The Best Way To Pray
A Father's Son
Our web site is intended primarily for the benefit of "born-again" Christians. No doubt Christians of other genre will find it interesting and helpful, and quite possibly somewhat entertaining; but we ourselves entertain no doubts that devout Catholics will absolutely hate our web site because we soundly condemn straight to Hell any, and all, prayer made to human beings like Jesus' mom and/or patron saints. True Bible Christians are controlled by the spirit of a father's son, not the spirit of a mother's son. In point of fact, if Jesus' mom was at all a true Bible Christian herself, then she too was given the spirit of a father's son.
● Gal 4:6 …And because you're all sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of His son into your hearts, calling out; "Abba, Father".
The nature of a son's spirit is quite a bit different than the nature of a father's spirit. In particular; Jesus' spirit is the mentality of an only child: the nature of God's kin. So that anyone who has His son's spirit in their hearts should be experiencing Jesus' own personal family feelings for God that he experiences; ergo: if you are not comfortable calling Almighty God my Father, then in all likelihood, you probably don't have the spirit of God's only child. And if that's the case; then you're in serious danger.
● Rom 8:9-10 . . If anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
Normal children, from normal homes and families, communicate with their dads one-on-one, in an atmosphere of family, as friends and lovers are supposed to speak to one another: not through mediators. People who are comfortable utilizing celestial mediators to communicate with God do so because they're outsiders.
So then, prayer for the true Bible Christian isn't magic, nor is it some sort of incantation. No, it's a long distance call home to dad. And dad may or may not pick up depending upon how He might feel about the caller at the moment when He checks the caller's ID. Prayer is quality time with the born-again Christian's divine parent; it's not supposed to be a chore, nor a duty, nor a penance. Fellowship between a child and its father is personal; and it's really nobody's business how often children shoot the breeze with their own dads, nor what they say or talk about. Prayer is my own personal family business between me and my Father; and any church authority that interferes— by dictating to whom I may pray, and what I'm supposed to say —is attempting to meddle in my home life.
● 1John 3:1-2 . . See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for He allows us to be called His children, and we really are! But the people who belong to this world don't know God, so they don't understand that we are His children.
Rote Prayer e.g. The Rosary et al
The rosary isn't prayer; it's rote chanting and no more pleasing to God than a Hindu mantra.
● Matt 6:7-9 . .In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
Rote prayer isn't from one's heart; no, it's from memory; it's an impersonal, endless loop of the same words over and over again like the greeting on an answering machine.
Objection: When I want to be more serious and focused, I pray the rosary.
If you need a man-made device in order to be more serious and focused, then you are not praying in The Spirit; but rather, you are praying in the flesh.
● John 4:23-24 . . A time is coming, and has now come, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in Spirit and in truth.
● Jude 1:20 . . But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost
Pay attention to the Bible's Christ and put his instructions into practice.
● Matt 6:7-9 . . In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
The Bible's Christ spoke for the Bible's God. So then to brush off Christ's instructions and elect to go with your own feelings is to brush off the God who sent him here.
● John 3:31-36 . . He has come from above and is greater than anyone else . . He tells what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them! Those who believe him discover that God is real. For he is sent by God. He speaks God's words, for God's Spirit is upon him without measure or limit . . All who rely upon God's Son have eternal life. Those who don't will never experience life, but the wrath of God remains upon them.
● John 8:26 . . He that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of Him.
● John 12:48-50 . . He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a mandate, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his mandate is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
Don't be a heathen— heathens walk according to their feelings rather than according to the Bible God's instructions. Comply; walk in the light, as He is in the light; then you will have true fellowship with both God and His son.
● 1John 1:5-7 . .This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him, yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.
Objection: A telephone is a man-made device as well, and don't most people in the modern world use them?
The New Testament Christian's telephone to God is His own Spirit rather than a man-made device.
● John 4:24 . .God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth.
● Gal 4:4-7 . .And because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of His son into your hearts calling out: Abba! Father.
● Rom 8:15-17 . .For you have not received a spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received a spirit of adoption, whereby we call out: Abba! Father.
● Jude 1:20 . .But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost
Prayer beads have no doubt been used in religious practices practically since the dawn of Man; so I would not call a set of rosary beads "modern". And besides, that objector was stubbornly, and willfully brushing off the New Testament Christ's instructions to avoid praying in "many words".
Objection: The rosary is not babbling when I'm serious about what I'm doing.
