Prayer Chains certainly can turn into Gossip Chains. The same can be true of prayer groups or prayer partners.How critical it is that we seek to put a end to the gossip and better yet, prevent it. In this post we will look at the effects of gossip on these prayer efforts. In the next post we will consider ways to prevent gossip from infiltrating them.
Begin by understanding the serious nature of gossip:
- Gossip is a cancerous condition, eating away at you from the inside out. “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” (Prov. 18:8)
- Gossip is a break in integrity. “A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” (Prov. 11:13)
- Gossip is a symptom of a depraved mind out of fellowship with God (Rom. 1:28-32). When we gossip, we are giving in to the old sin nature.
- Gossip is a divisive activity. “A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.” (Prov. 16:28) If we are going to follow the teaching of Ephesians 4:3, to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” then we cannot gossip.
- Gossip is a violation of love. When we gossip it is like we are secretly slandering a person. This is not the loving thing to do for “love does no harm to its neighbor” (Rom. 13:10).
- Gossip is a tool in the devil’s hand. Gossip follows after the ways of Satan who is called an “accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10). The word “devil” means prone to slander, slanderous. Remember the warning in Ephesians 4:27, “Do not give the devil a foothold.”
You can then see the negative effects on prayer when you consider that:
Gossip is a sin issue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. (Ps. 66:18)
If anyone turns a deaf ear to the law, even his prayers are detestable. (Prov. 28:9)
Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. (Isa. 59:1-2)
Gossip is a character issue.
The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him. (Prov. 15:8)
The LORD is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous. (Prov. 15:29)
I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer (1 Tim. 2:8)
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)
Gossip is a contagion.
Joshua 7 relates the story of how one person’s sin brought judgment on the whole camp. Though the sin was not gossip, the principle applies because sin is sin.
Once you understand the serious nature of gossip, then you can see the negative effects it could have on prayer efforts like a prayer chain.
1) God will not be pleased.
2) God could turn a deaf ear to our prayers.
If you are aware of gossip infiltrating the prayer chain, then you need to follow biblical principles in confronting people:
Matt. 18:15 – Start by talking with offenders privately.
Gal. 6:1 – Approach people with the right heart attitude.
Eph. 4:15 – Speak the truth but do so in love.
As a coordinator of a prayer chain, you will not be able to control what everyone does. You will not always be aware of gossip through the prayer chain. One of your roles, therefore, is to help others on the prayer chain realize their responsibility in keeping the chain pure. If someone starts to gossip, they should be encouraged to lovingly confront it. Remind them of verses like the following:
Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. (1 Tim. 5:22)
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. (Eph. 5:11)
Prayer chains and other strategies of helping the body pray for one another must line up with the holy nature of God. Deal with contagions like gossip. Better yet, seek to prevent gossip by the way you develop these prayer efforts. That will be the topic of the next post. Subscribe to receive e-mail notice of new posts.