What Is the Meaning of Prayer?

 

There are so many different views on the meaning of prayer.  One author, John R. Rice, says that prayer is nothing but petition.  He insists that prayer is not meditation or communion or spiritual enjoyment or praise or confession or humiliation; “[it is simply] asking something definitely from God.”1

Many other authors (that Rice would say are liberal or modern) seem to say the opposite—that prayer is fellowship and communion and friendship with God, and not a demand for His gifts. For example, E. M. Bounds said, “Prayer is communion and intercourse with God. It is enjoyment of God.”2

Ronald Dunn seems to agree with Rice.  He wrote, “Prayer is an act. While we should live in an attitude of prayer, prayer is more than an attitude.”3

Others I have read would disagree.  They would say that since prayer is communion and fellowship with God that would make prayer a consistent attitude and not merely an act.

So, as we see, with just these few authors, there are huge differences.   And there are many other definitions and descriptions of prayer, each different—some are just a bit different, others extremely different.  So what are we to conclude? Whose view should we follow?

Well, let me say right from the start that it is extremely important to know what prayer is, because you will conduct your prayer habits and your life according to that definition of prayer that you choose.  But, in saying that, I think it is also important not to be too rigid and narrow-minded in choosing a definition, as I think some authors tend to be. Therefore, I think we should broaden our thinking about the definition of prayer.

I have read so many good definitions of prayer.  And you know what?  I think 98% of them are right—even though they disagree with each other.  So what am I suggesting, that we just agree with all of them because they sound good?  No.  I am suggesting that prayer, and the definition of prayer, is bigger and broader than we may have thought

 

1 John R. Rice, Prayer Asking and Receiving (Murfreesboro, Tennessee: Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1970), pp. 47-49.

2 E. M. Bounds, The Reality of Prayer (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1978), p. 9.

3 Ronald Dunn, Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1959), p. 184.

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Prayer for Safety and Wisdom at the Singapore Summit

Prayer for Trump and Country

*Please pray for the safety of American and North Korean leaders as they travel to Singapore for the all-important summit.

*Pray for open and honest hearts, and that all deception would be easily revealed and dealt with.

*Pray that God would give President Trump wisdom in what to say and what to do.

*Pray that God would open the eyes of Kim Jong-Un that he would see a better way to rule his people–God’s way.

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The Ark of the Covenant Gives Us a Wonderful Salvation Message

If we study the meaning of each part of the Ark of the Covenant we will receive a wonderful salvation message.

The Ark of the Covenant with the Mercy Seat and the Cherubim was located on the other side of the veil in the Most Holy Place.  There the High Priest entered only once a year to sprinkle sacrificial blood on top of the Mercy Seat.

The appearance of the Ark was quite awesome, not only because of its brilliant gold, but also because of the mysterious light that hovered over the center of it—the Shekinah Glory, which was the glory of the very presence of God.

The Ark itself (without its lid) was just a box, 3 ½ feet long, 2 ½ feet wide and 2 ½ feet deep.  It was made of acacia wood overlaid with gold.  The wood represented the humanity of Christ, and the gold, His deity.

The main purpose of this golden chest (it appears) was for the safe keeping of three very important articles: Aaron’s rod, the golden pot of manna, and the two tablets of stone on which were written the Ten Commandments.  Much could be said about these articles and what they represent; however, let me tell you what Charles Fuller has said about them.  “… [They were] articles most cherished because they signified God’s mighty, miraculous deeds on Israel’s behalf.”

The most impressive part of the Ark was its cover, which was made of pure gold.  But it was not just a flat piece of gold.  Two Cherubim were hammered out from it, one on each end, which were made to have their wings spread upward and overshadowing the cover, each with eyes that gazed down at the blood sprinkled on the cover, also called the Mercy Seat (Ex. 25:17-22).

According to Charles Fuller, their gaze upon the blood was quite significant.  He said, “If the Cherubim’s attention was constantly focused upon the shed blood of sacrificial animals in the Old Testament times, how much more should our attention be centered upon the cross, where Christ’s blood made atonement for our sins!”

This is so true, but I would emphasize here that God intended for us to see the cherubim gazing not at the blood of animals, but rather at what the animal’s blood represented—the precious blood of Christ.  Those Cherubim I believe were made to be in awe not of the shed blood of animals, but of the blood of Christ shed for us.  That is, they were in awe, as we should be, that God loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (Jn. 3:16).

Moreover, the Mercy Seat was for Israel—and also for us—a covering.  For Israel (in Old Testament times), it was meant not only to keep the dust off of the articles in the chest, but also to cover, or to put a lid on the wrath of God—which proceeded from the tablets of stone in the ark (God’s written law).  Stories have been told of those who peered into the Ark and died from the power of God (1 Sam. 6:19).  And we will also perish if we try to live according to the law of God on our own strength, because we have all transgressed His law.  As Galatians 3:10 states, “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’”

Accordingly, we must now rely on what the blood sprinkled Mercy Seat represents for us: the blood of Jesus Christ as a propitiation for our sins—which, in fact, it is.  But it covers not all people, it covers only those who have come to the place where the Shekinah Glory hovered—to repent of their sins and cry out to God for mercy.  There at the mercy seat, which represents the cross, God applied (and will continue to apply) the blood of Christ to our heart, which forgives our sins, and covers (appease, propitiate) the wrath of God for us forever.

Praise God!  Forever He clothes us in righteousness.  As Charles Fuller writes, “Our own righteousness is as filthy rags, but if we take Christ to be our propitiatory covering we will be clothed in the bridal dress of His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).”

