Christian Prayer “Does Not Help” #3

Friday, May 31, 2019

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9 KJV).

Indeed, the Lord’s words are true even now!

What was the nation Israel’s principal problem during Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry? He pinpointed it in today’s Scripture: “[they were] teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Instead of holding to God’s Word—especially the Law of Moses, their chief Divine operating instructions—they had substituted it with manmade teachings. Having divorced themselves from God’s thoughts—and ultimately, His power—they were spiritually debilitated.

The physically blind, physically deaf, physically mute, and physically paralyzed who Jesus healed were perfect illustrations of Israel spiritually blind, spiritually deaf, spiritually mute, and spiritually paralyzed. They were unable to see God’s truth, unable to hear His words, unable to speak His words, and unable to walk in His ways. Their manmade teachings were the very reason why they ultimately crucified Him on Calvary. Had they maintained and believed God’s pure Word—the Old Testament Scriptures—they would have seen and trusted Jesus as Messiah. Since they abhorred the Scriptures, they despised the God-Man to whom those very verses pointed.

Even now, repeating the gross chief sin of Israel, Christendom has largely pushed aside the Bible. They quote occasionally (provided it supports their denominations), but their doctrines are overwhelmingly devoid of God’s Word. Hence, their tenets are shallow, their prayers are powerless, and their rituals and ceremonies are repulsive. They have no idea what God is doing today, for they have not handled His Word His way. Instead of “studying… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), they have muddled the various directions God has issued through time individually.

What is the remedy? The Lord’s spokesman to us Gentiles today is the Apostle Paul (Romans 11:13). Friend, do you want effectual prayers, those that actually carry eternal value? Try Ephesians 1:15-23, Ephesians 3:11-21, Philippians 1:9-11, and Colossians 1:9-13. These model Pauline prayers highlight what God is doing in this the Dispensation of Grace. If you pray according to them, never shall you be able to say, “Christian prayer does not help!”

Brethren, to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, we now close 8 full years of “333 Words of Grace!” Thank you for praying for us thus far, and by God’s grace, we now aim for another 8 years!

NOTE: Dear Saints, it is with great pleasure that I announce all 90 videos (over 104 hours of teaching) of our Old Testament Survey Project are now online and ready to watch! Click here. Praise our Lord Jesus Christ!

Christian Prayer “Does Not Help” #2

Thursday, May 30, 2019

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9 KJV).

Indeed, the Lord’s words are true even now!

Christ was citing Isaiah 29:13, penned over 700 years prior: “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:….” Whether in Isaiah’s ministry, or His own ministry, the Lord Jesus knew the reprehensible predicament of His nation Israel.

They paid Him “lip service:” they read Moses’ writings aloud, sang the psalms, and uttered elaborate prayers. Despite that “fair shew [beautiful exhibition] in the flesh” (Galatians 6:12,13), their innermost being lacked faith. They were not obeying the Scriptures by faith; instead of using that God-given religion to worship Him, they were worshipping the religion itself. While claiming to “love God,” they were unbelieving concerning His words. Their outward appearance was hypocritical, masking their true intentions. God was not fooled then, and He is not fooled today.

Frankly, religious tradition has so preoccupied so-called “Christian” people that their prayers are oftentimes doctrinally worthless. Of course, such prayers are also “useless.” They are recited with the assumption that they can manipulate or force God to agree with their every whim and grant their every wish.

Instead of opening His Bible, and approaching it “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15)—rather than carefully noticing what verses are to and about them and what verses are not to and about them—they see anything and everything in Scripture as applicable to them. They claim prayer promises God never gave them, and then grow upset and disappointed when He does not react as they supposed He would! Such “unanswered prayers” constantly bother Christians and non-Christians alike. If this is how we handle Scripture, no wonder people loathe “Christian prayer” and rather seek help from “eastern religions!” Almighty God, the Holy Bible, and Christianity are not the problem. We in our carelessness are the problem….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How was Moses ‘very meek?’