Jesus' command is not only a mandate, but also an appeal to reason. The Bible's God is already fully aware of your concerns before you even speak; so get down to business and spell them out clearly and intelligently rather than wasting His time with repetition and boring Him to tears with rote chanting.
I appeal not only to your reason, but also to your sensibilities. Suppose the door bell rang one day and when you opened up— yikes! —it was God himself in person! Would you welcome Him into your home with rote chanting?
Don't ever treat Jesus' father like some sort of sounding board. He's a sentient, sensible person; and we all need to show some respect for His intelligence. I guarantee He will be most grateful for your regard.
Do you speak to your friends, your associates, your spouse, your domestic partner, your significant other, your doctor, your dentist, supermarket cashiers, or the cops with rote chanting? Of course not. They would write you off as one in desperate need of therapy if you did. Then why would anyone speak to God with rote chanting? Don't you think He looks upon rote chanters as mental cases when they do that? Of course He does; who wouldn't? How would you like it if everybody spoke to you like that? Well, He doesn't like it either. God has a higher IQ than anybody you could possibly name and rote chanters are treating Him like a dunce. The Bible's God is a king who deserves far more respect than a US President yet people are speaking to Him like a tape recorder rather than the ultimate Sovereign that He is.
● Heb 4:15-16 . .For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
The word *boldly is actually two words in New Testament Greek— meta parrhesia (met-ah') (par-rhay-see'-ah). The term means frankness; which Webster's defines as: free, forthright, and sincere expression. Frankness implies lack of shyness or secretiveness or evasiveness due to considerations of tact or expedience; viz: frankness implies unbridled freedom of speech and the liberty to speak your mind without fear of criticism, censure, ridicule, shame, disgrace, retribution, or retaliation.
Frank prayer is far and away much better than rote prayer. Rote prayer is really no different than replaying the message on an answering machine; just a loop of the same words over and over again. I guess that would be okay if the Bible's God had a bad memory; but that's highly doubtful. Frank prayer is conversation from the heart, not an endless loop. Rote-prayer models like the Our Father, the Act Of Contrition, the Apostles' Creed, and the Hail Mary, are not even close to being acceptable to God. No, on the contrary, those kinds of prayers insult the spirit of adoption; and are inappropriate; viz: it's abnormal for a father's children to speak to their own daddies in a rote format.
● Rom 8:15-16 . .For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received a spirit of adoption by which we call out; Dad! Father. The Spirit himself testifies to our spirit that we are God's kin.
● Gal 4:4-7 . .But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. As proof that you are kin, God sent the spirit of His son into our hearts, calling out; Dad! Father. So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.
Do you sincerely believe yourself to be God's kin; a child in His own home? Then let me ask you: Did you speak in rote with your natural dad when you were living in his home? How weird would that be? But you'll do it to God won't you? If God is any kind of a father at all, then you can be assured that He is just as hurt, and just as baffled, by chanting as your own natural dad would be if you did it to him.
Objection: Surely you don't object to utilizing the Lord's Prayer; "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name, etc, etc. (Matt 6:9)
Here's a portion of that passage.
● Matt 6:9 . .In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name etc, etc.
The Lord's prayer wasn't intended to be recited like a rote mantra; but rather, used as an example: and in point of fact, you won't find that prayer prayed by anybody else but Jesus in the entire New Testament.
If you choose to recite the Lord's Prayer, be advised that you will be plagiarizing someone else's prayer. It won't be your own, no, it's The Lord's because I've a suspicion that he looked towards Heaven when he spoke it; viz: it was a real prayer. Leading by example is very effective.
Note that the object of prayer in Jesus' example is his Father; not his mom or one of the departed saints.
Objection: Christ Himself prayed in repetitions; e.g. Matt 26:44 & Mark 14:39
Christ prayed in neither an endless litany of rote chants, nor rote mantras. His prayers were not only timely and to the point, but also straight from the heart; and their author was himself, not someone from whom he plagiarized the composition.
When making personal requests, it's okay to bring them up more than once; but three times seems to be the appropriate limit on personal requests. Paul prayed three times over a personal health problem; but after three, God instructed him to let it go. There are no limits on rote mantras and rote chanting simply by the fact that they are forbidden to begin with.
Objection: Hymns are prayers, and people sing them more than once; e.g. Amazing Grace and The Old Rugged Cross.
