Their greed defiled the altar. Greed is typically accompanied by compromise and manipulation. Why Paul even warns in 1 Timothy 6:5 that in the last days corrupt men would seek to use godliness as a means of gain. But let me be clear, I do not know if that was the motive of the ministers offering the service. It was the statement of "pay to pray" that inspired that the thought. (Click here for Purifying the Altar. This book impacted my thoughts about the minister's responsibilities years ago.)
The Bible is also clear that the the giver has responsibilities as well. It is possible for the worshiper to have wrong motives and which is manifested when they try to use their offering to manipulate God or the ministry. It's one thing to appeal to God's covenant exercising your faith but it is quite another to resort to a formula devoid of relationship with God. This often descends into a form of witchcraft if left unchecked over time. Galatians 5:9 teaches us that faith works by love while James 2:20 teaches us that faith without works is dead.
Why we had a donor just weeks ago attempt to do that very thing. They thought the could use their large offering they gave months before as leverage to manipulate our ministry into compromise. Here's the truth.
Do you know what KLI did? Why we gave the offering back with a stern warning to never ever do that again. It was a defiled offering which could lead to a defiled altar had we allowed it to lead us to compromise.
The reason I am focusing on offerings and worship is because I have found this to be one of the consistent keys to answered prayer. It has to do with honor and covenant. You see, God is seeking those who will worship Him "in spirit and in truth."
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Our adversary the devil seeks to make people sin. People includes the ministers who are responsible for the altar and everyone else. Satan seeks weaknesses to exploit. Sin literally means to miss the mark. I don't care if you go to far to the right, or to far to the left, or to low or to high these all miss the mark. The goal is to hit the bullseye.
Personally, I like to use the term "hit the mark." God's word is my standard and defines the mark. In my worldview, the Creator of the Universe designed all natural and spiritual laws. The Bible is like the manufacturer's warranty and owner operators manual. It describes how things work and what will happen if I operate life within the parameters of the Creator's design and what the consequences are of operating outside of designed parameters.
Candidly, I have found that tithes, offerings, first-fruits and alms speak to the four basic types of giving in the Bible. These are signs of a people keeping covenant with God. With each form of giving you will find God gives the worshiper a covenant promise to go with it. The reason I share this is because I've discovered that when handled rightly, these are some of the important keys to answered prayer which I've observed over the last twenty seven years in ministry.
Here are the challenges we face: imperfect people, ignorance, mis-understandings, demonic influence.... and the list goes on. Our goal is to hit the mark.