I have been told that I need to write shorter blogs, and I really intend to do so. However, today, I had something on my heart that just couldn't be captured in a few words. I do hope though, that you will not be discouraged, and you will take the time to read all the way through today's blog. I need to start back at the beginning in order to tell the full story about prayer. I hope you enjoy today's blog and that you will receive from it some information that you may not have previously known. Moreover, I hope you will be blessed!
Today a friend, whom I mentor occasionally, called me and requested prayer for a sick family member.As we were talking, I discovered that another family member of hers had said that she would like people to keep the sick family member in their "thoughts". The word or concept of "prayer" was never used. Sadly, we are running across this secular use of the word "thought's" more and more often today, even from Christians who should know the difference between thoughts and prayers. What is happening to the world today when prayer cannot be used in public meetings or even talked about? I understand that there are many people who don't believe in God, so they won't use the word "prayer". Still, there are others who out of political correctness and fear of offending someone refuse to use the words "prayer" and "praying". But, even some churches today are becoming so secular and politically correct that they, too, no longer use the word "prayer". Instead, they politely tell people they will keep them in their "thoughts". Many people, though, simply don't know anything about prayer or even who they are to pray to, while others pray to false gods. No wonder our nation and the world is in such trouble today! So, let's talk about prayer.
To talk about prayer, we have to start from the beginning. Where did prayer originate, whom are we to pray to and why would we want to pray? Well, we are to pray to God, for God gave us the ability to communicate with Him through prayer. There is only One God. He is the great "I AM". God created this world and it was originally perfect. There were no storms, disasters, hate, or evil. Everything was beautiful. God created animals, fish and plants.Then God created two people to give Him glory, as they lived in this beautiful world. (See Isaiah 43: 7) God also wanted to be able to communicate and have a relationship with these two humans. So God created them with minds, hearts, souls, mouths, etc. to be able to communicate with Him and each other. Everyday God walked and talked with these two people, as He also bestowed His love and blessings upon them.
To have the kind of relationship that God wanted with these beings meant that God would need to do something spectacular and exciting when creating them.You see, God had already created angels, and they loved and worshiped God daily.But God did not have beings with whom he could form a close personal relationship and with whom He could talk and discuss.Yes, God had relationships with the two other essences of His Being: The Holy Spirit and His Son. But now God wanted to create beings that were separate from the Trinity of His being and different from anything He had previously created. He wanted to create beings who had different personalities and different ways of seeing the things around them. Their brains would be spectacular, insightful and discerning, and they would be able to develop wisdom as they learned from and communicated with God.
Each person's brain would have the capability to grow in knowledge and understanding. But in order for these beings to truly be different and to see the world through each individual's own perspective, the individual beings would have to have "free will". "Free will" meant that these beings could choose their own path and way of looking at the world around them. They could think their own thoughts. This meant they could live in their own way or style. They could explore, inquire, and develop different things from what God had provided; all the while reproducing more and more people with whom God could form a relationship and on whom God could bestow His love.
God knew, though, that "free will" meant that someday these created beings could decide not to love Him, not to honor Him or not to want anything to do with Him. That was okay, because God did not want forced love and allegiance. God wanted a close personal relationship with beings who wanted to communicate with and love Him. God wanted a relationship with beings that could see how much He loved them and who would honor and glorify Him. Just as God created beings who want to love and be loved, God also wanted their love.
Everything was going well. God actively mentored Adam and Eve, as He walked and talked with them in the Garden, teaching them all kinds of things. God and the two beings, named Adam and Eve, had a close relationship. As these beings communicated with God they talked of things that we cannot even begin to imagine. Adam and Eve had perfect brains that worked at a very high capacity; not like our brains that now work at a much smaller capacity.They also had perfect pure DNA, giving them a much greater advantage than we humans have today. They were, indeed, very beautiful and brilliant human beings. Then a visitor came to the Garden. Lucifer, in the guise of a snake, came for a visit.
God had created Lucifer too. In fact, Lucifer was an angel type of being who was very beautiful. In Heaven, Lucifer had been musical and could lead the choirs in Heaven, providing glorious music for God. Lucifer, though, became prideful. (See Isaiah 14:12-15). In fact, he became so prideful that He wanted the throne of God. In his pridefulness, Lucifer thought that He could do a better job of ruling all of God's dominions than God could. So, Lucifer started a war in Heaven. He got one-third of the angels to follow him, and they rebelled against God. The other two-thirds of God's angels warred against Lucifer, and then God threw Lucifer and all the traitorous angels out of Heaven. At some point Lucifer ended up on earth. He and the fallen angels were also no longer beautiful. Lucifer was so mad at God that all He could think of was to ruin God's great relationship with the humans God had created and to keep future humans from giving God any glory or love. Lucifer's plan was to take over this world and ruin God's plan for humankind. He wouldn't succeed, but Lucifer certainly has tried.
