UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE AND THE POWER OF PRAYER!
My first question to you is “Do you believe in God?” If you answered yes, do you also believe that the Bible is the Word of God? If yes, please grab your Bible and follow along in this eye-awakening journey. These are words to live and die by, literally. If you answered no to either of the questions, I beg you to stay so I may help you look within yourself and open up your mind, heart and soul to God. He is Father to us all and, all we are supposed to be obedient children to our parents; aren’t we?
The Bible was written during a span of 1500 years by 40 different authors. John the Apostle completed the last book around 95 A.D. while in exile on the island of Patmos. To put a timeline of history in perspective, Jesus was crucified around 30 A.D.; London, England was established in 43 A.D. by Rome; The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. The messages within its pages are as relevant today as they were then. As we start out journey together, it is important to establish a common understanding on where we begin. We should agree to start with the reason we have the Bible and how important it is to have its lessons in our lives.
God communicated all these messages to the authors through dreams, visions and messengers. Especially in regards to the future prophecies, man cannot come up with information like this on his own! He handed down this information to us through his messengers so we may know who He is, who we are, and how we are to live so that some day we can be together with Him in Heaven.
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Peter 1:21-For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
There are four different types of books written in the Bible. They are history, prophetic, gospels and epistles. It is the prophetic books where we see the author being instructed to write down the words told to them. God has told the scribes either through a messenger or through Himself to write down His Words for us to read and live by so we may draw closer to Him. This is our responsibility.
It is the book of Proverbs 30:5 that states - Every word of God is pure.
Isaiah 30:8 Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:
Jeremiah 30:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
2 Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.
Jeremiah 36:2 Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.
Habakkuk 2:2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
Revelation 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
Revelation 1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
Revelation 19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, “These are the true sayings of God”.
Many people wonder about the different interpretations of the Bible. Which is the truth? First, do not get interpretation and version confused. Version would be, for instance, King James Version (KJV), New International Version (NIV), etc. Interpretation would mean different meanings of various passages depending on the reader, teacher or certain denominations. I am not here to praise or slam any particular denomination. That is not my job. I’ll leave that one between them and God. There are some Christian denominations that use additional books with or in lieu of God’s only True Word, the Bible. It is the only one we need. He sanctioned it, not the other “works of man”. Be cautious of anyone that will tell you otherwise!
2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
And again in Revelation, a warning is given:
Revelation 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
This alone scares me to write these lessons as accurately as possible. It should also be a warning to all theologians that minister to the public. Even though they may believe they are saved in doing the Lord’s work, some are and /or have deceived many souls into false security. Take speaking in tongues for example. There are some Christian denominations where people are duped into believing that they are yet to receive the Holy Spirit (even though already saved) because they have yet to speak in tongues. Their version of this is when someone from the congregation stands up spouting gibberish. Some ‘enlightened’ soul then interprets to everyone what this person has said. My husband joke about learning Klingon then going into one of these churches to see what happens when he speaks in his “not of this world” language. The Bible clearly states that speaking in tongues are an entirely different thing. In both the Old and New Testaments, speaking in tongues meant that while someone speaks in their own language, people around them would hear the message in THEIR own language.
Christians who attend the churches I mentioned usually refer to:
1 Corinthians 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
26 ¶How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. AND
Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
Yet, if we look into the following scripture, it states speaking in tongues thoroughly.
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
It is always necessary to find the true meaning of the scriptures because God’s Word commands it!
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
If we do not know the truth, how are we to follow Him home without getting lost? We find true meaning of God’s Word by scripture itself:
1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
We must be willing to do God’s Will, and ask guidance from the Holy Spirit. Also, we must remember:
Psalms 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
In this day and age, man has become proud of himself in the discoveries of splitting an atom, harnessing and using many different types of power. He has also created medicines to cure many ailments. Man’s head has become too swelled with pride. Man doesn’t realize that he has been able to do these things because God has ALLOWED him to. The most powerful force in the universe most feel uncomfortable trying to use it. It can make humanist feel weak. Even they, at times, will occasionally swallow their huge pride and use it. What is it? In the canonized Bible, the words pray, prayer, prayers, prayed, prayest, prayeth and praying is mentioned a total of 545 times in 531 verses! The first person in the Bible who prayed was Abraham.
