The “positive vibes” tagline began circulating throughout social media in 2016. The premise behind the “positive vibes” movement is that our lives (and the lives of others) will become better when we reflect positive energy in our lives and onto the people around us.¹ Negative energy is seen to be equated with lower quality of life, while higher energy is the ultimate way to achieve “the good life”.¹
By “sending” positive vibes to other people, we are transferring positive energy into their lives & situations in need of a positive touch.
“Started my morning off with a great cup of coffee; It’s going to be a good Monday! #PositiveVibes”
“I would appreciate all prayers and positive vibes sent my way today!”
“I am sending you positive vibes we as speak, good feelings to you sister!”
If we can’t muster up the positive energy by our own strength, or somehow attain it from other people, we won’t ever reach the “good life”, whatever that may mean.
Biblical prayer, on the other hand, can be defined as “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.”
The word “solemn” used here is an adjective meaning formal and dignified, earnest, genuine, firm, and with deepest sincerity. To be solemn is to approach God with awe & reverence + expectation that he will act in accordance to his good, pleasing, & perfect will.²
Prayer is based off of the premise that “we can’t” but that “God can”. It allows us to enter into a conversation with the creator of the universe. It grants us access to every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm, weapons to guard our hearts and minds that are radically powerful.
I am struggling to say what I know to be true as nicely as possible….but then again the gospel is offensive. Here we go:
I take issue with the belief that prayer and positive vibes/positive thinking have the same power & influence in this world…I’m not saying that you can’t be a prayer warrior + positive thinker; I am saying that we alone cannot generate enough “positivity” or “good vibes” to save ourselves or other people. Only by abiding in Jesus can that joy be produced in us.³
Positive vibes encourage us to change the way we think by our own ability & strength, or that of other people. Prayer encourages us to come before the throne of God just as we are, & to present our requests to Him. It reaches into the realm of heaven & asks God to do something that isn’t possible for us to do. The results of prayer don’t depend on us, they depend on God. Prayer allows for anger, frustration, anxiety, depression, addiction, & doubt; it doesn’t only accept happiness & positivity. God doesn’t expect us to produce positive vibes in our hearts & minds. It is only through a relationship with Him that our hard, stony hearts can be replaced by a soft, responsive one. But even then, God actually warns us by saying that our hearts are deceitful & wicked, & cannot be trusted apart from the guidance of the Holy Spirit & Jesus in us.
I am not mentally strong enough to put on a smile 24/7 & push through life generating my own positive energy.
I don’t trust my heart…it fails me on a daily basis; it leads me astray. It’s often irrational, driven by emotion, and is subject to pain, sadness, & brokenness on a daily basis.
My heart needs the truth and direction of the Holy Spirit, through the channel of prayer.
Do not be deceived: As catchy, feel-good, & #Hashtag worthy as the “positive vibes” tagline may be, they are absolutely nothing compared to the power of the Holy Spirit living in us.
Why settle for “positive vibes” when we have a direct communication channel with God? Why settle by placing our trust in some abstract, concept that resurfaced a couple of years ago instead of the word & truth that is a lamp to our feet & light on our path? Why put our trust in something man-made rather than God-ordained? Why take the risk?
Positive vibes don’t have the power to heal the sick & bring the dead back to life. They don’t heal cancer or brain tumors. They can’t comfort a mother who just lost a child to a miscarriage.
Positive vibes don’t have the ability to fix broken marriages, break addictions, or tear down strongholds.
Positive vibes cannot simply lift us out of anxiety & depression.
Only prayer can do these things. Only God can do these things.
What does the bible say about prayer? How does God’s power compare?
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)
“In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 56:4)
“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” (Psalm 119:114)
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11)
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.Who are we trusting in today?” (Ephesians 6:18)
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
“He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea.” (Psalm 102:17)
“In the same way, the spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the spirit himself intercedes for us with wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26)
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
May our eyes be opened to the power of prayer for the renewing of our minds, restoring of our souls, & provision of our greatest needs.
- Nicole Bethune. “Positive Mind, Positive Vibes, Positive Life.” Pitaiyo. N.p., 03 Dec. 2016. Web. 15 May 2017.
- Romans 12:2
- John 15:14