Neither of those two hymns are prayers; they're testimonies. In point of fact, if a disbeliever should sing either of those two hymns; the would not only be bearing false witness; but they would be a bald faced liar to boot.
While we're on the subject, I object to reciting the Psalms just as strongly as I object to reciting any other rote prayer. The Psalms were honest prayers spoken from the heart and then written down by inspiration so people seeking an honest rapport with God would have examples of how to go about it on their own.
● Rom 15:4-5 . .For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
If you recite a Psalm for your prayer, you will be no more pleasing to God than a Jew bobbing at the Wailing Wall while chanting from a Siddur; and you will be plagiarizing someone else's prayers as your own instead of utilizing the Psalms for what they were intended: "for our learning."
Bible Christians have never prayed to Miriam, and never will. You know why? Because they're possessed. Yes, possessed of the spirit of adoption, which is a spirit that compels Bible Christians to pray to the very same person as their sibling Jesus did: to his Father; rather than to his mother.
● Rom 8:15 …For ye have not received the spirit of slavery again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
● Gal 4:4-7 ...But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, "Abba, Father".
Do you see now why I cannot pray to Miriam? It's just simply impossible to overcome the powerful control of the spirit of His Son to do it. The spirit of His Son always wins out over Miriam when it comes time for me to pray because His Son just naturally compels me to use a vocative to get my adoptive Father's attention without my even thinking about it.
What this all boils down to is that Bible Christians should feel an overwhelming compulsion to pray to their adoptive Father without their having to be told to. It should come naturally (so to speak), just as naturally as it has always been to their sibling Jesus. And they should feel an equally overwhelming revulsion praying to somebody else. So then, people with a habit of praying to departed human beings, obviously don't have the spirit of His Son in their hearts. No, they're possessed of a spirit that's perfectly content calling out to others besides God.
Posture and Location
Back in the late sixties when I first began reading the Bible, I felt very envious of the olde time heroes like Noah and Abraham and Jacob and Moses. They all had a great rapport with God and it seemed to me that their future was secure and rock solid no matter how they turned out in life. It just never occurred to me to speak up and start some sort of rapport with God myself until a friend suggested it.
Bedrooms are good. Go in, and close the door so no one can see what you're doing. Then kneel down on the floor at your bed's side and rest your elbows on the bedspread. If you cover your face with your hands, it will give you an additional sense of privacy. Then, in a low voice, just start speaking out.
You could even turn over at night and put your face into a pillow and just talk with The Lord about any old thing that pops into your mind. If you are at work, go to the restroom and sit on the commode with your face in your hands. I do that all the time. We know a busy mom who retreats out to her garage for privacy. There's lots of places where we can pray. Anywhere will do. It's really your call. But do it. If only people would start talking to the God of the Bible and I don't care what they say just as long as they speak out to Him and get a rapport going.
I have been asked by friends if I have ever received anything from God that I prayed for. Well I rarely ever ask for anything. I'm too chicken for that. Most of my prayers regard the sins in my life. And the rest of the time, I like to use for sharing my feelings with God. I believe He is very receptive of those kinds of prayers. David believed that too.
● Ps 51:19 True sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit; God, You will not despise a contrite and crushed heart.
The Wall Of Silence
Typically, when we speak; no one replies. Psychologically, that's uncomfortable; and sometimes it makes me feel like I have an imaginary playmate rather than a real-life friend on the other end. But the Bible assures me God is there even though I cannot detect His presence with any of my natural senses.
● Luke 18:1 ...Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart
● Ps 65:2-4 Praise befits You in Zion, O God; vows are paid to You; all mankind comes to You, You who hear prayer. When all manner of sins overwhelm me, it is You who forgive our iniquities.
● Ps 66:16-20 Come and hear, all God-fearing men, as I tell what He did for me. I called aloud to Him, glorification on my tongue. Had I an evil thought in my mind, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen; He paid heed to my prayer. Blessed is God who has not turned away my prayer, or His faithful care from me.
Some people claim that if they remain very quiet during prayer they can hear God's voice speaking softly in their heads. We don't recommend that. The human mind can be very deceptive; most especially to its owner.
● Jer 17:9 ...The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?
If you are hearing God's voice in your head; that could be very serious.
Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness sometimes evidenced by loss of contact with reality. A variety of other symptoms characterize schizophrenia. The most prominent include symptoms of psychosis such as delusions and hallucinations as well as bizarre behavior, strange movements, and disorganized thinking and speech. Many people with schizophrenia do not recognize that their mental functioning is disturbed.
