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God has given Christians their very own special way to protest – it’s called “prayer”.
I mention this because some Christians don’t seem to have gotten that memo.
If you don’t like the way things are, you take it to God. You pray about it.
Christians protest through prayer.
I’ll say that again, a little louder for those who still haven’t heard:
CHRISTIANS PROTEST THROUGH PRAYER.
We don’t carry signs and make demands of the world: We pray. We ask God to change what we don’t like (through divine intervention), or we ask him to help us to accept what we don’t like or to help us find a workaround for it.
Either way, we go to God, just like Jesus did (and just like Jesus taught us to do). We don’t stand in public making a big show of it; we go into the privacy of our room (or our head) and we talk to God. We air our grievances in quiet petition to God, not in noisy protest to the world.
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record (and I apologize for that), but this needs to be said one more time. There are some Christians reading this who still don’t get it.
Christians are to protest through private or group prayer, and preferably not in public. The only time Jesus prayed aloud in public was when he was making a point (namely, that he was the Messiah), in which case he’d preface his prayers by saying something like “Father, I know you always hear me, but I’m saying this so that the people here will know you sent me.” And then God would work a miracle through him. But otherwise, when he wanted to pray, Jesus went off by himself. He told us to go into our room to pray. He didn’t say anything about taking it to the street. Jesus at no time participated in mass public protests. So if Jesus didn’t do it, neither should we.
The only petitions you should be supporting are those sent to God in prayer.
Please consider this the next time you’re tempted to “do something” in response to a grievance.
As a Christian, prayer should be your first and last and one-and-only form of protest.
Take it to God, not to the street.
God gave us free will as our birthright. In fact, our will is the only thing we own; everything else belongs to God.
It’s important that we understand that.
It’s even more important to understand that God respects our free will. That means, he won’t override it.
Then how do we get God to intervene when we need his help?
Prayer gives permission to God to intervene in our lives.
When we pray, we hit the override button on our free will.
God knows what we need, but we need to ask him in order for him to be able to override our free will.
So ask him!
Jesus says we don’t have because we don’t ask. We need to ask God – that is, to make an inward and/or outward statement FROM THE HEART – if we want him to intervene. If we don’t do that, even though God knows we need something, he’s not going to intervene because he respects our free will.
I’ve written before about prayer simply being a conversation with God. But prayer, sadly, is something most people only do on occasion or for special purposes, whereas Paul tells us we need to “pray without ceasing”, that is, to pray ALL THE TIME.
We need to ask God for help and advice through prayer all the time, not just on special occasions or before we fall asleep at night. We need to keep a running conversation with God all the time.
“You have not because you ask not.”
God’s people are strong-willed, even though to the world they might look otherwise. Unfortunately, strong-willed people tend also to be very independent and to think they can do everything for themselves, leaving God out of the picture. But even as strong as Jesus was (and he was by far the strongest person who ever lived), he still kept a running conversation with God, meaning that he prayed for God’s help and guidance all the time.
We need to do the same.
All the time.
Because tests and temptations come at us non-stop. We may not see them as such, but they are. So we need to give God permission to intervene in every aspect of our lives, not just the “spiritual” parts. We need to ask his help and guidance when we choose our meals and our clothing, when we’re doing business deals, when we’re dealing with difficult people, when we’re going shopping – whatever choices we make in the run of a day, we need to get God’s help and guidance. We can even ask him to get the dog next door to stop barking. God will do that, if you ask him. Or if for some reason he chooses not to stop the dog from barking, he’ll at least make it so the barking doesn’t disturb you anymore. But he won’t do that if you don’t ask him.
This is what Jesus meant when he says “YOU HAVE NOT BECAUSE YOU ASK NOT.”
We need to ask. We need to keep the conversation with God running all day long, like Jesus did. God should be the first one we greet when we wake up in the morning, and the last one we say good-night to before we fall asleep. During the day, we should know he’s with us like a faithful companion and always ready to intervene at our word. But you have to ask. Yes, God knows everything, but you still need to ask. You need to give God permission, because he will not override your free will without your explicit permission.
If you do nothing else today, open a conversation with God and keep it going until the day you die. Know that God is with you at all times through his Spirit and he wants to guide and help you in everything you do. Give him permission for each thing you want help with, and remember to thank him. Thank Jesus, too, because he’s also with you in Spirit. We’re all one family in God’s Spirit. Jesus promised us we would be, and so we are.
If we have not it’s because we ask not.
So let’s ask!
Like Jesus, I am no stranger to confrontation. In fact, in this ongoing revolution called “being a Christian in an anti-Christ world”, confrontation should be a daily occurrence – not with unbelievers (Jesus didn’t bother them) but with those who say they know God yet by their words and actions prove otherwise.
