The following article is an excerpt from this book.
Prayer has been defined or described in many ways.
Here are nine different descriptions of prayer, by various authors:
1. Prayer is asking and receiving. According to E.M. Bounds, “Prayer is the outstretched arms of the child for the Father’s help. Prayer is the child’s cry calling to the Father’s ear…Prayer is the seeking of God’s greatest good, which will not come if we do not pray.”
2. Prayer is approaching God’s throne. According to Spurgeon, “True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God.” I would say it this way: it is the approach of the Holy Spirit in our soul that drives us to the throne.
3. Prayer is our service due Him. According to E. M. Bounds, “Prayer is not a duty which must be performed, to ease obligation…
The following article is an excerpt from this book.
Here are three possible reasons why your prayers aren’t answered–from my e-book Prayer A to Z.
1. You really aren’t abiding in Jesus and His Word as you think you are. A good test of whether you are abiding or not is whether you bear fruit. Jesus said, “He who abides in Me, and I in him bears much fruit (Jn. 15:5). Fruit is that evidence that you are a Christian—a true Christian that abides in Christ and grows to be like Him.
Are you becoming like Christ? Do you love others as He did? Do you reach out to others and share the love of God with them? Do you have the faith that Jesus had? When you pray do you expect God to answer you? If you can’t say yes to any of these questions I suggest that…
I have been reviewing the sermons of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. I am now covering his chapters on the Lord’s Prayer, from Matthew 6:9-13. So far, from my previous blog post, I wrote shortly on the first line, “Our Father in heaven.” That is the invocation, or we could say, that which takes us into prayer. Those words remind us that He is our Father and a mighty Father-God who is in heaven.
Now we come to the rest of the prayer, which is really an outline that Jesus has given us in order to pray better. And it consists of six petitions as follows:
1. Hallowed be Thy name.
2. Your kingdom come.
3. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
4. Give us this day our daily bread.
5. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
6. And do not lead us unto temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Notice that the first three petitions have regard to God and His glory, and the second three have reference to ourselves. And please take note of this order; for it is the way He wants us to pray. We must never start with ourselves; we must always begin first praying for God and His glory. In this blog, we will examine these first three petitions.
Hallowed be Thy name.
At first glance it doesn’t really appear to be a petition, or request, but more of a statement—that we are sort of willing His name to be hallowed, or holy. But it is definitely a petition, that His name would be hallowed on this earth.
Here are two other translations that may help:
“May your name be honored” (NLT).
“Reveal who you are” (the Message).
Hallowed means to sanctify, or to revere, or to make and keep holy. The petition is that God, in all that is true of Him, would be revered (God has many names, and it would be good to study those names).
Your kingdom come.
This petition is that His kingdom would come into every heart. Then it is also that His kingdom would come into the world and light up the world. His kingdom is His reign, His law, and His rule. This I think is a good missionary prayer. Every Christian should pray this prayer—that all would come to know Him and reign and rule in his or her life.
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
This is the result of His kingdom coming, that His will would be done on earth just as it is in heaven.
Generally, before we (Christians) go to prayer, it is always good to realize what a privilege we have to be in God’s presence and to be able to talk with Him face to face and soul to soul. Prayer is truly a high activity of the soul—the highest activity of the soul.
When you begin to pray, don’t think that it is okay to just ramble on with your requests or to just say whatever is on you mind. We all tend to do that—me too. But there is a correct way to pray. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He gave them a skeleton prayer to follow (found in Matthew 6:9-13). We call it “The Lord’s Prayer.” We are not to just recite this prayer, as some do; but we are to use it as a guide, or as an outline. If we do that, we are well on our way to be able to pray correctly; for in this skeleton prayer contains every prayer principle.
As you go to pray, the first thing you should do as you bow your head is to pause and remind yourself of what you are about to do and who you are about to speak to. Remind yourself that you are in the presence of holiness, and that He, your Father, is with you listening and attentive. You may want to have a copy of the Lord’s Prayer before you, and focus first on the first two words of the prayer: Our Father. Yes, He is your Father, and my Father. So, realize that all of us who are believers have the same Father and we are in a wonderful relationship with Him.