Christian Prayer “Does Not Help” #1

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9 KJV).

Indeed, the Lord’s words are true even now!

Some poor soul recently wrote: “I have found that doing mindfulness meditation has brought peace to my mind more than prayer has, so the eastern religions do have something to offer. I cannot say that I agree with everything they teach, but I do know that I have solved my fears by doing meditations and Christian prayer has done nothing. If it works for you, great.”

We can only wonder what “Christian prayer” means there. Mindful of the widespread superstition often associated with prayer, it is most likely something pagan (non-Christian) being passed off as Christian. Whatever it is, the individual freely confesses it has been found to be useless. Such distaste for “Christian prayer” is not at all shocking. Listen to the average Christian pray, and it is apparent how little Scripture they really know. Most preachers are ignorant as well. Scant, if any, verses undergird those words. They pray according to what God did in the past, they pray in line with what He will do in the future, but they do not pray according to what He is doing today. When He does not do what they assumed He would do, when their prayer requests fail to materialize, then frustrations and doubt overwhelm.

Once, I met a lady with a limited education. She could not read the Bible (although she owned a family one). How she loved to read her prayer book though! She spent hours repeating that prayer book every day. When I flipped through it, I noticed it was all empty religious tradition. There was no clear Gospel message in any of it. It was pagan superstition. Her “Christian” denomination had taught her she did not need the Bible, only her church’s approved literature!

Hundreds of millions of such souls exist around the world. If someone actually uses his or her brain, and discovers the nonsense, the Bible is assumed to have the problem. Now we see why people often scoff at “Christian prayer….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the difference between apostasy and heresy?

A Heart Matter

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee (Psalm 119:11 KJV).

Today’s Scripture, believe it or not, lies at the heart of prayer.

Like innumerable other Christian subjects, prayer is terribly misunderstood. Superstition thus lurks in this realm. Since not considered dispensationally, prayer is usually such an unspeakable burden, a taxing exercise with mysterious and often unexpected results. Little wonder so many stumble therein!

As God has already spoken to us through His Word, the Holy Bible, so we now speak to Him through prayer. Prayer, of course, must be “Pauline” if it will have the impact Father God intended. The only way our prayers can be Pauline is if our doctrine is Pauline—harmonious with what the Lord says to us through the Apostle Paul (Ephesians 3:1,2). We cannot force God to do something He is no longer doing. Yanking verses from other dispensations, claiming prayer promises God never gave us, is a sure way to wind up a bitter opponent of Christianity!

God the Holy Spirit speaks in Romans through Philemon, then we read and store or believe that information with the heart (cf. today’s Scripture). Psalm 62:8 comments: “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” Prayer is heartfelt communion with Father God—not mindless repetition of denominational proclamations!

Watch how Hannah prayed: “And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD (1 Samuel 1:12-15). She read God’s Word to her—particularly the Mosaic Law—and she prayed according to it. Scripture was in her heart, and her prayer was the pouring out of her soul. This led to the birth of the Prophet Samuel.

Brethren, our prayers will be equally powerful when we pray the Pauline way!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should Christians celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Superstitious!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (Ephesians 4:14,15 KJV).

Without further delay, we need to guard against superstition.

When tragedy strikes, people plead for God to stop it. They pray for the criminal’s apprehension, a miraculous recovery from an illness or mortal injury, floodwaters to recede, earthquakes to cease, poverty and war to disappear. When these things continue, it is supposed that God does not love them, was not listening, or could not care less. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Dear friends, what masquerades as “Christianity” is usually nothing but vain superstition. Most church members have not a clue as to what God is doing today—not a clue! How skilled they are in what God did in time past—miracles, signs, wonders, Sabbath days, water baptism, tithing, et cetera. They are naïve as to what He is doing in the but now. Dispensational Bible study is completely foreign to them; hence, they cannot find where they fit in God’s timeline for the ages. They are totally unable to locate their information in Scripture. They just grab whatever verses fit their agenda/denomination; context means nothing.