Delusions common among schizophrenics are false beliefs that appear obviously untrue to other people. For example, a person with schizophrenia may believe that he is the king of England, or a secret agent working for the government, when in fact he isn't; or possibly that he's a prophet of God; or some other important person. Auditory hallucinations, such as hearing voices when no one else is around, are especially common in schizophrenia. These hallucinations may include two or more voices conversing with each other, voices that continually comment on the person's life, or voices that command the person to do something.
Although scientists favor a biological cause of schizophrenia, stress in the environment may affect the onset and course of the illness. Stressful life circumstances such as the death of a loved one, terrorism, war, unemployment, an important change in jobs or relationships, or chronic tension and hostility at home can increase the chances of schizophrenia in someone biologically predisposed to the disease. In addition, stressful events can trigger a relapse of symptoms in a person who already has the illness. Individuals who have effective skills for managing stress may be less susceptible to its negative effects.
The Sin Barrier
According to 1John 1:5-7, Bible Christians cannot experience fellowship with God when they are dishonest with Him about themselves. Sometimes it takes years for shrinks to help people overcome their inhibitions and discuss themselves honestly and openly; so we have to expect that even experienced Christians will have trouble being as transparent with God as He would like.
One of my all time favorite Bible prayers is a very short one prayed by a man who was employed by the Roman government to collect taxes from his own Jewish countrymen. From what I understand Publicans were paid on a commission basis. So the more taxes they collected, the more they got paid. They were not popular in Israel and many considered them traitors.
● Luke 18:10-14 Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: "God, I thank you that I am not like other menrobbers, evildoers, adulterersor even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get." But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner". I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
That Pharisee was a whole lot more righteous than the tax collector. There can be no doubt about that. Pharisees were very pious and devout. But this one was conceited. God looks on the heart and He saw that the tax collector was really ashamed of himself for being such a louse. Even though I'm sure the tax man didn't hear an audible voice from heaven announcing his forgiveness, he got it anyway because God hears those kinds of prayers even though He doesn't reply.
● Ps 32:5-7 ...Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord" and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah. Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.
Because of sin, we can ruin our chances to be heard by God if we don't follow some well established guidelines to deal with it.
● Ps 32:8-10 ...I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.
● 1Pet 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
The first step in any relationship where one party has been offended by the other is reconciliation. So trespasses against God have got to be dealt with first before we begin talking with Him about anything else. But this is easy. All we have to do is own up to our faults.
● 1John 1:8-10 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
Who, Us, Our
Notice John's prolific use of the plural pronouns we, us, and our; in 1John 1:8-10, indicating John included himself among Christians who sin. It's important to be aware that 1John 1:6-10 doesn't apply to every Christian; nor will God honor it for every Christian. It's only for those kinds of Christians to whom John wrote his letter; and they are profiled as John's siblings; children in God's home who currently already possess eternal life.
● 1John 3:1-2 ...How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! ….Dear friends, now are we God's children.
● 1John 5:11-12 …And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever possesses the Son has the life; whoever does not possess the life, does not have Son of God.
● 1John 5:13 ...These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you all may know that you have eternal life, and that you all may have confidence in the name of the Son of God.
Question: I don't have eternal life; but if the things written in the scripture are only for exclusive communities, then why is it all there for our use?
Just because you see a car parked out in front of your house doesn't mean it's there for *your use.
Not all things in The Holy Bible are there for everybody. The Gospels are, but the epistles are personal letters written only for people who have eternal life. The world at large is dead, and in grave danger of being condemned for their sins.
● 2Cor 5:14 ...because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead
● Eph 2:1-2 ...And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins
● John 5:24 …I assure you, those who listen to my message and trust in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
If you are not in possession of eternal life right this very minute, then you are, right this very minute, 1) not listening to Jesus' message, 2) not trusting in God, 3) dead, and 4) in grave danger of being condemned for your sins.
Let me tell you something about one of Death's depressing aspects. None of The Dead will make it to safety; not one. There is a registry called the Book Of Life. The Dead's names are not in it because the only kind of life that The Dead have is human life: you need to have eternal life in order to get your name in The Book Of Life; ergo: The Dead will all be incarcerated in The Lake Of Fire after their judgment (Rev 20:11-15).
