I have addressed many times so far in my blog, the part of our prayer life that some traditionalist tend to ignore or worse tend to discourage and suggest that it is no longer genuinely available to have as a integral part of our relationship with God. It is almost synonymous with asking how is your fellowship with God when asking how is your prayer life? Prayer is by definition a conversation with God, a form of communication and without communication a relationship is not possible. If you are raised in a family that has God in relationship with you then you have been taught something about prayer. The quality of your prayer life, how much you get taught about prayer varies greatly in different groups. Some are taught only rote repetition of short prayers. As if the only thing prayer is good for is short recognitions that there is a God. Thus grace, penance, and bedtime prayers are all that prayer means. The irreverent Rub a dub dub thanks for the grub, The Lord’s prayer, the hail Mary or magnificat or Lk 1 :46-55 and the “now I lay me down to sleep” are thus all the prayer life some people have. Ironic indeed that Jesus instructions that accompanied the Lord’s prayer specifically direct people to not vainly pray by rote, that is to repeat the same prayer so often and frequently that the meaning behind the words is forgotten . Praying the rosary thus becomes suspect. Some people say that particular series of prayers so much in their lives that the Words could definitely lose any particular meaning. In fact I once heard someone describe the rosary in the same way that tongues is described in scripture as being given to us as a prayer that if we do not know what else to pray for, that what ever it is that God wants us to pray for, it will be covered because it is such universal praise. I suppose that is a nice thought but as noted, rote repetition is not the communication that God wants. Like repeatedly asking God for mercy when His Word says he has not withheld grace and mercy from us. God does not need to be prodded to grant us something he tells us is ours in great abundance.
Those to whom this is a routine weekly habit to beg for mercy even though His word assures us that it is already ours to claim are not known by reputation to have a large number of Bible readers active in their group so perhaps they are ignorant of what God has said and thus they may think that they need to continually ask for that which He has already given. Perhaps they will hear about my comments and look into the Word and realize what they are doing. God knows. I posted recently about a chapter long Prayer of Christ’s about Jn 17 and added comments about each verse bringing into congruence insights that come from other passages in the Word and my life knowledge base of all that I have been taught either by my own research or the research of others. A healthy prayer life reflects communication both ways, me or you talking to God and God communicating back to you. God relates to us in ways that we open ourselves to note and get a message from Him. Joseph received much from God in dreams, Peter and Paul both report God communicating in visions and of course we also have the written Word available to be a source of daily (or as often as we allow it to be a source of) communication to us. In our lives today, we even have multiple versions of the scriptures to check to see if our understanding is improved. People have put their ability to translate for us on the line by producing a Bible. We need to check things against the text using Interlinears, Lexicons, Concordances and Dictionaries to see if it does not add insight to our understanding of what is written. Yes Studying the Word is work. The rewards that come with better understanding is very much worth it to me. But that is also why we are told to not forsake fellowshipping with likeminded believers. God wants us to guard against error. To not get lost on tangents of thought that we might get distracted by if we were left to our own thinking processes. We are to work together to make sure in our efforts to rightly divide the Word are sound. That our likeminded believers can build up the same added insight as you do as you explore God’s word with the intent that you want to understand it better. We need to always be sure that our understanding of what is written is also in line of other passages of scripture as well. Because the whole Word is authored by God not just a tad here and there. The passages or Words that are judged to have been added or omitted over the centuries come to light for as I said in my previously published writing, truth sticks out like a healthy thumb when you contrast it with the background of lies that we sometimes have to deal with today. But todays subject is prayer and I have strayed. When we do study the Word it does not hurt to be prayerful before during and after your efforts.
I personally believe that God , Our heavenly Father, wants to be told by us what we are feeling is a need to deal with in our day to day lives. He wants us to make room in our thinking for Him to act and instruct. So that we too can be inspired by God just as the Holy men of God were that wrote the Scriptures. Just because He closed the book on additional Scriptures does not mean that he died and can no longer relate to us as individuals or groups. But the truth that He never takes away our freedom of will away needs to be taught lest we give our selves over to devil spirits that do possess and control and make us do things that we may not want to do in the first place. Lets look at some scripture that instructs on prayer.
James 5:13 KJV Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.
the same verse in the Working translation Copyright 2013 by Walter J Cummins All rights reserved.
Jm 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering hardship? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing Psalms of praise.
Jm 5:14 KJV Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing with oil in the name of the Lord.
Jm 5:14 Working translation- Is any among you weak? Let him call for the elders of the assembly and let them pray for him and anoint him with olive oil in the name of the lord.
Jm 5:15 KJV- And the prayer of faith shall save the sick and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he had committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Jm 5:15 working translation- And the prayer of believing will save [deliver] the weary one and the lord will raise Him up. If he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.
Jm 5:16 KJV- Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Jm 5:16 working translation- Therefore confess your sins one to another and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The energized prayer request of a just person prevails greatly.
Jm 5:17 KJV- Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
Jm 5:17 working translation- Elijah was a human with passions like ours, And he prayed a prayer that it might not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.
Jm 5:18 KJV- And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
Jm 5:18 working translation- Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
Jm 5:19 KJV- Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
Jm 5: 19 working translation- My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him around,
Jm 5:20 KJV- Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Jm 5:20 working translation- Then let him know that he who turns a sinner around from wandering from his way will save (deliver) a soul from death and will hide a multitude of sins.
So in this passage we see God wants us to pray about our opportunities to prove God’s good and perfect will of God for us to be victorious in life (Ro 12:2; 8:37; III Jn 2) Psalms were Bible time lyrics. As we get our prayers answered, we should be ready to add to the music that blesses us and those who over hear our songs of praise. The Olive tree was the peoples tree and represented God’s blessings to His people, thus we are to seek from the elders of the church, knowledge of God’s blessings because when we dwell on these things we are healed. When we fall short of being blessed by God, we come together and share so that we are restored as we encourage one another to live the good life, to live life energized by God’s blessings. That when we energize our prayers by being in fellowship with God (so that we are righteous) and we are expecting/believing God to assist our campaigns we get results that bless us and accomplish our goals. The example of Elijah from I Ki 17, 18 as a righteous man and getting answers to prayer, it should perhaps be noted that Elijah was a prophet, He prayed his prayer (as Elijah did many other things) while in fellowship with God. I don’t recommend that we pray and cause a severe drought without revelation from God that We will be able to accomplish via that drought that which God wants done in the situation. That is where being sure that we have the manifestations of holy spirit active in our lives becomes so important. It is good to know that we can receive Word of knowledge or Word of wisdom so that we pray for things that line up with the Word of God. An active prayer life is definitely in keeping with being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Without doing things with the love of God being expressed in that which we set out to accomplish, our expectations to get things done become meaningless I Co 13.
So we are to mix our prayers with believing, pray in tongues and pray with our understanding, the quality of our relationship with God will be reflected by our prayer lives. Learn to listen for God to communicate with you as you share your life with Him, He wants you to know He is your heavenly Father who wants the very best for His children. It is not difficult to pour your heart out to someone who will listen and work to reward your believing with signs, miracles ,and wonders following. He wants your life to be one filled with thanksgiving, love, and joy. Expect the mighty hands of God to bring deliverance to your life every minute of every day. He created our universe, He calls things possible, that we by our five senses may think are impossible. Be that righteous person that believes to see God’s love and goodness expressed so that the people that you have the privilege to encounter may be led to salvation. It works both ways, they will feel privileged to have met you and learned from you how great God is, and God will reward us for believing not only in this life but in the one to come after the gathering together. Selah.