Month 1:8 (Aviv), Week 1:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year 5935:008 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 11 [Red] April 2011
Thoughts About Prayer
There's a Lot to Pray About!
Shabbat shalom and welcome to the first sabbath of the current new year. With so much happening in the world and in our personal lives it occurred to me today to ask this question: How can we possibly process so much data with the finite brain resources we have and to pull out and act upon that which is of importance today? This is especially so with the vast amount of information online. Whereas in previous generations we were confronted by data which in essence was just local, today everything has become globalised. We can be in contact with so many different people and issues at the press of a button. How do we pick and choose?
The answer, of course, if we are not to pursue multitudinous rabbit-trails that lead nowhere and serve no other interest than brain titilliation, is that we have to be guided. Yesterday evening I was saddened whilst listening to the testimony of a US military radar operative and abductee by so-called ET's and human government operatives working in collusion to hear that the way she copes is to do the bidding of 'spirit guides', which we all know are none other than the enemy in various rôles as good cop or bad cop. If we are to not only manage in this modern age but also be productive in the calling that we have been given - to fulfil the measure of our creation and stewardship while in this brief span of life called mortality - we have to be connected to the Creator Himself or we are just going to be bounced like a ping-pong ball off one object of random interest to another following not only no intelligent purpose but no intelligent divine purpose. Why on earth are we here on this earth? What is our calling?
Systematic prayer rooted in a life where emet (truth) is the guiding beacon and divine tavnith the channel or path down which we move, is the only way we can possibly know what we were designed for each day. Do you believe that Yahweh has designed, in advance, our purpose each day, whether it be to negociate situations to get us to where we are supposed to be or whether it is to be actually serving those around us when we have arrived at that place where we are supposed to be? I do. I believe it absolutely. And whilst this sounds very 'right' in theory, what does it entail in practice?
Scripture speaks of various 'prayer elements' that combine to make effective communication with El Elyon, the Most High. Praising and giving thanks must always be where we start for only in that way do we clear the lev or heart channels, ensuring correct movite, but we literally 'get on His boat'. Some prayers are formal for Yahweh's set-apart days such as shabbat (getting into his time-sync) but mostly they are sponaneous - but always (and this Scripture confirms as well) they are to be Ruach or Spirit-led. So one of the reasons to start prayer with praise and thanks is to motivate us to pray for the Ruach (Spirit) so that we know what to pray for!
People sometimes ask me how I am able to write so much and about such diverse topics. The answer is I have been doing this a long time and I never plan what I am going to write. Usually with a wordless prayer (because this is the habit of many years) I simply sit down at my PC and start writing, trusting implicity that Yahweh will guide me. Sometimes nothing comes in which case I go away and do something else and return later. But it is like anything - I simply rely on Yahweh to supply my needs to meet the needs of those Yahweh will lead to these pages wherever you may be. I am not here to plug an interest or a pet theory, simply to convery what the Ruach (Spirit) is giving to me.
"...beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), keep yourselves in the ahavah (love) of Elohim (God), looking for the mercy of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Lord Jesus Christ) unto eternal life" (Jude 20-21, NKJV).
In addition to praising and thanking, prayer is also confessing our sins and petitioning for help. Most are familiar with the latter and if we're honest, probably as much as 80% or 90% of our prayer time consists of the latter, particulary when we are feeling desperate. And to be sure, just as a righteous father is deeply anxious and concerned for the welfare of His children, so it is with Yahweh. He wants to know how we are and to help us in any way we can. But first He has to have our permission to minister to us (because he forces no one) and second he has to actually have our ear - far too often we are just too busy listening to our own petitions that we aren't turned into Him at all. Praising and giving thanks is one of the surest ways to 'tune-in'...if it's sincere.
Errol Müller says:
The set-apart ones used to be commanded to turn their hearts towards Jerusalem when it was still Yahweh's City (Dan.6:10) but since this is now Hagar's City, where should we point? Answer: to the New Jerusalem above! And this isn't just some pie-in-the-sky place, it's real, and it's coming back to earth. Am I serious? Most definitely. That's the place I want to live, that's the place I'm waiting to come back to earth. I have been there in spirit more than once and each time I have never wanted to leave it. That's the Jerusalem I pray toward, not the Illuminati nest of vipers in the Middle East which will be flattened to make wake way for the New Jerusalem when it descends out of the sky. This is the place of Eternity, not mere dust. The dust that is my body I will one day lay down so why should I want to face that any more? I face the place where Yahweh has placed His Name. It hasn't been in the earthly Jerusalem for a very long time indeed.
"There have always been two types of believers: the con-fessors who acknowledge their sin and come to the Messiah for salvation. And the others, who are pro-fessors, the hypocrites, those people who enjoy saying His Name, playing nice music to Him and building magnificent buildings to Him, but they never really afflict their souls to Him - do not be like them (Mat.6:5-8)" (The Mystical Rites of our Creator, White Stone Communications, Lake Worth, FL: 1999, p.136).
Righteous prayer is powerful (Jas.5:16). Unrighteous prayer is - well - flat - might as well stick a piece of paper in the Wailing Wall of dusty Jerusalem for all the good it will do. Righteous prayer has to be steadfast (Rom.12:12), not simply a revolver we pull out once in a blue moon when we feel threatened or in desperate need. Not that Yahweh won't respond to the latter with a Father's lev (heart) when we do the latter, He just prefers that we are a little more consistent. He wants the communication habitual, daily and moment-by-moment.
Those of you who know me also know that I find prayer one of the most mysterious and baffling of phenomena. And I find it works best for me when I am not trying to analyse it and when I am abount living the commandments as best I know how, and habitually. Prayer shouldn't always be about salvaging our obedience so that we can have the right credentials to make it work for us - we shouldn't just start breathing when we're suffocating, we should be breathing all the time! Make prayer like breathing - both voluntary and involuntary, and make it continuous.
If you're a woman, make sure your head is covered not just for the prayer-session with Yahweh but habitually. Why? Because it signifies you are under right toqef or authority, not as mere ritual, but because you love true toqef (authority). If you don't, there is some repenting to do - Yahweh made you to be a woman, not a man. If your're a man, get rid of those tallits and kippas - Yahweh didn't make you to be a woman - be the man you were called to be with your head uncovered.
Whether you are a man or a woman, attempt no prayer unless you are in right tavnith (pattern) and under proper toqef (authority), especially if you already know His order. He does not look kindly upon those who deliberately break His Order. You men especially - didn't you know that covering your head is a sign of mourning (2 Sam.15:30; 19:4; Est.6:12) and the turbans the priests wore had holes in the top (they were bands, not caps)? It was the ancient Greeks who wore fancy hats as a sign they were educated or that they were philosophers - it was from them the Jews got their head-covering customs. We are supposed to be confessors not professors! So throw those mortar boards out - they're just emblems of intellectual pride (quite apart from looking ridiculous).
Finally, as Errol Müller points out, repetitive prayers are just "junk mail to the Heavens" (Op.cit., p.137). There are some who say we should nag Yahweh until He gives in. I don't know about you but naggers just make me irate.
The operate word here is not "pushing" or "nagging" (it's not actually there) but "believing", that is, with true biblical emunah which means trusting, adhering and clinging. If you're clinging you don't need to nag. If you're not clinging then nagging will get you nowhere anyway. So just trust - hang on - and see Him answer you!
"And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive" (Matt.21:22, NKJV).
Don't forget to end with "Amen" which means "so be it" - it means you're instructing the disbelieving part of your soul to fall in line with the prayer. Always a good idea.