Month 9:29, Week 4:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year 5935:258 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 24 December 2011
Prayer & Worship IV
Yahweh's Conditions for Effectiveness
Continued from Part 3
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el as we resume our series on prayer and worship.
According to the Scriptures, the effectiveness of our prayers is always conditional. That means that Yahweh has conditions for answering our prayers. We have no 'rights' when it comes to prayer, we cannot 'demand' anything, and we certainly have no 'entitlement' just because we claim to be in Elohim's (God's) Family. In our age of 'human rights' this may be difficult to comprehend which is why we must learn to wrap our minds around Yahweh's Davar (Word) and not the world's way of thinking.
I have been fascinated by this proverb for years and it has taken almost as many for me as many to understand what the Elohim Principle is. The Hebrew word 'Elohim', which we traslate as 'God' or 'gods', is also used of malakim (angels), Yahweh's earthly rulers or judges, and of family heads - husbands and fathers. For properly translated, 'elohim' means 'mighty ones', 'authorities' ory 'powers'.
"It is the glory of Elohim (God) to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter. As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, so the lev (heart) of kings is unsearchable" (Prov.25:2-3, NKJV).
Every single one of us is properly to be in subjection to divinely constituted elohim or 'powers', from Almighty Yahweh Himself to those whom Yahweh has set over us. I explained this in detail in Part 1 of this series which, if you have forgotten it or never seen it, I invite you to run over again so that I will make better sense today.
In the proverb quoted, two types of elohim are referenced: Yahweh our Father in Heaven, the Omnipotent Creator, and earthly kings or rulers. We are presented with a parallelism between one heavenly Toqef (Authority) and an earthly toqef (authority) - the latter could, and does, apply to heads of households as well as to heavenly appointed monarchs. What principles are contained in this proverb and how should be apply it to prayer and worship?
Firstly, "it is the glory of Elohim to conceal a matter" from us, His subjects, and it is our responsibility as subjects or as one under toqef (authority) "to search out a matter". Specifically, it is the king's responsibility to search out emet (truth) which Yahweh keeps hidden from the world so that he can wisely instruct and adequately govern his subjects, in the same way that it is a husband's responsibility to search out emet (truth) so that he can instruct and adequately govern his wife whom Yahweh has placed under his charge in His physical absence, just as it is a wife's responsibility to search out emet (truth) so that she can instruct and adequately govern her children whom her husband has placed under her charge in his absence. This is a facit of the Elohim Principle. We have no right to therefore 'demand' in prayer from Yahweh what Yahweh chooses to conceal from us, because we do not have the toqef (authority). And no matter how hard we pound on His door, yell or attempt to manipulate Him to reveal what we want to know (were that even possible), we will, I guarantee, get nowhere. Common sense and common experience should tell you that. Likewise, "as the heavens for height and the earth for depth, so the lev (heart) of kings is unsearchable". The governed are not given the same toqef (authority) or privileges as those who govern because they are not under the same covenants and are therefore under different laws of accountability.
When I was in the army I directly answered to the Leutenant above me who directly answered to the Captain above him who directly answered to the Major above him. I didn't even know who the officers were above the Major as we only ever saw them infrequently at special parades! We had no idea what our orders would be until they were issued and never dreamed of demanding to know what our superior officers were thinking or why they issued the orders they did. We simply knew there was a chain of command that had to be obeyed. We trusted them to always act in our best interests even if we did not always understand the reasons for our orders.
Catherine Booth, wife of the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth, spoke of the three "golden links" or three basic conditions by which prayer connects, as it were, with 'Heaven's Switchboard'. As these principles apply to husband-wife relationships too (remembering that heavenly principles are similitudes of marriage), they are of interest both in vertical as well as horizontal prayer and worship:
1. Living and Abiding Union with Messiah. Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
The source of these Devarim (Words) is always Toqef (authority) because they derive from elohim or 'powers':
"If you abide in Me, and My Devarim (Words) abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:6-7, NKJV)
Yah'shua (Jesus) is the incarnate Davar (Word, Logos), He is with Elohim as well as being Elohim. When an elohim abides in Elohim, he becomes a man with a shem (name) even as haShem (The Name - Yahweh) abides in him. That is why godly women seek men who have such a shem (name) "be called by your shem (name), to take away our reproach" (Isa.4:1, NKJV). Likewise it is a reproach for men not to be called by haShem (The Name) as Sons of haShem (Yahweh).