Our Father in heaven
At this point in your prayer, you can continue to ruminate on what it means to be in the family of God and to thank and praise Him for who He is and what He has done for you. And then, at some point you will want to move on to the next few words… “in heaven.” He is your and our Father in heaven. What does that mean? It refers to His greatness and that His presence is everywhere. He is almighty God in heaven. He is all knowing, present everywhere, and all powerful.
In your prayers you may at first just be thinking of Him and of your relationship with Him. But at some point, you will also want to start speaking to Him. Thank Him and praise Him for being your Father and for who He is. Praise and worship Him in the best way you know how.
Final comments. If you have been a Christian for a long time maybe what I am teaching here seems too mechanical, or too basic. Believe me, I understand. But especially for a new Christian, I think it is important to get on the right track. I hear too many Christians praying incorrectly. Some of them, all they do is list their needs as if they are talking to Santa Claus. That is so disrespectful. I think it is important to at first follow the outline of the Lord’s Prayer. And then after a while, as it is firm in your mind, your prayers will flow more easily and you, without even realizing it, will be praying correctly, as He taught us.
The next line in the Lord’s Prayer is “hallowed be Your name.” I will save that for the next blog.
I have just finished reading the book Killing Crazy Horse. Earlier I wrote a summary on the book. In this post I will write about how the book has affected me. That is, to give my thoughts on what should have been done differently; also, what should be done now to help the Indians.
The Tragedy of the Indian Wars: No Winners
Clearly, I think the Indian wars, and the outcome, was and is a tragedy. There were no winners. And the reason is because of our sin: our greed, our pride, our selfishness, and our desire for revenge (on both sides). Some may think that the white man were the winners and the Indians were the losers, because the white man was able to kill so many of the Indians and to drive them off their lands, and to basically take whatever they wanted for themselves. However, I don’t think that makes them true winners, especially in the eyes of God.
Some may even have regarded the Indians as evil savages, and a people not worth saving—maybe even like the Canaanites that Joshua was commanded to destroy. But we definitely can’t make that comparison. All the reading I have done on when the white man (Columbus, those on the Mayflower, Lewis and Clark) first came in contact with the Indians, they were mainly friendly. They are different and have a different lifestyle, but that does not make them bad or of lesser worth—as some would suggest.
Accepting the Differences
I thought it was interesting that Crazy Horse himself regarded his people as like animals, that they lived off of the land. And they apparently do not have the same desire as the white man to build and develop and prosper in the way they do. They have other ways of prospering—by connecting with nature. It seems to me that much more could have been done from the start to get along with the Indians, even to do more to try to understand them and befriend them. I think our government should have done more—instead of just trying to drive them off their land.
The Big Problem: The White Man’s Greed
I think the biggest problem with the white man and with the U. S. government was dealing with the great influx of people to America, who had such a great desire to move in and prosper off the land. They had great desires to go west, to explore, to farm, and to mine gold, etc. Hence, there was a great deal of greed in every heart, and many had the gold fever.
The Criminal Government Policies
The thing that really drove the people west without much regard for the Indians was the unjust and criminal government policies toward the Indians. For example, President James Monroe endorsed a “sea to shining sea mandate,” that gave all American whites the encouragement to live wherever they wanted without regard to the Indians. And later, President Grant who first had a peace policy with the Indians, made a decision to use ultimate military force to steal the Black Hills away from the Indians (because the white man wanted the gold there). And President Grover Cleveland considered the Indians a nuisance and therefore made laws to open all Indian territory up to white settlements. In fact, most of the American Presidents were unjust toward the Indians and even commanded U. S. troops to either force them out or kill them. It was always the white man first. They always had priority over the land. Hence, in my opinion, most of the blame for the injustice toward the Indians should go on the American Presidents, but also on the U. S. military generals that seemed to have so much hatred in their heart—to do so much mutilation and killing of the Indians, esp. the women and children. They just slaughtered them!