It is in the third chapter of the book of Genesis that Lucifer puts his plan into action. Lucifer disguised himself as a talking snake. Then Lucifer convinced Eve and Adam to do the one thing that God had told them not to do, or they would die. God had told Adam and Eve that they were not to eat from a certain tree in the Garden. But, Lucifer said that if they ate from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that they would not die; implying that God had lied to them. Lucifer was very convincing, and he appealed to their own pride and their free will to do as they wished. So they ate.
Although it was not an immediate death, Adam and Eve would no longer live forever. Instead of living eternally with God, they would grow old and die. Actually, from the moment they ate of the tree their bodies began to slowly die. Moreover, they would now live in a very different world, because God kicked them out of the Garden of Eden. They would now live in a world that seemed to be angry and constantly writhing in turmoil, just as it was also full of evil desires and pridefulness. It certainly was not the world God had wanted for them, but rather it was a world that fell (metaphorically speaking) when Adam and Eve fell from the Garden. It was now a world that had storms, hurricanes, disasters, fires, and floods. Even the animals were no longer tame, but instead were wild and could kill each other and humans. The insects fought against each other and the animals fought against each other for survival even as God used them to benefit mankind. God knew that humans would now need to kill animals to survive, as they would need shelter and clothing from the animal skins, and food from the the animal meat.
God knew, too, that Lucifer, whose name was changed to Satan after Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of Eden, would continue to try to keep humans from having anything to do with God. But the worst part was that Adam and Eve were separated from God. They no longer had a relationship with the great "I Am". They no longer could talk to God and expect an answer. Yes they could think about Him and send thoughts to Him, but God was not going to respond, because thoughts are not prayers. Moreover, prayers and their answers come from being in a relationship with God, and Adam and Eve were no longer in a relationship with God.
God still loved Adam and Eve. In fact, God never left them completely alone or quit loving them. He was still there for them, but now they would have to seek Him. However, they would also have to ask forgiveness for their sins if they wanted a relationship with God. Unfortunately, sin would become a daily issue for Adam and Eve and all future humans. For no matter how hard Adam and Eve and their offspring worked or tried to do good, they could not keep from sinning. Still, God wanted a relationship with Adam and Eve. God wanted the humans to communicate with Him, so that He could help them in their needs. In the meantime, God continued to show His love for them by providing for and maintaining the world. The humans, though, would have to form a relationship with God in order to communicate with God. But first humans would have to recognize God exists.
Humans would have to acknowledge God and reach out to God. They would have to develop a different type of communicating relationship with God through something called prayer. To have this new relationship the humans would also have to acknowledge God as the One and Only God and only pray to Him. They would also need to glorify God in their daily life. But God would not force them to do so. Remember, God created all of us with "free will".
So, God gave Adam and Eve a way to still have a relationship with Him by coming to Him through their prayers and sacrifices. God even told Adam and Eve that their sins would be forgiven with each honoring sacrifice they made to God. These sacrifices were to show their love and devotion to God as well as to cover their sins. There would have to be an effort made to honor and glorify God, as they sacrificed to Him.
As parents, Adam and Eve were to also mentor their children in honoring God and in knowing what God expected in the way of sacrifices for their sins. Future generations could then continue to have some type of relationship with God and have their sins covered. They, too, would need to teach their children how to "pray" to God, for it is through our prayers that God hears our heart's desire. It is through our prayers that we praise and honor God. It is through our prayers that we thank God for each blessing we receive. It is through our prayers that we recognize that God is the only One who can comfort, protect, provide, and bless us. Moreover, it is through our personal prayer for forgiveness and Salvation through Christ that the One and only God will cleanse us of our sins forever. Only through this intimate prayer for Salvation will the blood of Jesus cover our sins.
Some parents mentored their children in knowing and in loving only God. Other parents mentored their children in knowing and loving God, but some of their children like Adam and Eve's son, Cain, failed to understand God's love, or they simply became prideful and chose not to honor God or follow God's directions. Still other parents failed to mentor their children in loving God and in godly behavior. Some parents did not even tell their children that God exists. Consequently, it did not take long for the world to become a very dark and ungodly place.
As time went on, God would speak directly to certain humans, such as Enoch and Noah, who reached out to Him and who showed their love and devotion to God. God spoke to these individuals to tell them what the people could do to make their lives better and to show them how to honor Him in the process. But no matter how much God did for people, throughout the centuries they were basically ungrateful and continual sinners without remorse for the hurt they caused others or for their sinful actions. Their emphasis on self and self gratification, in large measure, came about because parents did not teach or mentor their children in godly moral behaviors, in selflessness, and in loving and praying to the One and Only God, the Great I AM.