Enter Exhibit A: “Prayer warriors”. Never mind the stupidity of the phrase; let’s look at what these self-hyped “warriors” think they’re accomplishing. (more…)
Jesus is very clear about how we are to treat people who hate us: We are to be kind to them and pray for them.
We are not to seek revenge in any way or to curse them. We are to be kind to them and pray for them.
Praying means to be kind in our mind, not just in our words or actions.
There is no way that you can do either of those things (be kind and pray for people who hate you) without the help of God’s spirit. (more…)
Prayer is the most powerful force in the universe. Through prayer, we open a direct line of communication with God who not only created the universe but is also able to completely destroy it, if he so chooses. This is the level of power we’re talking about. Paul says to “pray without ceasing”, which is what we do when we’re consciously in the presence of God. No words are needed. God is in the house, and we’ve got his full attention.
When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, he first warned them against reciting “vain repetitions” like the “heathen” do, but instead gave them examples of how to open a conversation with God. He said: Ask him to get you something good to eat today. He said: Tell him you’re looking forward to his kingdom coming to Earth. He said: Tell him that you want your will to align with his, so that your will and his will are one. He said: Call him “Dad”. Then, somewhere along the line, maybe in translation or maybe on purpose, these very different ideas for conversation-openers with God got all merged together into one long vain repetition and became the very thing that Jesus warned us about.
The “Our Father” (or “The Lord’s Prayer”) was never meant to be a “prayer”. At the very most, it could serve as the words for a song, but it shouldn’t be used for praying. Prayer is simply having a conversation with God: your spirit with his spirit. If you’re born-again, God’s your Dad. Imagine what your earthly Dad would think if you called out to him, he came running, and then you stood in front of him looking skywards or with your eyes closed, your hands folded in front of you or extended, palms upward, and you babbled on and on and on about something that didn’t have anything to do with your current problems or interests and wasn’t even reflective of what was going on in your mind at the time? And even when your father tried to interject to find out what it was that you wanted, you just kept babbling on and on as if you didn’t hear him? Imagine if you did that every single time you called to your father and he came running. What do you think he’d think about you? What would you think if your child did the same to you? At some point, I think you’d either stop listening to your child or you’d call for psychiatric intervention. Children of sane minds do not talk to their father like that.
And yet, this is exactly what God, our heavenly Father, hears from most of us when we ‘pray’. It’s sad, really, because God is our Dad. Jesus told us that. Our Dad created prayer as a means for us to talk to him and hear from him. We can talk to him just like we can talk to our earthly Dad. He loves it so much when we talk to him! There’s never a time when he’s not available or when it’s not convenient for him. He never says: Go away, I’m busy. He never says: Call me later. He never says: Hold the line; I’ve got another prayer coming in. He’s always ready and waiting and he’s always all ours. The line is always open. It’s not even necessary to say anything to him. You can just share that wonderful comfortable silence of being together alone with someone you love.
For the three and a half years that I was a Catholic, I took Paul’s words to “pray without ceasing” to mean that I should recite the “Hail Mary” all day long. And so I did. I “prayed” the rosary three times a day, morning, noon and night, which amounted to something like 150+ repetitions, book-ended by a dozen or so “Our Father’s” and two rounds of mass. I also, every day, prayed about an hour’s worth of vain repetitions to angels and to assorted Saints This-and-That, which was in complete violation of God’s commandment and edicts. I wouldn’t have done any of it had I known what I was doing was wrong, but I didn’t know. As a Catholic, I was not encouraged to read the Bible to get informed. Had I read the Bible, I would have known about vain repetitions and about not praying to angels and dead people. But Catholics are warned not to study the Bible on their own because (or so they’re told) they lack the ability to understand it without the help of a priest or other official minister of God.
As a Catholic, I was told God was my Heavenly Father, but I wasn’t told that I could get to know him one on one, like Jesus knew him. For Catholics, God is always addressed as thee and thou and thine; God is always out there somewhere – up in the sky or in a box at the side of the altar. He’s never right here, right now, with us, and he’s certainly never right here, right now, inside us. Not for Catholics. Only the pope and priests and some special dead people have a ‘direct connection’ with God. The rest of us rabble have to settle for repeating vain repetitions in the hopes that if we accumulate enough frequent prayer points, we might win a trip to Heaven with a stopover in purgatory.
Sadly, the idea of prayer is even used as a form of punishment in the Catholic organization. After we confess our sins to a priest (not having a direct line of communication with God, we have no other option but to tell our sins to a priest), we’re invariably told that our sins are forgiven as long as we go and “say” ten Hail Mary’s and a few Our Father’s. That’s all it takes. Mumble a few words, and you’re good to go. You don’t even have to mean them.