In the end, the government decided to force the Indians onto government owned reservations. They took their weapons away and they were not allowed to hunt for food. Instead, the government gave them boxes of food, just enough to survive. The reservations became like a prison. Many Indians still live on reservations, and I have heard that most are worse than third-world countries.
I wish I knew what could be done for the Indians. First, I think we should educate all whites on what actually happened—the Indian wars and abuses. Then we need to change our policies and reverse the bad decisions that were made. And we need to make more effort in doing the right things, and to interact with the Indians and find out what they want and how we can help them and lift them up to restore their dignity. I think Indians have so much to offer this world. They are good people and should not have been treated so badly. What can we do to lift them up?
In general, fasting is abstinence from food for spiritual reasons; it is that personal discipline that aids us in our spiritual life.
To start, I want to tell you that I am not a regular faster, nor do I enjoy even the thought of it. But as any discipline, I know that it has its purpose; and so, as I present this information—which happens to be in the chapter of the book I am blogging through, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount—I am now trying to follow God’s will if He should guide me to fast. I will now present to you the follow four points:
The Biblical Basis for Fasting
Some would argue that in this day of grace, in this New Testament era, we should not be fasting. But clearly, there is a biblical basis for it, both in the Old and New Testament. As D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones points out, under the Law of Moses the children of Israel were commanded to fast once a year. And there are several examples of Old Testament fasting. Fasting is also mentioned in the New Testament. It is not directly commanded or taught by Jesus, but is indirectly taught and approved of by Jesus, since He Himself fasted (Matt. 4:2), and so did the early church (Acts13:2-3; 14:23).
Lloyd-Jones points out that the problem many are having now with fasting is clearly an over-reaction against Catholicism; for you recall from history that fasting was a huge part of the Catholic religion and clearly was an incorrect use of it.
The Wrong Use of Fasting
If we stick to what fasting basically is, a discipline that aids us in pray and in our spiritual relationship with God, that will keep us from any wrong use of it. With that being said, here are four wrong uses:
1. Fasting should not be done as a good work in itself.
2. Fasting should not be done to try to make yourself more disciplined or more spiritual.
3. Fasting should not be done to get a blessing from God or to be more prosperous.
4. Fasting should not be done to see if we can achieve some personal fasting goal—for example, to try to fast for a certain length of time. Overall, fasting itself will not please God. It should not be an end it itself. It is always to be regarded as a means to an end and not as an end in itself.
Correct Purposes for Fasting
Again, we will begin with the definition of fasting, which is a discipline to aid us in our spiritual life. From there we derive the following purposes:
1. To aid us in our lack of faith in doing some spiritual work (example: casting out a demon, Matt. 17:19-21).
2. Basically it is to be closer to God. We get this from Mark 2:18-20, where Jesus explains that His disciples did not fast because they were with Him, and so they had no need to fast. But after Jesus would be “taken away from them,” then they would fast—for obvious reasons.
3. As an aid in doing a special work of God, which would require a special spiritual guidance (example: Acts 14:2-3, choosing Barnabas and Saul as missionaries; Acts 14:23, appointing elders).
4. To receive help from God when faith is lacking (Example: the nation of Israel fasted when Moab and Ammon came against them and they were afraid, 2 Chron. 20:3).
How to Act When Fasting
Just as with giving and praying, fasting, Jesus said, is a practice of righteousness (Matt. 6:2, 5, 16), and therefore, we should do these things without sounding a trumpet, as to inform those around us what we are doing. For any act of our Christianity should be an act of humility and just between us and God. Fasting therefore should be done in secret, or, without people knowing that we are doing it. Hence, we shouldn’t draw attention to what we are doing by not washing or shaving. We should rather look as normal as possible. And if we are worried that we will not get our proper recognition, we can take comfort in the fact that God sees everything we do and will secretly reward us (Matt. 6:18).
“And whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17 “But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face 18 so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. NASB
I’ve been reading the book, Killing Crazy Horse: The Merciless Indian Wars in America. It’s been quite informative for me. Those Indian wars were not at all like it has been portrayed on TV. It was so gruesome, so bloody!
