(11/01/2014) Is Prayer an Act of Faith?

Posted: November 1, 2014 in Confession, Daniel, Faith and Works, Grace, Judging Others, Perfection, Prayer, Repentance, Salvation, The Holy Spirit
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Today, more thoughts are shared on the effectiveness of the sinner’s prayer, its importance to ones salvation, and whether a person can be saved without it.  Also, there are points on building ones prayer life, and the continuing place of prayer among those aware of their immersion within divine salvation.  The spiritual power, purpose and substance of prayer also sets prayer apart as an indispensable aspect of ministry (i.e., open displays, exercise, and sharing of spirit content and gifts from divinity), of praise, and of divine visitation.  (James 5:  19-20, KJV)  Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;  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.

 

THE BATTLE AXE:  Saved by a Prayer? (10/31/2014)—(5.)  Prayer prepares a believer to discern and recognize the indirect operations of GOD through existing cycles and processes of the natural world as well as to receive and witness the sacred events (we say, miracles), interventions and direct action GOD may perform.  Those who accomplish salvation by praying some form of the sinner’s prayer must first have a commitment within themselves to engage GOD as alive, and having aspects of person.  In this beginners compare to the Prophet Daniel.  The Bible account of Daniel, who asked for sacred knowledge and understanding of prophecies regarding when the domination of the Jews by Babylon would end, is also excellent as a model displaying all the necessary aspects of effective prayer:  words reinforced by actions.  Daniel fasted (i.e., went without food, beverages, comforts, amusements and entertainment) and prayed for 21 days.  We are shown, however, that this did not influence or manipulate GOD.  A messenger was immediately dispatched by GOD to grant Daniel an answer in the same moment when Daniel first made a commitment within himself to ask GOD for guidance.  Within Daniel’s model prayer, in addition to his petitions and requests, Daniel confesses sin; acknowledges and affirms divine purpose; declares the name of GOD (i.e., specific deeds performed by divinity that are to be known and present within ones awareness whenever they are addressing or speaking about GOD); demonstrates knowledge of sacred origins for such features as covenant law, the earth, and mankind; humbles himself showing dependence, respect and reverence; and unselfishly intercedes on behalf of all the covenant people.  Despite the correctness and completeness of his prayer, Daniel first had to be enabled before he could speak his own feelings and thoughts to the messenger who appeared from GOD (see Daniel 9:  1-27 and 10:  1-21, KJV).  Daniel was able to receive multiple angelic visitations; yet, he still could not comprehend the breadth and depth of all that was revealed.  As a result, he himself could only share and spread knowledge of the prophecies in a limited way.

(6.)  Prayer fosters careful thought.  As a directed exchange and release of divine spirit content built up within a believer, the judgment of a prayer for its correctness and sacred quality may only be made by the one to whom it is offered.  Believers err when they condemn and criticize one another’s prayers.  Prayers consist of more than merely words and thoughts; they also communicate affirmation, confirmation, intention, purpose, resolve, and aspects of the divine makeup (e.g., faith, holiness, joy, love, peace).  Prayers should not be examined and ranked applying the secular standards for complex and elaborate language such as drama, elocution, rhetoric, and theater.  With this in view, the quality of a prayer is immeasurable; and no fixed price can be set upon prayer as though it is a commodity to be bought and sold, or a mundane service for hire.  Even so, prayers will vary according to such features as beauty, holy boldness, completeness, dutifulness (we say, discipline), gentleness, humility, piety, plainness of speech, prudence, sincerity, sweetness, and truth.  (Ecclesiastes 5:  2-3, KJV)  Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God:  for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth:  therefore let thy words be few.  For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.