"In the beginning was the Davar (Word), and the Davar (Word) was with Elohim (God), and the Davar (Word) was Elohim (God)" (John 1:1, NKJV).
This is the divine tavnith (pattern) of prayer and worship. We must "abide" in our toqef (authority) or elohim (power), much as a branch is grafted into the vine, and be in turn connected to the Absolute Toqef (Authority) and Elohim (God). This is the hierarchy of prayer and worship that determines the flow of heavenly Ruach (Spirit). It's how the 'Heavenly Switchboard' operates.
2. Systematic Obedience to the Torah of the Davar (Word) and the Ruach (Spirit):
Open communication with Heaven requires that we obey all the mitzvot (commandments) and not just those we like. Many believers have this mistaken idea that unless Yahweh speaks to them directly to 'confirm' a particular mitzvah (commandment) that they will not obey it. And when Yahweh is silent they assume that they don't have to. The emet (truth) is that Yahweh is waiting for us to do as we have already been told through Yah'shua (Jesus), the apostles, and the nevi'im (prophets) before them - He's not going to repeat Himself when we are holding a copy of His Davar (Word), the Bible, in our hands! So much prayer is unanswered because He is waiting on us to be obedient to what we already know if we will but read, and re-read, it.
"Beloved, if our lev (heart) does not condemn us, we have confidence toward Elohim (God). And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His mitzvot (commandments) and do those things that are pleasing in His sight" (1 John 3:21-22, NKJV).
3. Unwaivering Emunah (Faith) in the Emet (Truth) and Fullness of Yahweh.
There is a story told of how a philosopher pleased Alexander the Great. When asked for money, Alexander gave the philosopher a commission to receive from the Royal Treasury whatever he wanted. The philosopher demanded, in his king's name, the sum of around $100,000. The treasurer refused to grant it until he had told the king. Alexander listened but said he was delighted and wanted the money instantly paid. By the greatness of his request, the philosopher showed the high idea he held of Alexander's greatness, riches and generosity. And if Alexander gives like a king, shall not Yahweh give like an Elohim?
"But let him ask in emunah (faith), with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from Yahweh" (James 1:6-7, NKJV).
When we learn to live in these promises of the Bible, we shall learn what it means to have our prayers answered:
Yahweh's Davar (Word) must be true. And if your experience does not match the promises, you know that there is probably something wrong with your experience. Examine yourself. Make teshuvah (repent) from all known sin. Then prove Him in prayer and you will know what it means to have power from Yahweh. You will know how to pray and get answers. Just make sure you do it in divine tavnith (pattern) and not after the flesh.
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of Elohim (God), who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him" (James 1:5, NKJV).
"Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing (having emunah), you will receive" (Matt.21:22, NKJV).
Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
The word "ought" is emphatic because Yah'shua (Jesus) knew that we don't always pray when we lose heart. This word "ought" implies an obligation as high as Heaven itself. And men ought "always" to pray and "not lose heart". Samuel Logan Brengle writes:
"Men always ought to pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1, NKJV).
We will continue our study of prayer and worship in the next part of this series by looking at power in prayer. Let us in the meantime get aligned with Yahweh's tavnith (pattern) for prayer, recalling that "it is the glory (kabowd) of Elohim (God) to conceal a matter" if He so chooses. And if He does, then there is always a good reason which He may, or may not, reveal to us. That is to His glory and to our ultimate benefit. Amen.
"I confess I do not always feel like praying when, judging by my feelings, there is no one listening to my prayer. And then, these words have stirred me; I ought always to pray; I ought to pray; I should not grow faint (lose heart) in praying. The farmer ploughs his field often when he does not feel like it, but he expects a crop for his labours. Now, if prayer is a form of work, and our labour is not in vain in [Yahweh], should we not pray regardless of feelings?"
Continued in Part 5
 Winkie Pratney, Doorways to Discipleship (Communication Foundation Publishers, Lindale, Texas: 1975)