I learned that for the most part, the beginning of the conflict with the Indians had most to do with our (the white man’s) desire to expand and own land. And we were unwilling to share with or negotiate peacefully with the Indians; so, we took steps to run them off. I was surprised that most of our Presidents not only did not like the Indians, but were all in favor of either moving them out of the way or exterminating them. And the whites in those days regarded the Indians the same way as they regarded the blacks: as less than human. In fact, many of the Indians that were captured were used as slaves just like the blacks.
As the book tells the story, the Indian wars began in the south, in Florida and Georgia. That was the territory of the Creek Nation—the name of the Indians there. Well anyway, as more and more of the white man moved in to that area conflicts arose. The white man did not always respect the Indians, and the Indians in turn were raiding the white man, and also other Indian tribes—mainly just to stay alive. Soon, as the conflicts increased, our Presidents at that time—Madison, Monroe, and Jackson took it upon themselves to order the U. S. military to either move the Indians or destroy them. One of terrible tragedies for the Indians occurred when thousands of Cherokee Indians were forcibly moved from their homeland in the southeast; they forced them to walk over a thousand miles across mountains and in cold weather to west of the Mississippi. Over 4,000 died along the way of starvation, and frostbite. It was called the “Trail of Tears.” The Army was supposed to treat them well, but their orders were disregarded. Many of the Indians were peaceful and compliant even as they suffered; but some of the tribes, later, like the Apache and the Comanche had strong chiefs and did not lay down so easily.
It was apparent to me that the Indian wars were not at all just. In fact, there didn’t seem to be any rules of war. Most of the fighting was not only to the death, but the fighting on both sides was angry and cruel. They fought not only to kill but to torture and humiliate and massacre. And it seemed like both sides enjoyed killing the weaker and innocent—the women and small children. On one occasion, when a group of 700 Army troops came into an Indian camp expecting to find Crazy Horse and his men, they were surprised to find that they were all gone, except 100 women and children. Well, they left no one alive. Scalps were taken, heads were severed, and they were all horribly mutilated. I guess I was wrong to think that only the Indians took scalps.
Well, don’t you know that Crazy Horse had his revenge. At one massacre of 81 U. S. soldiers, all of them were left naked in the bitter cold, “eyes torn out, noses cut off…teeth chopped out…brains taken out… hands and feet cut off…private parts severed,” etc. It is easy to see that there was something evil going on in these wars. There was more than just hatred. I think there must have been Satanic and demonic spirits controlling them. Who could do such things? I had no idea that this went on. And the savagery was not just by the Indians. It was by both sides. And it was not just men against men; it was on all, women as well as children, even infants.
We have been so shocked to hear about the terrible things ISIS has done. Well, now I know that that kind of brutality has been going on for centuries. And I am so ashamed now to learn how this nation got its start, with so many of our Presidents and leaders approving and directing the Indian killings.
In Matthew 6:1-4 Jesus taught us how not to practice our righteousness, mainly in terms of our giving to the poor. Then in verses 5-8, He tells us how not to practice our prayers. He said,
“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
From this passage we may identify two sins while going to prayer, or even in prayer. The first is that we may pray to be known and seen by others. We can call this sin…
1. Putting the Focus on Self When We Pray
So, first of all, when you hypocrites pray you are anxious to be known by others as being a great prayer warrior, or a holy man of prayer. Perhaps in your prayer group you get pleasure knowing that people think of you as a person of prayer. And so, thinking that they may regard you that way, you do everything possible to support their thoughts. Thus, you are quick to be the first to pray, and you will pray extra loud so that they can hear you.
But not only is the prayer-hypocrite anxious to be known by others as a person of prayer, he also wants to be seen as a man or woman of prayer. So, you may position yourself to be seen praying. Do you have a prayer room in your church? Do you enjoy having people see you go into the prayer room?
Prayer should not be that way. Prayer, Jesus said, is to God only. It is not for the eyes and ears of others. We should work on not being conscience of each other’s praying—that is, how they pray. Rather, when we pray, we should be carried on the wings of prayer so that we are always thinking on God.