Objection: But doesn't 2Tim 3:16 say that all scripture is to be used for instruction?
According to 2Tim 3:17, all scripture is for "the man of God" not for just anybody who happens to pops in.
● 2Tim 3:16-17 ...All Scripture is inspired of God, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Objection: Well... what about Rom 15:4? Doesn't it mean the whole Bible is for everybody?
● Rom 15:4 ...For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Within the context of the epistle to the Romans, the antecedents of the plural pronouns *us, and *we, are the author and the recipients of his letter; viz: himself and Christians living in Rome to whom he wrote. No, the *whole Bible isn't for everybody; only for true Bible Christians because they alone have a genuine hope.
The New Testament Greek word for *hope in
that passage is elpis (el-pece'); which means: to anticipate (usually with
pleasure); expectation and/or confidence.
If I were to ask you whether or not you are definitely going to Heaven; and your answer was; "I'm not sure; I don't really know." then I would have to say you have no hope. You are wishing, yes, but lack the confidence and enthusiasm of someone who *knows where they're going. If you were a true Christian believer who listened to Jesus' message and trusted in God; then you would entertain no doubts whatsoever about your future because you would be confidently resting your future upon Jesus' assurances.
● John 5:24 ...I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
● John 6:39-40 …And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it (on) the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him (on) the last day.
● John 6:47 …I assure you, anyone who believes in me already has eternal life.
Alternate Sources of Absolution
Some have attempted to use a passage in James to indicate that Christians can obtain absolution by confessing their sins to each other.
●Jas 5:16 …Therefore confess your sins to each other
While 1John 1:9 is an obvious formula for the sacrament of reconciliation, Jas 5:16 is ambiguous because, for one thing, the plural noun *sins is not in the Greek manuscripts. English translators have taken the liberty to insert various words like sins and/or faults to fill in with what they felt was an appropriate word to smooth out what they assumed the text was trying to convey.
The preposition *to, isn't in the Greek text either. In that location is the Greek word allelon (al-lay'-lone) which means: one another. So that Jas 5:16 really should read; "Confess one another….."
What does it mean to confess one another? Well.. in that location, the Greek word for *confess is exomologeo (ex-om-ol-og-eh'-o) which means: to acknowledge or (by implication of assent) to agree fully.
Webster's defines *acknowledge as: 1) to recognize the rights, authority, or status of, 2 to disclose knowledge of or agreement with, 3) to express gratitude or obligation for, 4) to take notice of, 5) to make known the receipt of, and 6) to recognize as genuine or valid.
Some English translators have rendered exomologeo as an expression of gratitude at Luke 10:21. Others rendered it praise. At Luke 22:6, exomologeo is used to show that Judas struck a bargain to betray Jesus. At Php 2:11, the word is used to show that in the future, every tongue in the universe will accept the authority, and the status, of Jesus Christ as king of everything. And at Rev 3:5, the word is used to show Jesus validating names in the Book Of Life.
For Bible Christians to acknowledge one another is to fully accept each other as kin and as equals in all respects. This only applies to true born-again believers because I certainly couldn't, in all good conscience, acknowledge a make-believer as my true Christian kin, nor could I acknowledge them as an equal in all respects; after all, I'm God's child, I've been adopted in His home; I'm going to Heaven, and they're not.
● Jas 5:16 ...Therefore, acknowledge one another, and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
What's Sin, and What's Not
How do we know what to confess? Easy. The New Testament epistles are loaded with commands. However, they're not mandated in a menacing way like the Old Testament's Jewish law so you might miss them if you're not careful. The will of God is related to believers as instructions to a father's own children, not as a monarch's tyranny.
Go through and see how you measure up. Start with Romans chapters 1, 12, and 13; Ephesians chapter 4, 5, and 6; Colossians chapter 3; 1Thessalonians chapter 5; and 1Peter, chapter 2, 3, and 4. Reviewing those chapters will give you a pretty good idea of how God is thinking about you.
If He knows that you are not pleasing Him, He will want to hear you agree. This will be the story of our lives all the rest of the time that we live in the world; so don't be negligent and try to skip this step because we know from 1John 1:6-7 it's unavoidable.
Sins of Conscience
In the Bible there are absolutes; and there are matters of conscience. The fourteenth chapter of the epistle to the Romans, and the eighth chapter of the epistle of 1Corinthians, deals with some of those matters of conscience; e.g. if an individual believes that something is a sin, then for that individual it becomes a sin regardless of whether or not it really is.
