This has been going on for years apparently. People get in the mail a small prayer rug with a picture of “JESUS’S” FACE with a crown of thorns and are told to kneel on it or spread it over their knees to receive answer to their prayer for money, health, etc. The address on the package is St. Matthew’s Churches PO Box 21210 Tulsa, OK 74121. This is one of several ways this organization sends information out to people. Below is an article about them from Wikipedia and links to other sites posting information on them and a link to them as well.
I would remind any believer in JESUS/YESHUA that an image of HIM is not allowed in Scripture per the second of the 10 commandments Exodus/Sh’mot 20:4“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Any picture or statue or image purported to be of HIM is an idol or false god because HE does not look like that and it is not HIM so it is not worship of HIM. I repented of bowing down to and praying to statues and images such as these when my eyes were opened to the Truth because it breaks the first commandment Exodus/Sh’mot 20:3“You shall have no other gods before Me. This is how we know that the shroud of Turin is not true because it goes against the second commandment. I do not believe GOD/ELOHIM would allow it to exist if it were true because it goes against HIS direct command. I did a study on verses that show what HE looks like and can be found at this link:
I would also like to add that prayer rugs have nothing to do with the GOD/ELOHIM of Abraham/Avraham, Isaac/Yitzchak, and Jacob/Ya’akov but they are used by Isaac’s brother Ishmael’s descendants who are Muslim. Please know which GOD/ELOHIM you are serving and how HE is worshiped and how HE is not worshiped!
St. Matthew’s Churches
St. Matthew’s Churches, formerly St. Matthew Publishing Inc., is an evangelical Christian ministry. It is primarily a mail-based ministry with an address in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with churches in New York and Houston. In 1999 St. Matthew Publishing Inc. reported $26.8 million in revenue. In 2007, it reportedly earned $6 million a month.
The ministry is led by its founder James Eugene “Gene” Ewing, a former tent minister, who, according to the Trinity Foundation, lives in Beverly Hills, California. Ewing, a native of Kaufman, Texas, was born in 1933 and has written fundraising letters for other evangelists, including Oral Roberts as well as Don Stewart, WV Grant, and Rex Humbard.
Ewing operates Church by Mail Inc., which had a several decade long struggle with the IRS before being denied tax-exemption in 1992, which was appealed. Ewing was a revivalist in the 1960s with revenue at $2 million. He then began writing fundraising letters for Oral Roberts. By 1971 Ewing renamed organization Church of Compassion as a “mail-order church with half a million ‘members'” with income exceeding $3 million. In 1979 he started for-profit advertising and printing “to provide printing and mailing services to nonprofit religious groups.” Then in 1980 his business Church by Mail applied for tax-exemption. However, by the 1990s his businesses owed back taxes to state and federal agencies. Nonetheless, in 1993 he bought a $2.2 million, 6,400-square-foot (590 m2) home above Beverly Hills. Subsequently, a year later the U.S. Tax Court ruled Church by Mail Inc. is “operated for private rather than public interests” and “is not a church” within the meaning of federal tax laws.
Operations and fundraising
The ministry has been accused of preying on low-income and elderly people by using census records to target their mailings.
Although for several years the ministry operated without a church building and conducted its direct mail donation operation through the Tulsa address, a physical location to hold services—a then-78-year-old Baptist church in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood—was purchased in Houston in 2004. St. Matthew’s Churches’ lawyer says weekly services draw about 1,000 people. According to the Trinity Foundation, an evangelical watchdog group, the physical churches are only associated with the mail-based ministry as a cover that allows the lucrative operation to retain tax-exempt church status. The status was granted by the Internal Revenue Service in 2000 after a 17-year court battle.
One of the organization’s mailings consists of a paper “prayer rug”, on which recipients were encouraged to kneel and pray. This mailing, along with others, have been mentioned by the Attorney General of the State of Arkansas, among others, as not providing information about their financial and fundraising practices. While the ministry does hold tax exemption status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, it has been the subject of numerous complaints to the Better Business Bureau, whose evaluation conclusion was that the organization did not meet two standards for Charity Accountability.
- “Reaping from faith: Lucrative ‘seed faith’ mail ministry has Tulsa ties”. Tulsa World. April 27, 2003. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
- Bransetter, Zita (2007-05-13). “Prayers, cash flow into Tulsa”. Tulsa World.
- Salinger, Lawrence M. Encyclopedia of White-collar & Corporate Crime. p. 681.
- Malisow, Craig (2007-03-22). “Christians send in money for prayer requests which may just go up in smoke”. Houston Press.
- Swindle, Howard (March 10, 1996). “Mailbox ministry: Direct-market evangelist brings in millions lawyer says it all goes back into his mission”. Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
- Klimkiewicz, Joann (2006-05-31). “Watchdog group claims prayer rug preys on elderly”. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2013-08-22.
- Trinity Foundation. Prayer rug to riches
- McDaniel, Dustin (2007-05-25). “Prayer Rug Pitch Wears Thin”. State of Arkansas.
- State of South Carolina. Fraud Alert Task Force. Published March 21, 2005.
- Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide – St. Matthew’s Churches. Published April 2004.
http://www.modemac.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl/St_Matthews_Churches [see below]
A letter from Ewing may include a paper facsimile of a “prayer rug,” similar to the prayer rugs used by Muslims. The accompanying letter with the “rug” may say something like this:
- Notice the face of Jesus on this Church Prayer Rug. When you first look, you will notice that His eyes are closed. If you relax and continue looking straight into His eyes, you will see His eyes slowly opening, and He will begin looking back at you. Jesus sees your needs (Phillans 4:19)…go and be alone and kneel on this Rug of Faith or touch it to both knees. Then please check your needs on our letter to you. Please return this Prayer Rug. Do not keep it…these next 24 important hours are crucial to you. Timing is important to God. After you kneel on this Church Prayer Rug, or place it over your knees, place it in a Bible, on Philippians, 4:19. If you don’t have a Bible, it’s okay, just slide it under your side of your bed, for tonight only if you can. Leave It There No Longer Than Tonight Only. God sees.