The most inconspicuous place for superstition in a Christian’s life is prayer. Doubtless, superstition abounds in most prayer lives. Church members are asking or demanding God do things He is not doing today. He has already declared in His Word to us, the Pauline epistles of Romans through Philemon, what He is doing today. However, they go to the rest of Scripture—what God did long ago and what He will do yet future—and try to make Him do that now. We cannot make God do something He is not doing. Just because the Bible says it, that does not mean that it is God’s Word to us. Do we build a boat as Genesis chapter 6 says? Do we bring a trespass offering for touching an unclean animal as Leviticus chapter 5 commands? See, stop grabbing things haphazardly from the Bible and start respecting contexts.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “But what if they read the Bible at my church…?!

Praying Like Elijah #20

Monday, March 9, 2015

“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” (James 5:17 KJV).

Why did Elijah pray like this, what was so special about his prayer that God answered it, and how can we have our prayers answered of God?

Prayer, and its fundamental level, is talking to God in light of His Word to us. When saints in Israel’s program prayed, they saw visible manifestations of divine intervention. They saw angels, they saw miraculous healings and raisings of the dead, and so on, because that is what God said He would do for them (“the Jews require a sign;” 1 Corinthians 1:22). What did Jesus say to Israel? “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe!” (John 4:48). Actually, according to Jesus, anyone asking for a miracle today is really saying, “God, I need a miracle before I believe!”

Dispensational Bible study guards against such Bible mishandling. There are no such promises of signs, miracles, and wonders, given to us in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Rather, God is working invisibly today. “We walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Today, God’s Word is working in us when we believe it, to “renew our minds” (Romans 12:2), to “renew our inner man” (2 Corinthians 4:17). Paul, our pattern, was never spared trouble. Rather, he had God’s power so that the trouble would not destroy him. This is our identity in Jesus Christ, our provisions in Jesus Christ, to handle all circumstances, good or bad (Philippians 4:13).

We should not use prayer as a “use-the-right-words-to-get-something-from-God” scheme. Prayer is simply an intelligent understanding to what God has already said in His Word, has already given us in Christ, and then believing and repeating it back to Him so that that Word works in us. Prayer is designed to be a blessing, not a burden as religious confusion makes it. Dispensational Bible study is thus critical to our prayer life, for without right division, we would have no prayer life at all! Let us never forget to pray the Pauline way! 🙂

FINIS!

You may also see our study, “Praying With Paul,” for more information about Pauline prayer.

Praying Like Elijah #19

Sunday, March 8, 2015

“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” (James 5:17 KJV).

Why did Elijah pray like this, what was so special about his prayer that God answered it, and how can we have our prayers answered of God?

When we pray for things and do not get them, it is not because God is unconcerned or unloving. Oh, dear saint, never entertain such foolishness! Unanswered prayer results when we demand He do for us what He said He would do only for Israel. Rather than praying as denominational tradition encourages—asking God to remove or protect us from problems (“give me good health, safe trips, ‘miracle debt cancellation,’” and so on)—we remember God’s attitude concerning contentment, that Jesus Christ strengthens us to handle all circumstances, good and bad (Philippians 4:11-13).

Father God is concerned, for He gave us His power to endure our difficulties. We find value in tribulations, for these troubles work patience, which works experience, which works hope, and hope makes us not ashamed, “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:1-5). Troubling times remind us that we are weak, insufficient in and of ourselves; however, God’s grace, love, and power will get us through them. We rely more on Him, experiencing more fully and using the provisions He gave us in His Son: His peace consoles us in our difficult circumstances (2 Corinthians 1:3-11).

Our focus should not be on what we can see (physical circumstances), but, by faith, seeing what we cannot physically see—God’s Word working in us as we endure those troubles (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18; see also verses 19-28).

The indwelling Holy Spirit takes this sound doctrine that we believe and pray (Romans 8:26,27), and activates it (1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 4:12), causing us to not only understand it but enabling us to have the life the doctrine describes….