I recently published a post on why gossip – at its most basic level, spreading information about others – hurts the church. In that post, I noted how gossips tend to cloak their information in a “prayer request,” so they might seem at first to be a great prayer warrior. Here, though, are some ways to differentiate between a true prayer warrior and a gossip:
- Prayer warriors don’t need every detail; gossips do. Warriors pray with whatever information they’re given, knowing God knows the full story. Gossips want every tidbit of data, lest they not know everything.
- Prayer warriors grieve over prayer concerns; gossips feign grief and internally rejoice because they’re “in the know.” While some weep over tough situations, others delight when they can be purveyors of information few other people know.
- Prayer warriors actually pray over the concerns; gossips only say they do. Just because a gossip shares a “prayer concern” is no reason to believe that he or she spends time talking to God. It’s hard to find time to talk to God when you’re talking to everybody else.
- Prayer warriors pray immediately; gossips immediately begin thinking about others to tell. Warriors hit their knees when they hear a concern. Gossips hit the telephone or the “send” button.
- Prayer warriors long for healing, reconciliation, and recommitment; gossips long to hear more. The first group pleads with God to work miracles in the lives of others. The second group just wants to know more about the lives of others.
- Prayer warriors live in the present and future; gossips hold on to the past. Warriors pray today, believing God is going to do something mighty today or tomorrow. Gossips stay in everybody else’s past because they lose their power if yesterday’s story ever dies.
- Prayer warriors are humbled by their own sin; gossips delight in somebody else’s sin. In fact, gossips refuse to see that their own chatterbox actions are nothing less than sin.
- Prayer warriors rejoice when God answers their prayers; gossips put their ear back to the ground to catch the next story. While one group celebrates God’s hand, the other listens for the devil’s victories.
- Others trust prayer warriors; few people trust a gossip. In fact, the only people who trust gossips are those who haven’t yet learned their reputation, or those who are themselves gossips. Gossips deceive themselves into thinking no one else knows what they are.
What other ways would you add to this list?