Eventually, God became very angry with their behaviors and attitudes. God chose to flood the world and start over with Noah and his family. After the flood, Noah again sacrificed to the Lord and taught his children about God and living for God. He taught his children how to pray to God and reminded them that it was God who had brought them through the flood. But as time went on more and more children were born. Each generation grew further and further from God ,as they too neglected to teach their children about God. Eventually all the different kinds of people spread throughout the world,
Those individuals who did honor God and did mentor and teach their children to honor God and obey God's laws and commandments were blessed. They communicated with God through prayer and the sacrifices they gave in worship and love. It was through their prayers, though, that they continued to show their adoration and worship of God even when they were not presenting sacrifices to God. Their prayers acknowledged that God is, indeed, the One and Only God of the Universe.
There is no other God! There is only "I AM". Yes, there are a great number of false gods; gods that man has thought up in his mind or has made into a particular shape or image he created from his thoughts. But that is all they are: images created from stone or wood with no life whatsoever. Sadly, people often latch onto misguided perceptions about these images, idols, or false gods. Especially if something good happened while the people were worshiping a false god, the people would then believe the false god had done it for them. Satan often confirms in the minds of people who worship idols and false gods that indeed their idol or false god was behind the goodness they received. That is just not true. For these so called "prayers" to false gods and our humans' "thoughts" cannot do anything. They have no power whatsoever. Only when we decide to do something either good or bad can our thoughts then morph into something other than a "thought". Certainly, we can make a decision to act upon our thoughts, if we have the ability to do so. For example, I can pick up a pencil and draw a picture from a thought I had, if I have the ability to draw. But, thinking that drawing into reality will not occur, if I do not have the ability to draw the picture.
Thoughts or even prayers to these false gods will not produce anything for the one praying to a false god or for the one thinking "good thoughts". There is no response from a false god except that which the person imagines in their mind. Oh, the person may feel like they have done something special when praying to a false god, and they may feel that they are on the right track, but there is no accompanying peace, no result from their thoughts or prayers to a false god. Just like the lie Lucifer told Adam and Eve, he daily tells lies to those who fall for praying to a false god or fall for sending out "good thoughts". Only by developing a relationship with the One and Only God, the great "I AM", and then through praying to Him will we receive answers, insight, discernment, wisdom, and help from God.
God sent His Son to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Humans no longer have to sacrifice an animal to God to get our sins cleansed. For, God has given us grace and mercy! Anyone who wants to recognize the fact that God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the Cross for our sins and then asks for forgiveness from their sins and actually repents of their sins can be forgiven. I John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Our Salvation confession is either a verbal or a silent prayer to God and Christ.
All those who truly believe, confess, and repent of their sins will receive Salvation. We will not necessarily have perfect lives here on earth afterward, but we will have an internal peace, joy, and happiness that the rest of the world cannot know. Furthermore, through our prayers, we are given great access to God through Jesus Christ who is our intercessor before God. Praying to God through Christ ensures that God will hear our prayers. Moreover, it is only through Jesus Christ, the Son, that a close relationship with Christ and the Father can be developed and maintained.
God loves each and everyone one of us. His heart breaks for anyone's refusal to respond to His free gift of mercy and grace, which only requires belief in the risen Christ while recognizing our sinfulness and repenting of our sins, as we ask Jesus Christ to come into our heart. This simple prayer will allow us to spend eternity with God and Christ someday in Heaven where there is no pain, suffering or hurt. But first, each person has to take that step to believe, confess and repent of their sins. No one else can do it for you!
This is where our "free will" comes into play. God gave us "free will" when we were created. Even though God might wish that each of us would turn to Him and truly see Him for Who He really is, God will not take away our ability to choose for ourselves whether or not we will repent and turn to Christ. This is our individual choice. We have the "free will" to choose or not, and God will not take that from us. Certainly, God wants each of us to quit listening to Satan and quit listening to all the things that Satan comes up with to keep us from Christ and eternity. Indeed, God wants us to come to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, but He won't force us.
I have had a close relationship with Christ and His Father since I was nine years old. I can truly say that once an individual believes and receives Salvation through Christ, that the person can have a most glorious relationship with God, the Holy Spirit, and the Son. There is such peace, comfort, hope, and yes faith that emanates from our hearts once we turn our lives over to Christ. There is no false god that can do that. Moreover, we can receive direction, guidance, comfort and help through our prayers of communication with God and Christ.
