02/01/2016

Being Aware of Verbal Prayer

Posted in Finding Faith, Musings tagged , , , , , at 11:06 am by The Water Bearer

 

praying group

When a fellow believer unifies their heart to mine and to God’s presence in prayer it is an amazing event, and I have been blessed enough to experience this kind of unity a number of times just recently in fact. Yet sharing in verbal prayer is not a practice that I always find as comforting as some may think I should. Over the years I have noticed that some prayers don’t always sit quite right with me. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate verbal or group prayers’ certain place within the body of Christ, I listen intently to the words offered aloud, agreeing deep in my spirit when my heart harmonizes with what is being said. I am aware of the miraculous power sharing prayers can have, and yet sadly sometimes I notice that prayers can feel recited, watered down, and even at times heretic.

I wonder if perhaps I have an aversion to people praying aloud over me, from when I fell in with a false prophet for a brief period of time. At the time I had no idea she was a false prophet, as the evidence came to light later on. I was just thrilled to have made a friend who accepted me in all my faults, who at the lowest point of my life did not condemn me, who openly professed her belief in God and was happy to talk about the Bible and faith. Yet when she asked if she could pray over me I felt awkward, I noticed that her words didn’t line up with the Will of God as I understood it. She was trying to override His control, trying to get Him to change the circumstances He had put me in, rather than asking Him to empower me to accept His will, to guide my steps, to learn through the trials, to trust Him through the storm. No gratitude, No praise, No humility. As she prayed over me it made my skin crawl, and even though I fought myself trying to be polite and ride it out, I couldn’t and had to ask her to stop.

In Matthew 6:5-6 Jesus gives us direct guidance not to pray out loud and in public.

And when ye pray, ye shall not be as the hypocrites: for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee.

Have we forgotten how to value the purest communication with Our Heavenly Father? How intimate and wholehearted it should be?

Praying allowed, sixteen times a day, regardless of who is present, may seem like the most righteous practice around, and yet it is so simple to perform without righteousness. Careless use of prayer can be more harmful than good especially if God’s Will is not at the center, it may even push some away from the unity God’s people are intended to have. It won’t resonate the abundant power prayer can have when true unity is felt. Careless prayer may even guide some out of God’s will, if specific guidance is given when not prophesied directly from God.

Maybe my heart pulls this way because most of my experience with verbal prayer always came from my Dear Dad, who used to pray aloud with me whenever I desperately needed it. He always knew how to line up his heart with mine, and connect us in unity with Gods presence. Maybe it’s simply because I was spoiled to have shared that and I just miss his fervent prayers?

This post was not an easy one to publish, as it has the potential to be misinterpreted or taken out of context. It is tough to expose and put into words exactly how or why my spirit interprets prayer in this way. I guess I’d just hope to use this post as a gentle nudge to ask ourselves some honest questions about the true nature of our verbal prayers and to be wary of using them rashly, repetitively or without deep consideration.

 

hands in prayer

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11/12/2015

Imitation Faith

Posted in Finding Faith, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , at 1:51 pm by The Water Bearer

fake

One of the major reasons I have avoided religious institutions during my faith walk, is due to the abundance of Imitation Faith which I have witnessed, and I realise I am not alone in this. While I thoroughly love being part of a faith-group where I can share in worship, and servitude, which challenges me, and yet supports me in my faith walk, I have found it difficult to find lasting support for the type of relationship I have with my Lord and Saviour. Still I keep an open heart, an open mind, and a willing spirit to go wherever He directs me. The true test is to be completely myself and not contort into someone I feel the church might support, I must focus on the promise that God supports me, and that is all I need. That being said, I have been blessed many times within church walls as God has moved me in and about. In fact I am currently befriending a new congregation and excited to see how God moves there.

Evidence of Imitation Faith disheartens and upsets me. Sometimes the imitation is glaringly obvious, you can tell within one interaction. Often the imitation appears so similar to the genuine article, making it difficult to identify, and it can take quite some time to recognise. If there is the possibility of hearing from the Lord through a Donkey, we have to have open ears no matter our whereabouts. It’s hard to explain how to tell the fake, because it’s not always due to behaviour, or language, or anything exterior. Sometimes it can be genuine for a season and then become corrupted. It is a constant battle of discernment. Genuine faith is an internal, private journey with submission to the specific, individual guidance from God, with opportunities to exercise our faith and obedience to fulfill each request, developing and maintaining a covenant with Him. Through each unique relationship, God reveals Himself to us, this is how we develop a familiarity with God’s Character so we can recognise, trust and truly love Him. Imitation faith attempts to push us all onto one same narrow path, it fails to grasp how vastly unique each of us is and which level our faith is at, or what is required to gain the next perfect level. It can severely mislead believers away from their God given path with guilt, than towards it with support. It’s no wonder that it can be something to be wary of. Much evidence throughout the bible states that within the Nation of believers there were only ever a remnant who obeyed God, only a remnant who trusted Him. Something else to remember is that Christ spoke in parables for a reason, to hide the truth, to prevent the imitation from knowing the secrets of the gospel. For good reason….

Matthew 13

He that hath ears, let him hear. 10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11 And he answered and said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that which he hath.13 Therefore speak I to them in parables; because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.14 And unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall in no wise understand; And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, And their ears are dull of hearing, And their eyes they have closed; Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And should turn again, And I should heal them.16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.17 For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which ye see, and saw them not; and to hear the things which ye hear, and heard them not.

Recently during a great conversation, I was reminded of a metaphor which my Dad used to explain imitation faith to me when I first began my adult faith walk. It was invaluable for me as a ‘Baby Christian’ to understand how easily we can be deceived into building imitation faith as apposed to genuine faith.

There was once a man who was flat broke, he had many bills to pay and debt collectors breathing down his neck. During a moment of extreme desperation he fell to his knees and prayed “If there is a God, please help me pay my bills”. The next week he was walking along the road on his way to a job interview for a job he would rather not do, when he discovered a briefcase, unlocked, full of money. Now the money was counterfeit, but the man didn’t care to wonder nor check. He went to the post office and paid his bills, it worked. His debt was cleared, he thanked “God” and he decided not to go to the job interview after-all.

The metaphor is that the pursuit of faith is just like the man’s pursuit of money, he needed it, he prayed for it, yet he found something less than perfection, less than righteous, less than true and he accepted it. He accepted it because it was an easier ‘answer’ to his prayer than the job interview God had actually provided, for a job that would have taught him priceless lessons about himself, about hard work, about responsibility, about the character of God and how to develop true faith in Him. He would have received an abundance of Godly blessings that would not only have covered his debts, but given him a lifetime without worry of money. He didn’t push past the imitation in order to search out the genuine, and settled for much less.

Lord, cover our mind with the amour of your salvation, that we may see and perceive, and hear and understand. That we never settle for the easier false options in our walk, and that we are blessed to be privy to your hidden truths, which fall on the soft soil of our hearts and not be stolen away, or overgrown with falsehood. In Yeshua’s Mighty Name I Pray! Amen!

 

breifcase

 

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