(7.)  Praying in tongues, and utterance by the Holy Spirit are most regarded as genuine manifestations from GOD when not practiced casually or repeatedly in secular settings, and when appearing as spontaneous, unplanned and unrehearsed.  Prayer that reveals the active presence of GOD gives expression to divine intent and prophecy; is less an expression of ones own individual righteousness; and is more a presentation of instruction, needs and purposes for a collective (e.g., a family, a gathering, a congregation, a nation).  (1st Corinthians 14:  4-6, KJV)  He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.  I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied:  for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.  Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

(8.)  It is correct that what society might call “starter prayers” be used to promote the development of a child or a new believer’s prayer life.  Such prayers are no less effective as an outreach to GOD for their being brief, simple, employing rhyme as a device to make them easy to remember, or their being regularly repeatedly as a shared activity that furthers ones awareness and integrity as a member within the body of Christ.  In the early stages, the beginner’s prayers are made aloud, and “witnessed” by a parent or fellow believer.  The device of repetition only facilitates pattern acquisition, and learning of new behavior, language, and meanings to express ones inner spirit, and is not at the levels of manipulation, persuasion and programming we call “brainwashing” and thought-control.  While the spirit content that indwells every genuine member within the body of believers is emanated from the same origin and source, believers continue to be diverse and display a broad range of differences as their growth to perfection continues.  Included are such features as the number and nature of their worship experiences, levels of emotional and psychological maturity, their peculiar duties and responsibilities, their sacred knowledge, skills, and talents.  Because all believers eventually are to fashion and maintain their own regimen for uninterrupted prayer, many cultivate private prayer, that may be silent and unspoken, as the most complete and satisfying opportunity for personal expression, and intimate contact with the divine persons.  (Isaiah 66:  1-2, KJV)  Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool:  where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?  For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD:  but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

(9.)  Because acts and works that correctly express faith derive from the Holy Spirit who operates as the agent of Christ, their intent and purpose usually are to supply a believer with experiences from the life and ministry of Jesus.  Events occur that may be both simple and symbolic that are recognized as correctly displaying the Lord only when received as having both practical and spiritual weight.  A believer’s choice to willingly pray a simple sinner’s prayer out loud in public is a more basic expression of ones interest in the things of faith through Jesus Christ, yet, is no less a permanent commitment than the act of surrender to GOD depicted through water baptism.  The few words have power as an elemental cry from humanity, and appear before GOD as part of a heartfelt appeal along with the blood of the cross and wounds upon the body of the resurrected Christ.  Once a person’s words have been spoken before others within the sacred community, their words also must be repeatedly proclaimed and upheld by their actions.  In the church today, baptism generally follows an extended period of prayer, study and fellowship.  As with the sinner’s prayer, the visible human activity is simple.  However, the inner substance of the sinner must be completely replaced by a fresh endowment of divine spirit content.  The quiet, unseen process of sanctification is made visible by baptism; is humanly illustrated using both immersion and sprinkling; and is understood by a believer to be an inward purging to remove sin, not merely a washing of ones outside and surface.  Through operations of the same Holy Spirit that established heaven and earth as spheres for existence, the sinner is changed and transformed so they may express and carry out repentance.  Sinners are helped to see they are brought into covenant with GOD; have been made dead by their own sin; their body and inborn spirit are buried beneath the water; and they are receiving rebirth as new life partners to divinity.  Those born again also must gradually grow and mature.  Sinners are entered into a practical experience for spiritual change that occurs by challenge, growth, obedience, sacrifice and suffering.  (Luke 3:  21-22, KJV)  Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,  And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.)

 

There is far more to be said, correctly understood, and spiritually apprehended regarding prayer.  (For example, (10.)  The account of salvation obtained by a thief on the cross also includes words acknowledging divinity, confessing error, and requesting eternal life that may be discerned as the sinner’s prayer (Luke 23:  39-43, KJV).  Believers are to understand, it is not the formal religiousness and wording of prayer that establishes a right relationship with divinity so much as compassion, humility, respect, trust, and truth.  Clearly, a sinner may be saved by offering a single prayer, without also having opportunity to perform such sacred practices as baptism, church attendance, penitence, and tithing.  However, it is by resurrection, rather than prayer,  that the divine transformation is finally completed whereby mankind is permanently endowed as having immortality, incorruptibility, and perfection.  (Ephesians 2:  8-9, KJV)  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:   it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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