Genesis 20:17 So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.
The five kings of the Amorites, (Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon) got together and made war against Gibeon, When the king of Jerusalem heard that how Gibeon had made peace with Israel, he was afraid. Gibeon was larger city than Ai and Jericho. Joshua had destroyed both.
Joshua 10:12 Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. 13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. 14 And there was no day like that before it or after it that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.
We are all familiar with the story of Job. He was a rich man who had everything. But most important of all, he was a devout servant of God. He prayed for his family and made sacrifices for them. Satan was allowed to do all he wanted to make Job curse God after losing all his possessions and family. But having strong faith in the Lord, the obedient Job never faltered and God rewarded him with more than he had before.
Job 42:10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
Job 42:12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
When learning how to pray for the first time, you may feel strange or, uneasy. Everything we do at first does. As with all else, the more we do it, the easier it becomes. If you’re not sure what to say either aloud or silently, remember that it’s O.K., the Lord knows your heart. As Paul wrote in
Romans 8:25- But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Jesus teaches us how to pray in Matthew 6:9. Reciting the Lord’s Prayer, or “Our Father” as some call it, only reminds us how we are supposed to pray. These are guidelines only. Reciting the same prayer repeatedly soon becomes words without meaning per se. The following seven points should be an additional help on learning how to pray. Now mind you, God won’t mind if you switch things up a bit or, ask for a quick help or praise. He is our Father. Parents love their children unconditionally.
Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
We are to pray to God, the Father in His son, our Savior, Jesus Christ’s Name.
John 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
The Kingdom asked for. We ask to be home with our Father in Heaven. Until we are able to go, we pray to have our physical home, where we are on this earthly plain, resemble our final home. Just the tiniest bit of perfection diluted 1 million times can be just enough to bring a smile to our lips and the glisten of hope to our eyes!
Ask for the Will of God. For example, if you ask for money, make sure it’s for the necessities for living only. This doesn’t mean if you ask for a winning lottery ticket, God will provide it for you. Stating that you’d give most of it to charity, pay off the bills, etc…is a self-centered prayer. The Lord knows that even though your intentions are good, it will not happen the way you believe it will; even though you asked for it in Jesus’ name. Money is the root of all evil. With money come lust, greed and coveting more. This type of prayer God will definitely VETO because it’s a 99.9% guarantee that it would not be His Will!
1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
Daily Needs. As I said above, you should ask for yourself only what is necessary. If you have a roof over your head, food in your stomach and clothing on your back, you’re pretty much set. Consider yourself blessed. Many in the world have none of these. Everything else in your life is unimportant. Besides, most problems are usually temporary. What is more important is praying for others and praising God.
Romans 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
Romans 15:30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;
Ephesians 1:16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
Colossians 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
Thessalonians 1:2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;
1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
Even when his family, health and everything he owned was lost, Job’s faith never faltered.
Job 1:20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Forgiveness of our sins. Let’s face it, everyone sins. Even the most faithful Christian slips. I slip everyday…more than once! If a person states that they never sin, they are lying (a sin!) because EVERYONE sins! God is fully aware that no matter how hard we try, it will happen. As long as we try not to, and admit it when we do and ask for forgiveness, we will receive it. If we do not, God will turn a deaf ear our way. Also, God will only forgive us of our sins, after we forgive those who had sinned against us!
Psalms 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
Isaiah 1:15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
Be willing to forgive.
Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Scripture says it best. There is no sugar coating and no parable to figure out. The answer is there in black and white (and red for that matter!).
