Breaking the Cycle of the Amen Generation
Does saying “Amen” to every prayer translate to answered prayers?
The church of God today
Some people do not know what Christianity is, though they regularly attend church meetings. Indeed, what we call the church today, is a mixed multitude. Some people profess to believe in Jesus Christ, and some truly believe in Jesus Christ, not just by professing Him, but by their lifestyle.
Those who only profess belief in Jesus Christ do not necessarily believe that He is the Saviour of mankind from sin and the Son of God. Instead, they believe that He is a problem-solver. These professing believers believe in Jesus in so far as it has to do with solving their problems. They exhibit faith whenever they want their problems solved. However, when it seems like Jesus is not coming through or is taking longer to solve their problems, they seek another problem-solver.
Jesus is merely a problem-solver for these professing believers, not THE Problem-solver. For them, the most important thing is that their problems are solved. Hence, there are professing believers and true believers in every church meeting. Whereas the professing believer is in a church meeting to solve their problems, the true believer in Christ attends meetings to fellowship with other true believers and grow in their knowledge and love for God.
Christianity is not about having our problems solved
Christianity is living a life that accords with God in His power and by His grace, having confessed Jesus as Saviour and Lord through repentance and the repudiation of sin. You do not attend a church meeting just because you want a problem solved. You attend a church meeting because of the fellowship of the brethren, strengthening each other, and sharing God's grace among one another (Hebrews 10:25).
One critical thing about the problem-solver-seeker crowd is their agility at saying "Amen" to anything that anyone says. These people attend church programmes and expect that whatever problems they have will disappear during or soon after the programme. Thus, when the pastor or preacher says anything regarding that or makes a pronouncement, they shout in unison, "Amen!" And the pastor or preacher uses such pronouncement, proclamation, or "prophetic declaration", as they say, to raise the decibel level of the audience—for that is what they really are—by adding, "The person who says the loudest 'Amen' will get the greatest blessing." And to this, the response is usually a thunderous "Amen!" that can be heard from some distance away.
If these amen-hollering people are told to pray for revival or that the kingdom of God should come on the earth, suddenly, the decibel level drops. In any case, pastors who desire the atmosphere the amen crowd bring, will never do anything to douse the atmosphere. Thus, they do not engage in the serious business of discussing heart-transforming and sin-convicting messages.
The significance of amen
Alas! We are in the age of the "Amen" responders. But 'amen' means "So it is", "So be it", or "May it be fulfilled". It is usually the listeners' response to a sermon or Bible reading, affirming their agreement and willingness to do what is required in Scripture. But saying "Amen" to something somebody has said, particularly when it has nothing to do with Scripture, is not God's way of doing things.
Saying "Amen" means nothing if God did not authorise the statement or does not affirm the "Amen" that was said! Saying "Amen" to a pronouncement that has nothing to do with the will of God means nothing. Shouting "Amen" to a fleshly desire only reveals the selfishness and rebellion in us.
It is one thing to say a prayer and end it with an "Amen"; it is another thing for God to respond to the prayer. If God does not respond to your prayer, your "Amen" means nothing. The Bible tells us that God does not hear the prayers of sinners or husbands who maltreat their wives, neither does He listen to people who hide iniquity in their hearts, nor those who live unholy and ungodly lives. Therefore, saying "Amen" to prayers from someone you know nothing about makes no sense. If you must say "Amen" to anything that is being told to you, let it be the word of God spoken or declared by the authority of the Holy Spirit, who will bear witness with your spirit that it is of God!
A generation that says "Amen"
A generation that says "Amen" is a people who believe that Jesus is for problem-solving only. They gobble up wrong and false doctrine at will. The "Amen" saying generation believes that by giving money to a 'man of God', their problems will be solved, they will be promoted, their businesses will do better, their children will fare better than others, their eternity will be settled, among many other false things.
A generation that says "Amen" holds certain people in such high esteem that they believe that such individuals can never go wrong when such highly esteemed people are as fallible as any human being. A generation that says "Amen" is a generation that is uninterested in a personal relationship with Jesus. All they want is for their problems to be solved, any which way.
A generation that says "Amen" is a generation that is gullible and tossed about by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:11-14). They are easily deceived by people acting as though God is speaking through them when, in fact, He never knew them.
A generation that says "Amen" will birth a generation that will not pray at all! Today, we see that generation: uninterested in prayers but eagerly awaiting the declaration of some person whose spiritual antecedent is unknown. As long as these people hear a prayer being made, they are ready to shout the loudest "Amen". Sadly, none of them takes it to heart that they are being deceived. They also have no relationship with God through salvation occasioned by repentance.
God's desire is our prayer, not saying, "Amen!"
God did not ask us to respond to prayers made by other people. He desires that we pray to Him rather than shout "Amen" to someone else's prayer. He requires that we pray to Him ourselves. Christianity is a personal relationship between God and a saved person, who is continually being sanctified. We engage with God in prayer through our relationship with Jesus. Such prayer is essentially a conversation or, more appropriately, a communion between God and us. God wants to hear us speak to Him directly!
God wants us to always speak to Him about everything, no matter how insignificant it may seem to us. He also wants to talk to us directly, lest we be misled by people claiming to speak for Him, even though He has not spoken to them. Many are peddlers of the gospel and are only interested in your money. These peddlers will make long, high-sounding prayers to make you feel good, but those prayers are empty, for God does not hear them.
Also, God wants to reveal truths to you so that when these peddlers speak, you can identify them as frauds. God does not want you taking your compass for life from anyone but Him. Indeed, if God were to speak to you through another person, it would be to affirm something He has already told you. And peradventure, you are hearing about something for the first time, and the speaker claims that it is from God, you should inquire from God about it, and not swallow it hook-line-and-sinker!
Should we not say "Amen" to prayers?
We are not advocating that we be quiet when people pray, and we are listening. We are saying that mindlessly saying "Amen" is wrong when you cannot verify by spiritual discernment that what is being prayed agrees with the will of God. If you are going to agree with someone's prayer, you would need to have received in your heart that God is affirming that prayer request, and as such, you can then follow up with your "Amen"—so be it; so it is; may it be fulfilled; let it be done!
We need to stem the spread of this amen generation by breaking the cycle of mindlessly saying "Amen". Let us, rather, focus on a personal relationship with God. This intimate relationship requires that we know Him and His voice and can differentiate a word spoken by God from one spoken by men through spiritual discernment.
When Jesus chose the twelve, a major priority was that they might be with Him (Mark 3:13-15). This is still Jesus' objective for calling you—to be with Him here on the earth and in eternity afterwards (John 14:3). Let us make it our goal to know God intimately and reveal Him to people so that they may have fellowship with Him also. God does not want us to communicate with Him through intermediaries. He wants to hear from you directly! Enough of the "Amens" to prayers that do not impact the kingdom of God!