The second sin we often commit in prayer is…
2. Thinking Too Much on The Form and Length of Time We Pray
We think that we will be heard for our beautiful words of prayer. You may think of this as “vain repetitions.” Perhaps you have heard of the terms “counting beads,” or “prayer wheels,” or “walking a labyrinth.” And many take great pride in repeating prayers over and over, thinking that this impresses God or others, or even yourself.
In all of what is said here, it is all the sin of self and pride—even in prayer. It is the sin of self-worship and self-adulation. When we try to worship God in our pride, we are actually worshipping self. Now we know that the best picture of man is to look at him on his knees waiting upon God. But even in that picture man sins if he thinks about himself as performing a holy act before God. Hence, sin is something that follows us into the presence of God.
So, when you pray try to shut out and forget yourself or what other are thinking about you. Instead realize that you are in the presence of God and that He is listening to you and wants to meet your needs. Realize that He knows all your needs already and He desires to give you what you ask for.
Jesus, in Matthew 6:1-4, in His Sermon on the Mount, said…
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
2 “When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 “But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing 4 that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
This is a subject that, I think, is most problematic for Christians—how to live a righteous life before the world. It is problematic because our sinful pride seems to always creep in so that we want to be noticed by others in order that they will think well of us.
Here are four supporting principles of the theme of this passage:
1. Knowing the balance between Matthew 5:16 and Matthew 6:1. In Matthew 5:16 Jesus tells us that we are to let our light shine before men. But then in 6:1 He tells us, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them. So, at first glance it seems to be a contradiction. But really it is not if we are careful to look at all the details. It is clear in the first passage that we are to let our light shine before the world. But the motive is clearly that God would be glorified. And this is made clearer in 6:1, but stated differently. Hence, we are not to practice our works before men “to be noticed by them.” That is, that they would think well of us. We must shine before them in such a way that they will see Christ in us. And that attitude of the Christian is most important—because, if we do not have this attitude, we will lose our reward; and the non-Christian is also misled.
2.We are always to do our righteousness to please God not self. And we will always end up doing one or the other. In the flesh we will do to please self, and in the Spirit, we will do to please God. Now the question before us is this: Do we do things for others so that they will please us back? Or do we do things for others so that they will see us as a Christian and move closer to God.
3. Do we live the righteous life for a closer relationship with Him? In all our righteous acts, we should be seeking to be closer to Him and to please Him. And if we do this, we will be constantly realizing that He is always present with us.
4. It is always good to desire to see Him and be rewarded by Him. Do not seek to be pleased by others or that they will think well of us. But it is always good to seek His rewards; and we should know that He sees everything we do, and He plans to reward us for every good deed.
Also, do not take pride in your unselfishness. Some people keep a journal and they record all the good things they do each day. Don’t do that! Forget about them. God keeps a record of it and He will reward you. Think instead about what God has done for you and how thankful you are.
Source: Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Pictured above is my latest book. I just finished it. It’s not really out yet, but if you want to buy it I can get it for you. Let me know by email and I will send you a copy. My address is: email@example.com. I have already blogged most of the info in this book on my prophecy blog, but I can at least give you my outline now.
JUST BEFORE THE RAPTURE
PART ONE: ON EARTH AFTER THE RAPTURE
Immediate Effects of the Rapture
Different Theories Emerge
Setting up A Global Government
A New Global Religion
A New Global Religion — Part Two
The Rise of the Antichrist
The Rise of the Antichrist — Part Two
The Ezekiel Invasion
The Third Temple
PART TWO: IN HEAVEN AFTER THE RAPTURE
The Judgment Seat of Christ
The Marriage of the Lamb
My VA doctors say I am a type 2 diabetic, so I need to keep my carbs down to at least 150 a day. If I do that I am fine and I feel good. If not, I’m in trouble. Anyway, though its not fun, I find that it help not only my physical being but my spiritual life as well. Suffering in the flesh always helps a Christian. (read 1 Peter 4:1)
ABook I’m Reading
I just started reading Lincoln’s Last Trial, by Dan Abrams. I’m loving it. I’m finding out a lot about Lincoln that I didn’t know before. He was a great lawyer and an honest one. Anyway, it is a great read and I may read more of Dan Abram’s books.