Christ carries our prayers to the Father and intercedes on our behalf. If we ask anything in the will of God through Jesus Christ, the Son, the Father in Heaven will hear and do for us. (See John 14: 13). So, if we are in a mentoring situation in which we need extra insight and discernment, we should pray to God through Christ, and the Holy Spirit will give us the direction, guidance or insight into what we are requesting. Is the answer what we always want and expect? No, for God knows everything in this life that can effect us, and He sees the shenanigans of the devil as well as the evil around us even before we see them. But God has told us that if we stay in prayer and fellowship with Him, if we read and obey God's Word, and if we have received Salvation, that just like one who wears the armor of a mighty warrior, we will have what it takes to overcome Satan and his minions. We are to constantly wear the Armor of God and pray. Moreover, we can pray anytime and be heard by God.
Even when a loved one is going through surgery we can pray to God for His will to be done. God's will is for the perfect good for the person for whom we are praying. We must remember, though, that God's perfect will is not necessarily what we hope for or wish. But, we can know this: God knows the end from the beginning. We must trust in His perfect will even as we pray for healing.
We also have to remember that Satan is standing by sticking his fingers into every situation and constantly wanting us to lose faith. Satan wants to hurt people by taking away our close relationship with God. For example, Satan may tempt or encourage a surgeon to stay up late the night before a surgery so that he is not fresh when he does a surgery. The surgeon may make a mistake and the person on the table then dies. Perhaps God was ready to take that person home. On the other hand, the prayers of that person's family for the surgery to go well and for healing, may be answered by God in some manner we can't even imagine, so what the Devil intended for harm, God intended and used for good. Prayers are powerful!
Whatever the situation, with each prayer and each step toward greater faith, we become stronger Christians and more impervious to future arrows from the devil. We are to pray for the individual who is going into surgery or the one who is sick, while believing that God has everything under His control and that God's perfect will will be done. Maybe it is time for that sick person to go and be with the Lord, or maybe God needs that person to heal and be a great father or mother to a new addition coming to their family. This we know: God is with his "Saved" children each and everyday and receives our prayers. God answers our prayers, and our prayers can make a difference in our lives and in the lives of others around us, and we can make a difference in the world by trusting in and following our Savior, Jesus Christ. Just remember, God hears and answers prayers and not "thoughts". Only when our thoughts are in the form of a prayer, will God hear them as prayers.
Please remember, that our thoughts, are just that, "simply thoughts". Thoughts about a sick person are no different than the thoughts I might have about baking a pie or going to the mall. They are just thoughts. Simply saying that "I will be thinking about your loved one as they go into surgery" is no different than me telling you that "I will be thinking of our next trip to Colorado or Kansas". It is just a thought and there is nothing in the world that will make that thought into a relationship with the Creator who has the power to create miracles, heal someone, or end the world. God, is the only one to whom we are to petition for our needs, our sickness, our desires, our strength, and our comfort. He is the only one Who could send His Son to die on a cruel cross for your sins. Christ is the Son of God who conquered eternal death for all who would believe upon Him and repent. He is now in Heaven sitting at the right hand of God and interceding on our behalf as we pray to God.
James the brother of Christ, said in the book of James,"Are there any among you suffering? They should keep on praying about it. And those who have reason to be thankful should continually sing praises to the Lord.... The prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and he Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results."--(James 5: 13-16).
Prayer is very important in active relational Christian mentoring. When we are mentoring another woman, we should always go to God in prayer first, asking for insight and discernment. What should we speak and how do we best address the other woman's needs? These two questions should be part of our prayers to God about our mentee. There will be some situations in mentoring where only prayer can give us the needed understanding, insight, or answer in our mentoring of another. You may use your brain and your thinking to come up with ideas on how to help someone, but if you haven't run your ideas by God through prayer, you may find that your ideas are just that -- ideas that don's go anywhere. Once we have a well-established relationship with the mentee, it is also important to incorporate prayer into your mentoring sessions. Starting out in prayer, or ending the session or your time together with prayer lets the mentee know that God is the most important part of any Christian mentoring relationship.
God has all the answers. We just need to acknowledge that He is the sole source of all our strength, our insight, our wisdom, our discernment, our provision, our faith and our comfort. I cannot imagine what life would be like if we did not have the power of prayer that God has given to all who would believe on His Son. For those who have yet to acknowledge Christ as their Savior, there is only one prayer that God will always answer yes. It is the prayer for eternal Salvation through Jesus Christ. Once you pray for Salvation and forgiveness, Christ will take all your petitions of prayers to God. Without prayer, we cannot be effective Christians or godly mentors. Lift your heart and voice to the Lord in daily prayer!