Friday, 5 June 2009

Thoughts on Prayer

14 Sivan 32/40

Different people have provided several definitions of prayer, but there are two things that stands out in defining what a prayer is. These are 1.) asking a favour; earnest request or entreaty (supplication, intercession, petition) and 2.) confession, thanksgiving and praising.

Prayer directed to God will fall into any of the these categories. Many believers do not know any longer the essence of prayer. They have asked "if God knows everything, then there is no need to pray, since prayer would not change anything in God." We need to clarify this statement in few steps. Yes, it is true God knows everything. But does this mean that what God knows should not be acted on, just because He knows it? God knew how Abraham was going to react to His demand for his son Issac, but that did not mean Abraham should not have acted on it, and later for God to intervene. What God knew about Abraham became obvious to Abraham himself, and later became a good example of faith in God. God created us in order to have fellowship with us, but through the activities of one of His creatures we fell into sin, and trangress against His very nature of love. One of the attributes of this fellowship with God is prayer in the forms defined previously. Majority of His creation are making prayers, and that whether wrongly or rightly, whether to a false god or to Him, the only True God - the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the characteristics of Satan, a false god - a fallen archangel - is to make accusations or wrong prayers against those who are walking with and living their lives in God. That is why Satan is the Accuser (Job 1:6-2:13; Zech.3:1-3; Rev.12:10). Now, accusations may be positive or negative, but it seems that in the current era the word carries a negative tune. If someone accuses me for wrongdoing when I have actually done it, then s/he is simply stating a fact, to be either repented of or judged for. What is not true is a false accusation - accusing someone for something not done. False accusation might also be to make a case against someone, not for what they have or not done, or charging them with crimes. It may be simply due to pathological hatred or like when we talk against a particular race thinking that ours is better, if not far better. How often we fall into all this! To do all this, we sometimes first break the 9th and 10th commandments, thus making ourselves become accusers like Satan.

Ex 20:16 You shall not answer against your associate with false testimony. 17 You shall not covet the house of your associate. You shall not covet the wife of your associate, his field, his servant or his maidservant, his bull, his donkey or anything which is your associate's.

There was a case when a brother sinned against another, and instead of going to the brother that sinned the case was reported to a pastor, who decided what should happen. This self-appointed pastor, having not the Spirit, made matters worse by various complications, so that the brother wronged was angry about the outcome. Does this sound familiar? This is very common in most churches that have deemed self-appointed pastors to be God-assistants, if not gods. No openness is allowed again in most churches that should rather be called amusement parks. We have no obligation to any pastor if there is a grudge between two brothers. Concerned brothers should amend things with themselves. If and when no agreement is reached should they proceed by inviting a witness. This witness does not need to be a pastor. Any committed brother would do.

Back to the main. We are not to be false accusers of our brothers or other people. I have heard people pretending to pray, and they were full of what other people are doing wrongly which they have not told those people before. Instead they have brought the matter before the Lord in prayer. While this could not be said to be prayer, it is rather gossip or backbiting in prayer form. The best thing for the people who have wronged you is to know that they have done so. This is why we have been told to "snatch people out of the fire." Prayer is when I am interceding on behalf of someone for their repentance and salvation, not what bad things they are doing. We are not to partake in railing accusations or discussions partaining to other people's sins. Or else we partake with the Devil of his accusations.

The real thing about prayer is that since Satan accuses us before the throne of God (Rev.12:10), we should rather raise up our voices in thanksgiving, praise, confession of Him, supplication and earnest requests. Why should Satan's voice only be heard, rather than ours? He has no ground at the throne of God. But we have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and we have access to God through Christ, the Lamb of God. If we would not direct our prayers to God in fellowship, then there is one that does a worse job. His accusations may be in various ways. For example he demanded that YHVH take away His hand from Job. He got it. (The Angel of) YHVH asks YHVH to rebuke Satan (Zech.3:1). I have it on good authority that we should "submit yourselves therefore to God, yet resist the Adversary and he will flee from you" (Jam.4:7). The Adversary moves about seeking whom he may devour. No one can bind him, as is often prayed in certain circles. This, in itself, is at best a blaspheme and a waste of time. It is an angel that binds the dragon, that old Serpent, and puts him in prison at the beginning of the millenium reign of Christ on earth from Jerusalem (Rev.19:1-2). Our Lord, in his words to Simon Peter said "Simon, Simon, lo! Satan claims you men, to sift you as grain. Yet I besought concerning you, that your faith may not be defaulting. And once you turn back, establish your brethren." (Lk 22:31-32) The Adversary is bent on a destructive work ever since his original sin. We should not assist him in this. We should raise our voices to our Father and God to act against the forces of darkness of this age and against all spiritual wickedness in the high places. We have been ordained kingly priests of the Most High under the high-priesthood of Jesus Christ into the order of Melchizedek to offer thanksgiving, praises, confession, intercede for our fellow-slaves and brothers, poeple around us and our associates (neighbours). As priests we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. We are to teach the testimony of our high-priest to the nations of the world. In doing all this we are all-the-more neither working for nor with Satan, his angels and his demons, who are progeny of fallen angels.

If you love God you would want to be in fellowship with Him and His saints, His people. There is a portrayal of the essence of this fellowship given in the book of Revelations. It is the acceptance of the prefumes (or odours) by the Lord GOD Almighty through Jesus the Christ.
Rev.5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

Re 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer [it] with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand.

Nothing could be more comforting than that our prayers have ascended before God as a memorial. Brethren, let us not loose heart in praying, in lifting up our voices to our God in petition, intercession, thanksgiving and praise through him who bought and brought us back to God by his blood. Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift. Amen and Amen.

1 comment:

mom said...

Hi Joe I am trying to figure out how to use your blog. When I get it together will be in touch with you MOM