● Rom 14:14 ...As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.
● Rom 14:22-23 ...So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not in faith; and everything that's not done in faith is sin.
● 1Cor 8:4-8 ...So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.
So then, if a Catholic man believes it is a sin to gaze upon a woman with carnal desire; then whether or not that activity is actually a sin makes no difference because for that Catholic man it is a sin simply by virtue of the fact that he believes it is.
That's interesting; because it means there are people in Hell right now for doing things that really aren't absolutely wrong: no, the wrong came in suppressing their conscience.
The Believer's Two Natures
Someone may be puzzled why born-again Christians have to bother with confession since they've already been completely acquitted of every sin they'll ever commit via Jesus' crucified body (John 3:14-18, John 5:24, Rom 6:3-11, Col 2:11-13). So then, why is this practice important?
The epistle of 1John was a letter written to a very special people group. It wasn't written to your garden variety of pew warmer; no, not at all. It was written to people who were in current possession of Eternal Life.
● 1John 5:13-14 …I write this to you who believe in the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.
Eternal Life is a different kind of life than human life. Human life is a perishable kind of life that had its beginning in the book of Genesis. Eternal Life is the life of God; ergo: it has neither a beginning nor an ending (1John 1:1-2). If should go without saying that Eternal Life is a non-perishable kind of life; viz: it cannot die. So that it's possessors are in no danger whatsoever of losing it. Once you have Eternal Life, you will live forever.
● John 4:10-15 …Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you; "Give Me a drink", you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water... Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.
● John 6:46-51 …Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.
● John 3:14-17 ...And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
● John 10:27-28 ...My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;
Since believers are already in current possession of Eternal Life, then it only stands to reason that confession serves some other purpose entirely separate from the wrath of God— and that purpose is clearly stated in 1John 1:3-7. The purpose of confessions, for people who are already in current possession of Eternal Life, is fellowship.
The Greek word translated *fellowship is koinonia (koy-nohn-ee'-ah); which means: partnership, i.e. (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse. In other words, if people already in possession of Eternal Life desire a satisfactory working relationship with Jesus' father while they're down here on the planet in an Adamic body, living in Adam's world; then they have got to come clean about their Adamic nature's behavior— and if they refuse, then they cannot reasonably expect providence to work to their advantage. On the contrary, providence will seem to them more like a curse than a blessing because the believer's God is a parent who will not hesitate to discipline His kids when they need it (Heb 12:5-13).
● John 3:3 …Jesus declared; "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
We might say that a born again Christian becomes two persons at the moment they're born again because that's really the easiest way to explain it. They actually become an amalgamated mixture of the old genus of Man in Adam, and the new genus of Man in Christ— one born naturally, and the other born supernaturally. The Adamic person is a human kind of life, and the new person is an eternal kind of life.
● John 3:6-7 …Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
The new person (a.k.a. the new man) is an eternal kind of life whose nature is totally sinless because it takes after its eternal progenitor; God's spirit.
● 1John 3:8-10 …No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
The Adamic person is a sinful being who sins all the time because it has a human's nature. But the person who is born of God's spirit, is a sinless being who never sins. It cannot sin because it takes after its sinless progenitor. Just like a bat baby takes after its bat daddy and acts and thinks like a bat because it was given a bat's nature at birth; so the new person takes after its daddy too; and its daddy is not only sinless; but cannot sin. Which is why born-again Christians need not be concerned that future sins might mess things up for them in heaven. They will never sin in heaven; nor will they ever be inclined to sin. No; that will never happen.
When I die, my Adamic alter ego will flake off me like a dead skin; and I will go into eternity as a sinless being— acting, thinking, and feeling just like my Divine progenitor. You can't have it any better than that. My Adamic alter ego was slain at Calvary; and on the books; that sinful alter ego has been judged, executed, and put out of business.
● Rom 6:2-4 …Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
● Rom 6:6 …Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
● Rom 6:11 …count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
● Col 3:3-4 …For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
When born again Christians comply with 1John 1:9 and confess their sins, they are not confessing sins committed by their Spirit-born alter ego; no, they are confessing sins committed by their Adamic-born ego: a being who sins continually.
● 1John 1:10 …If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
The born again Christian is a two we's person. They are a we in Adam, and a we in Christ. That really throws the Lord's enemies into confusion when they attempt to interpret the epistles because they are unable to discern between the two we's. Well... that's fine with me. I prefer it that way. I don't want them to understand.