So, as we come, finally, to the Ark in our prayer journey, let us thank God that the veil was rent in two at His death—making it possible to come boldly into His presence, to commune with Him at any time.  And let us thank Him for His mercy and for the merciful covering of the blood of Jesus that covers the wrath of God for us who believe.  Let us praise Him and rejoice in His great love for us, for He has given us entrance into His presence and into His realm of glory and kingship.  In this Most Holy Place, surrounded by the Shekinah glory, we sit with Christ on His throne to pray.  Hallelujah!  What great confidence we can have in Him as we pray!

Source: Charles E. Fuller, The Tabernacle in the Wilderness (USA: Fleming H. Revell company, n.d.), p. 80-90.

 

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Let My People Go!

Prayer for Trump and Country

Please pray with me, and with the author of this post, that  the ungodly leaders of North Korea would hear God’s demand for His people to let them go. Just as the Egyptian Pharaoh let the people of Israel go after being enslaved for 400 years, God can also work in the heart of Kim Jong Un to let the enslaved North Korean’s go.

I urge you to read the rest of this post. It’s very good.

There is little doubt that President Trump knows that nuclear weapons are not the only serious problem with the leader of North Korea. Even with the difficulty of getting news, pictures and first hand testimony out of the rogue nation, enough information is available from secret sources, defectors and those who have escaped from NK […]

via God to Kim Jong Un – Let My People Go! — Inspirational Christian Blogs

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The Roseanne Barr Scenario: What We Can Learn From It – 3 Points

Prayer for Trump and Country

Roseanne is certainly a character, and bold. Sometimes she just says whatever comes into her head without regard to the consequences. In a way you have to admire her for that—for her courage and boldness and straightforwardness. But you also should recognize that she doesn’t exercise much control over her tongue. We all need to tame our tongue. An untamed tongue can get us into a lot of trouble, and Roseanne admitted that she said things that she shouldn’t have said.

Okay, stepping back a bit, let’s take a broader and deeper look at this whole Roseannesituation and see what we can learn from it. First, what does the bible say—about any of it?

1. The bible tells us that all have sinned (Rom. 3:23). And sin originates in the heart and then comes out through our speech and actions, and even our attitudes. Jesus taught this well in…

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Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament Tabernacle

 

The Old Testament Tabernacle, with its various articles and the offering up of animal sacrifices, were insufficient in their attempt to commune with God and forgive sins. But these things now speak of Christ and helps us to commune with Him.

In my last post on this subject we journeyed through the tabernacle and discussed the symbolic meaning of the gate, the bronze altar, and the laver. Now, in this post, we will go in our mind into the sanctuary—the Holy Place.  To the left of us we see a shining golden lampstand with seven golden lamps, burning brightly and giving light to the whole room.  To the right we see a dazzling golden table with twelve small loaves of bread on top.  Directly ahead of us, in front of a beautiful veil is a small smoldering golden altar—about 3 ½ feet high and 20 inches square.

As we look around at all these things, we are also keenly aware that there is a presence in the sanctuary—the High Priest.  His duties were as follows: to trim the lamps and to keep them filled with oil, to keep fresh bread on the table (which was eaten only by himself and the other priests), and also to keep the incense (in the altar) burning continually before the Lord.  Let us go now to each of these pieces of furniture and see what they represent for us.

The Golden Candlestick.  The Golden Candlestick with its seven golden lamps was typical of Christ and gave light to the Holy Place.  “I am the light of the world,” Jesus said of Himself. “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (Jn. 8:12)  The Candlestick also gives us a picture of the union between Christ and the church, for as He is the light of the world, we, having His light in us are lights in the world.   For this reason, He says to us, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

So let us pause now and thank God for Jesus who is our light.  His Word to us is a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path (Ps. 119:105).  Let us also resolve to follow Him more closely, as to let our light shine more brightly in the dark world.

 The Table of Showbread.  The Showbread is a type of Christ as the Bread of Life.  Jesus said about Himself, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst” (Jn. 6:33-58).  Here, the Showbread, which gave the priests physical strength, was and is symbolic of spiritual strength, which comes to us through Christ.

At this point in our journey let us stop and thank God for Jesus, through whom we can do all things (Phil. 4:13), and by whom all our needs shall be supplied (Phil. 4:16).

The Altar of Incense.  The Altar of Incense (pictured) was where incense was burnt.  Twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, the High Priest took coals from the brazen altar and ignited the incense, for it was to be kept burning perpetually.

The High Priest prefigured Christ; his ministry at the altar was a figure of Christ in heaven offering prayers to God (Christ offers to His Father both our prayers for ourselves and others, and His prayers for us).

The incense, which was burned on the altar, is a representation of the true prayers of the saints.  Our prayers, however, do not represent us, but the glory and work of Christ in us.  He is the reason why our prayers are sweet like incense.  As Paul wrote, “… we are to God the fragrance of Christ…” (2 Cor. 2:15).

 

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The Rose-breasted Grosbeak Sings Among the Branches

Seeing God in Nature

About two weeks ago, May 13th, as I was nearing the end of my nature walk, I happened to see this colorful bird and to hear his singing.  It was flying around from branch to branch, but, as it happened, I was able to get its picture. I found out later that day that it is a Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

Psalm 104:12

The birds of the air nest by the waters;

They sing among the branches.

Rose-breasted grosbeaks have been seen in every county in our state, but despite that, they can hardly be considered common, since they are not numerous in any single location. Minnesota is about the center of their breeding range, which extends northwest through the parkland forests of Canada, south to northern Missouri, and east to the Atlantic. They will nest in shrubs, deciduous trees, and even conifers, and they are fairly tolerant of habitat disturbance by…

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