Protection from evil. Evil comes in many forms. We all have evil thoughts from time to time as well. They say bad things happen to good people. Here is an example that ties in with the previous point: Say if there is a person who seems to be doing harm to you by reputation, or coming between you and someone or something else for their own negative means, you must forgive them in prayer. Next step is asking the Lord to change their hearts to no longer do badly unto others, according to his will. This one can be tough. I prayed this prayer for a few years regarding a person interfering in our home life. The person finally started to come around calmed down almost overnight it seemed. Even though I first wanted immediate results, God’s will was for us to wait it out. This has taught me that patience is a virtue! Now, we no longer have any turmoil with this person.
According to Jesus, only hypocrites pray aloud in the streets. He told people to do their praying and charitable works in secret. He was making a point that we need to be seeking the approval of God’s, not men!
Matthew 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
How did Jesus pray for us?
John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
John 17:26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
As an example, He prayed to God in His own name.
Matthew 7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Psalms 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
What Jesus spoke of in both Matthew was in regards of allowing the Holy Spirit to enter us. We already have God’s love, what more do we need? Having faith in God and being obedient to his commandments set forth by both Him and His Son is what He asks for.
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
According to Paul, we are supposed to pray continually and, the Holy Spirit helps us when we don’t know how to pray.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.
The greatest evidence the bible is the Word of God is the changed lives of millions of people resulting from studying and obeying It. God is waiting to reveal truth to anyone who is willing to obey as He shows the way. The Holy Spirit will guide us as we study, and will purify our lives in preparation for the new world.
Some of the best prayers and praises are within the book of Psalms. The largest of which is Psalm 119. Take out your Bible and read it now. Meditate on the words and let it absorb into you.
Even though it is not included in either the Protestant or Roman Catholic cannon, the Prayer of Manasseh (in the Apocrypha) is an incredibly moving, glorifying, repentant and soul-searching prayer of a confessed sinner. It is reputed to be the work of the horribly dreadful King Manasseh from Judah. He appears in 2 Chronicles. Never the less, the prayer is humbling. If you have never seen nor heard of this, I give it to you here from the NRSV.
Prayer of Manasseh
Invocation and praise of the creator
1 O Lord Almighty, God of our ancestors, of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and of their righteous offspring;
2 you who made heaven and earth with all their order;
3 who shackled the sea by your word of command, who confined the deep and sealed it with your terrible and glorious name;
4 at whom all things shudder, and tremble before your power,
5 for your glorious splendor cannot be borne, and the wrath of your threat to sinners is unendurable;
6 yet immeasurable and unsearchable is your promised mercy,
7 for you are the Lord Most High, of great compassion, long-suffering, and very merciful,
and you relent at human suffering. O Lord, according to your great goodness you have promised repentance and forgiveness to those who have sinned against you, and in the multitude of your mercies you have appointed repentance for sinners, so that they may be saved.
8 Therefore you, O Lord, God of the righteous, have not appointed repentance for the righteous, for Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, who did not sin against you, but you have appointed repentance for me, who am a sinner.
Confession of Sins
9 For the sins I have
committed are more in number than the sand of the sea; my transgressions are
multiplied, O Lord, they are multiplied! I am not worthy to look up and see the
height of heaven because of the multitude of my iniquities.
10 I am weighted down with many an iron fetter, so that I am rejected because of my sins, and I have no relief; for I have provoked your wrath and have done what is evil in your sight, setting up abominations and multiplying offenses.
Supplication for Pardon
11 And now I bend the knee of my
heart, imploring you for your kindness.
12 I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned, and I acknowledge my transgressions.
13 I earnestly implore you, forgive me, O Lord, forgive me! Do not destroy me with my transgressions! Do not be angry with me forever or store up evil for me; do not condemn me to the depths of the earth. For you, O Lord, are the God of those who repent,
14 and in me you will manifest your goodness; for, unworthy as I am, you will save me according to your great mercy,
15 and I will praise you continually all the days of my life. For all the host of heaven sings your praise, and yours is the glory forever. Amen.
God is the most powerful force in the universe for He created it. We do not need to ask someone else to ask God for forgiveness from our sin. He gave us a hot line straight to Him. Prayer is a Gift from God to be used for our benefit according His will. It’s up to us to utilize this Gift. Use it!
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In Christ, Lisa Manning - Smith
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