● 2Pet 3:16 …Some of [Paul's] comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters around to mean something quite different from what he meant, just as they do the other parts of Scripture— and the result is disaster for them.
So; while born-again Christians live out their earthly tenure, they remain shackled to that old Adamic human nature; resembling a sort of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. That old nature is a cause for concern because its mind, and its passions and impulses, remain active and don't stop influencing the born-again Christian until his Adamic body dies. That evil human nature, though already damned and executed, continues to soil the spiritual clothing of the new nature, and its filth has to be scrubbed off from time to time just like the already-consecrated Aaronic priests had to scrub daily prior to the performance of their Temple duties (Ex 30:17-21).
Lots of Christians have problems with passages like 1John 3:9 and 5:18 because they've never been taught to discern between the new man the old one. So they typically end up thinking that they are supposed to live perfectly sinless lives in order to prove they are born again. But the man who wrote 1John 3:9 and 5:18 is the very same one who wrote 1John 1:8-10 and 2:1, wherein he included himself among Christians who sin.
● 1John 1:8-10 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
● 1John 2:1 ...My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the father in our defense; Jesus Christ, the righteous one.
John's prolific use of the pronouns: we, us, our, and ourselves, tells me that he included himself among born-again Christian sinners; and that he was prone to sin even as he wrote his epistles. So the people of God are not sinless per se. Yes, they possess a new divine self that cannot sin; but their mortal bodies retain the mortal Adamic self, and it sins all the time.
● Gen 6:5 ...The Lord saw how great was man’s wickedness on earth, and how every plan devised by his mind was nothing but evil all the time.
So while they are at home in mortal bodies, born-again Christians really need to confess the sins of their mortal self because we have to be clean to serve God acceptably. Although God's people have been thoroughly consecrated by Jesus' blood, they're new self gets smudged from daily contact with that old human nature. Born again Christians will still go to heaven even if they never own up to another single sin (John 5:24). But that's not the issue. The point is it will cost them something along the way because they absolutely will lose a profitable working relationship with Jesus' father unless they strive to remain clean.
The Obedience Barrier
● John 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
That verse easily explains why so many believers pray into the air and nothing ever happens for them. What we are trying to do here in this chapter is show you how to cope with a poor showing in obedience. We wrote it for inexperienced people who simply don't have the spiritual maturity to approach God any other way. However, this method will, in fact, work for anybody, beginner or pro; it makes no difference.
But if you are head-strong, and prefer to follow your own impulses, praying any old way that you please, and refuse to follow our instructions, then there's a very good chance you'll just be speaking into thin air and your prayers will never go any further up than the rafters above your head.
If you aren't too keen on obedience, (most people are that way so it's not unusual), or if you feel uncomfortable requesting something from Almighty God, then here's what to do: Don't make specific requests; especially if you can't meet the prerequisites of obedience in John 15:10, 1Peter 3:12, and 1John 3:18-22.
Instead of laying out a shopping list, just make God your confidant. We're perfectly free to do this at all times. It's okay to tell him what's on your mind, especially regarding your circumstances and how they are affecting your feelings.
● 1Pet 5:6-7 ...Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
That is so cool because this way God is free to act out of kindness instead of owing you a favor. And even if God doesn't do anything for you, at least you've included Him, and have the peace of mind of pouring out your soul to the one person who can make a real difference. The born-again Christian's God is, after all, his adoptive parent too; and even naughty kids can tell their parents what's bothering them. The naughty kid might get a bit of a cold shoulder, but no normal parent is going to neglect their kids' needs just because they're bad.
On the surface this may appear indulging in an imaginary playmate. But I can assure you that is not the case. Our Father is really there. And there will come a day when He will make Himself real to you in some way.
● John 14:23-24 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me."
Keep A Night Light On
When little kids are scared, they want some assurance from their guardians that everything is going to be okay. Well... that kind of assurance is very comforting even to a grown up. We want to know that everything is going to be okay. We want our minds to be at peace. You can get that kind of assurance through prayer. So share your life with God and keep Him up to date.
● Phil 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I once heard a story about a lady who asked her pastor if we are supposed pray about even the little things in our lives, and I love his reply: "Madam, do you have anything in your life that is big to God?" Well, of course she didn't. And none of the rest of us do either. So don't hesitate to share your whole life with God. You may think a particular concern of yours is silly and unimportant, but He will never feel that way about you.
