Prayer and The 700 Club – Some Observations and Suggestions
There’s this Christian TV show called “The 700 Club” that comes on Monday through Friday. During the show, the male and female host usually pray for people in the viewing audience, but most often for particular people, not just people in general.
The hosts of this television show will claim that God is speaking to them and telling them who to pray for.
For example, the lady host might say something like,
“There is someone in the audience named Britney. Britney, you have jaw problems. You find it painful to chew your food. I want you to know that God is healing that for you right now, in Jesus’ name!!”
Usually, the male host on the show is Pat Robertson, but sometimes, his son, Gordon is the male host. The female host is either a lady named Terri or a woman named Wendy.
In all my years of watching this show – which has been daily for over ten years – I’ve noticed a few things.
One minor thing I’ve noticed is that whenever Pat mentions a name, it almost always starts with the letter “M.”
For example, Robertson will say,
“There is someone named Mary in the audience who has been praying for a healing…”
Or, the name might be “Marie,” “Marge” or “Margaret.”
Does God have a secret preference for people with names that start with the letter “M” or something?
MOST OFTEN ABOUT PHYSICAL HEALTH OR FINANCIAL PROBLEMS
On a more serious note, it bothers me that about 99% of the time, when the hosts address issues during their prayer time, it’s usually about physical sickness, and if Pat Robertson is the male host, sometimes finances will be mentioned.
Rarely do the hosts address problems people have that do NOT pertain to physical health or finances.
You will sometimes hear Pat say something like,
“There’s a man in the audience who is having financial problems. You are desperate for $150,000. I want you to know that God is answering that prayer right now! You will have your money!”
If I had a nickel for every time the hosts called out physical problems – cancer, sore jaws, damaged feet, locked shoulders, bad backs, etc – I would be more wealthy than Bill Gates.
Well, okay. What about all the hurting people in the audience who are struggling with problems that have nothing (or little) to do with finances or physical health?
Let me use me as an example: I’ve been single a long time now, and I’m tired of being single. I’d like a spouse.
Periodically, The 700 Club show does get letters of advice from women (and occasionally men) saying they are single, lonely, have prayed for a spouse, but God has not sent them a spouse, and they ask the show hosts, why is God not sending them a spouse?
Even the co-host on the show, Wendy, has said several times over the last few years on that show that she is single and would like to marry.
PRAYERS FOR ALL, NOT JUST SPECIFIC AUDIENCE MEMBERS
So, why don’t Pat, Gordon, Wendy, and Terri do a general prayer once in a while, where they say,
“And Lord, for all the singles out there who’d like a spouse, please send them one very soon!”
Does every prayer they do HAVE to be in regards to ONE specific person, such as,
“Lord, I feel you telling me there is a woman out there named Betty, who has red hair, a freckle on her left arm, her favorite band is “Oasis,” she hates carrots, and she wants a husband. Please send Betty a spouse.”
I mean, that is pretty danged specific.
What about all the women out there who are in the same situation as Betty but their first names are not Betty, and they don’t hate carrots, their favorite band is not Oasis, and they don’t have red hair? They don’t get a prayer too?
Why only pray this in regards to Betty? Why not, there again, say, “Lord, for all the singles out there who’d like to marry, please send them a spouse now.”
MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
What about mental health problems?
Many Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, clinical depression, and other things like that.
Why don’t they ever pray, “Lord, for anyone out there who is suffering from mental health problems – fear, depression, whatever – please heal them.”
To be fair about it, I have heard the hosts praying for audience members to be released from fear more over the last 3 or 4 years.
They will sometimes say,
“Lord, I sense a lot of audience members are dealing with fear. Please bring them peace.”
But still, the majority of the prayers they do revolve around physical or financial problems.
What about people who are having marriage problems?
Maybe a woman in the viewing audience is married, but her husband isn’t meeting her emotional needs, so she feels lonely? (According to Pat Robertson’s insensitive views, women who are in this situation (Link): are unrealistic and should just shut up.)
Why don’t the hosts pray and ask God to restore such marriages?
How about employed people who are stuck in jobs where they are being harassed at a job by a boss, and they cannot leave that job to get to another one because there are no job openings where they live?
How about praying and asking God to deliver any members in the viewing audience who may have drug, porn, or alcohol addictions?
Frequently this show features interviews with people who have, say, alcohol addictions, but I never see the hosts saying during their prayer time:
“God, in the name of Jesus, please heal anyone listening to this of alcohol addiction”
ONLY THE SELF-EMPLOYED
On a somewhat related note, I’ve noticed that any time the folks of The 700 Club try to convince people to send their show a weekly or monthly tithe (financial gift), they will feature interviews with people who are in financial straits, but who recovered from it when they started sending regular amounts of tithes to the show.
Every time I’ve seen an individual or married couple to whom this applies, it’s always a person or couple who own their own business, or they work as a sales person (so their income goes up if they sell more).
It’s always something like a woman who works as a real estate agent, a man who owns his own construction company, etc.
I’ve never seen a person on their show who works for a company.
I’ve yet to see a testimony where the person works a standard “9 to 5” job at an office at a corporation somewhere, or one where the person works a part time job as a cashier at Kroger’s.
Are the folks at The 700 Club suggesting that God cannot or does not help people who work for companies? Do you have to be self-employed before their principles will work? That is what they imply.
NOT EVERYONE IS IN NEED OF FINANCIAL OR PHYSICAL HEALING
At any rate, it bothers me how the show primarily focuses on PHYSICAL problems (and sometimes financial problems), when a lot of people out there, including me, had (or still have) mental health problems or relationship problems.
There are lonely people out there (even married ones) who would dearly love companionship in the form of platonic friendship. Why don’t Pat, Gordon, or Terri, ever implore God to send friends to those people?
Why not make blanket prayers petitioning God to send people friends, heal their broken heart after their pet dog or cat dies, or restore a relationship where the person is estranged from a sibling or other family member?
And again, there are many single adults out there who’d like to be married – why not toss out the occasional, “God, provide a spouse for every single who’d like one” prayer?
Not every problem a person faces in life has to do with physical health.
I am astounded at how the show hosts fixate on medical issues on the show – heart defects, cancer, sore jaws, bad backs, sore feet – but seldom do they address subjects such as depression, loneliness, family estrangement, workplace harassment and so on.
(Link): Christian Host Pat Robertson Tells Christian Woman Who Married Christian Man Who Turned Out to Be Totally Unethical That She has Discernment of a Slug – Single Women: toss Be Equally Yoked teaching in the trash can