This is what prayer has become in the largest so-called Christian organization in the world: The most powerful force in the universe has been reduced to a hurried recitation of some old-fashioned words that don’t even really make any sense anymore. How Satan is laughing at us, if he still can! He knows (though most of us appear not to) how powerful prayer is, and how ready and willing God is to intervene at even the slightest change in our thought direction. Remember what Jesus said when he was arrested? He said all he had to do was ask God and he would immediately send 12 legions of angels to rescue him.
That’s a lot of angel power, 12 legions. He probably could have made do with just one angel, if all he wanted to do was get rescued. Twelve legions (approximately 58,000 angels) would have destroyed all of Israel and then some.
This is the kind of power I’m talking about when I say that prayer is the most potent force in the universe. God is not only willing but more than able to move Heaven and Earth for us; all we need to do is ask.
But sometimes we don’t even need to do that. The most powerful prayer I ever prayed was exactly two words long, and one of those words didn’t even make it past my lips. And here’s the kicker – I didn’t know I was praying. I was an atheist. Atheists don’t pray. The words came from a place so deep down inside me that I can only identify it, in hindsight, as my spirit. They were the last gasps of a soul so weighed down by sin that it could no longer properly form words. But God heard. However unintelligible those words were, God heard. He’d been waiting a long time to hear from me. Even before the second word had finished forming in me, he’d swooped down and caught me up in his arms. Had he not, I know now I would have fallen. Forever.
This is prayer. It’s not repetitious mumbling and fumbling with bead counters – no. Prayer is your spirit connecting with God’s spirit, even if you don’t know you’re doing it. Jesus says that God knows what we need even before we ask him. But he still needs to hear us ask; he still needs our permission.
Through prayer, we control the most powerful force in the universe. And not only is this force powerful, it’s completely devoted to us.
So the next time someone tells you to bow your head and pray, tell them you don’t pray in public; you pray in private, like Jesus told you to. Tell them you don’t repeat vain repetitions because God doesn’t hear them. And tell them what they’re doing isn’t praying and that it’s a waste of time.
And then go somewhere alone and pray that they, too, come to know God as their Dad.
With the increase in killings and land-grabs by what Obama calls “violent extremists” (the newest PC term for Islamic terrorists), so-called Christian militias are forming to combat them. The aim of these militias is to protect the few ancient Christian villages remaining in Iraq and other war-torn nations, but their mandate is not from God.
Two words that don’t belong together are “Christian” and “militia”. Two words that can never go together are “Christian” and “militia”. Christians cannot fight in any militia, except one whose weapons are prayer and words.
Jesus made it very clear that those who live by the sword, die by the sword.
God made it very clear that he’s in charge of vengeance, and that we’re not to kill, not under any circumstance,
These terms are non-negotiable.
As Christians, our strategy should always be to avoid going places where we know God’s word is not welcome, and to leave our current location if we find out that God’s word is no longer welcome. This is what Jesus did, and we’re to follow his example.
If Christians in Iraq are being persecuted, they should leave – just up and leave, like Joseph and Mary and Jesus did. Leave with nothing but the clothes on their backs, if necessary. Staying and fighting is not an option. Not for Christians, anyway.
And as they leave, they should pray for those who are persecuting them and driving them from their homes.
It is not our duty, as Christians, to provide financial or spiritual support to an army that takes up weapons to kill in the name of Jesus. God doesn’t want us killing in Jesus’ name, and certainly neither does Jesus.
The people under attack in Iraq need to flee. This is a time-honored Christian strategy. Flee, and God will deal with the invaders and murderers. It’s not for Christians to deal with them in any way except prayer and words. The invaders have given them the option to flee, but instead Iraqi, and now also American and Canadian Christians have taken up arms in Iraq. This is the wrong response. They have made themselves murderers in God’s eyes. If just looking at a woman in lust makes you an adulterer, then picking up weapons with the intent to use them makes you a murderer.
Dwekh Nawsha is the name these so-called Christian militiamen have adopted for their militia. It’s an Aramaic phrase that means “self-sacrifice”.
God says: I require mercy, not sacrifice. These self-styled, self-sacrificing anti-Christ “Christian” killers strutting around Iraq with automatic weapons need to give their ego-swollen heads a shake: what they’re doing is not God’s will. It’s Satan’s will.
Someone needs to tell them the same thing that Jesus told the follower who whipped out his sword and cut off the ear of one of the soldiers taking Jesus to his crucifixion. Jesus said to this follower: Put your sword back in its place, for all those who draw the sword will die by the sword.
Those who kill are doing Satan’s will, not God’s will. No if’s, and’s, or but’s.
“Put your sword back in its place! And pray for those who are persecuting you.”