The very essence of all sin is the absence of God's active participation in one's personal life. Mankind wasn't created to co-exist with his creator. He was created to do everything in a partnership. Ironically, humanity's very first sin was an independent attempt to gain equality with God. Independence, and the desire for superior knowledge, has always been Man's weakness. We have a powerful craving for discovery; especially in an atmosphere free from interference. So stifle that attitude, recognize God as your better, and make every effort to give Him a share of your life.
The real value of prayer is not to get what we want out of life; but that God can strengthen our hearts to deal with what life's adversities are throwing in our direction.
● Ps 4:1...Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.
● Ps 25:15-21 ...My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.
The Interference Barrier
Important tip: God is at work in a much larger arena than we're aware of. The whole idea is to share your life with God and keep up a rapport, but don't ever try to influence how He manages your affairs because you just may end up frustrated, confused, and very disappointed.
The Language Barrier
There's just no need to get all hung up on wording and protocol. We know from Romans 8:26-27 that God's spirit has to revise our prayers anyway and he even puts the correct amount of emotion into them too before he delivers them; so it's okay to be honest and candid, to be ourselves, and to just speak our minds.
Question: What about The Lord's prayer of Matt 6:9-13. Isn't that what Jesus told his students to say?
Here's a portion of that passage.
● Matt 6:9 ...In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Do you see "repeat after me" or do you see "in this manner" as you read that passage? Jesus gave them an example; not a rote prayer. There is not one single instance of anybody in the entire New Testament ever repeating those words. And I would have you to particularly note that the object of prayer in Jesus' example is The Father; not Jesus' mom or any of the departed saints.
Note: If you choose to recite the so-called Lord's Prayer, be advised that you will be plagiarizing someone else' prayer. It won't be your own, no, it will be The Lord's because I've a suspicion that he looked towards Heaven when he spoke it; viz: it was a real prayer.
Question: What about praying in tongues?
Please Click Here for some comments about praying in tongues.
Protest: Perhaps I don't need to pray out loud because my every thought is in direct contact with God.
Are we talking about the Bible's God? The one who said twice in Genesis once before the flood and once afterwards that man's thoughts are totally evil?
●Gen 6:5 The Lord saw how great was man's wickedness on earth, and how every plan devised by his mind was nothing but evil all the time.
●Gen 8:21b-21c Never again will I doom the earth because of man, since the devisings of man's mind are evil from his youth;
If that objector's every thought is truly in contact with God, then according to the Bible, they are annoying Him to no end with every moment that goes by.
The Bible's God prefers normal relationships. He likes it when people speak to Him. You are of course at liberty to communicate with all the other gods any way you please. But if you want to communicate with the Bible's God then you are going to have to speak up when you do and that is just the way it is.
Seth spoke up, Abraham spoke up, Hagar spoke up, Leah spoke up, Rachel spoke up, Jacob spoke up, Joseph spoke up, Moses spoke up, Joshua spoke up, Gideon spoke up, Samson spoke up, Hannah spoke up, Samuel spoke up, David spoke up, Daniel spoke up, and Jesus spoke up. They were all heard; so I suggest that everyone follow their lead if they would like to remain on friendly terms with their God.
Friend, if you don't want to talk to God I have no problem with that. It is solely your decision. But surely you won't object if the rest of us follow the examples of all those great Bible heroes and heroines of faith and connect with The Almighty like they did. Trying to connect with Him via our thought processes isn't acceptable because our thoughts are evil and they just naturally make Him wish he hadn't bothered to create anybody in the first place.
●Gen 6:5-6 The Lord saw how great was man's wickedness on earth, and how every plan devised by his mind was nothing but evil all the time. And the Lord regretted that He had made man on earth, and His heart was saddened.
There is a very special dad in the Bible who really deserves some credit.
● Gen 4:25-26 Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, meaning, "God has provided me with another offspring in place of Abel," for Cain had killed him. And to Seth, in turn, a son was born, and he named him Enosh. It was then that men began to invoke the Lord by name.
I think that when Seth looked down into Enosh's crib, watching him goo-goo and slobber all over a beanie baby; his heart was moved and he became worried that his little boy might become another Cain. And he believed that the only way to avert that was to rely upon Abel's god for assistance. And that meant he was going to have to start some sort of a rapport with Abel's god and so he did.