Hold Fast

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2, ESV)

Location: Cochrane, Alberta, Canada

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Final Thoughts on Prayer

It's my opinion that we in the evangelical church have little sense of history anymore. A great deal of this, I think, is because we've become a "fast food" culture with short attention spans and little patience. We don't want long or complex answers to our questions - we want things made simple. As for actually studying past answers to our questions?

"Well, that takes work... and my opinion's as good as anyone else's..."

And so we lose our history. Few evangelicals ever read a catechism or confession of faith - most, I suspect, haven't even read the statements of faith of their own churches, having just walked in the door and stayed. I know I didn't bother for two years after I joined my present church!

It's too bad, because the great Protestant confessions, written in the century following the Reformation, are a treasure trove of knowledge. And it was to one of these I went to find perspectives on prayer: the Westminster Longer Catechism.

(One of the nice things about the old confessions and catechisms is that the writers included a vast number of supporting Scriptures for their points. They make excellent Bible study aids, as well as containing great wisdom themselves).

Here's question 178:

Q: What is prayer?

A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, in the name of Christ, by the help of his Spirit; with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.

Scripture Proofs:
Psalm 62:8, John 16:23, Romans 8:26, Psalm 32:5-6, Daniel 9:4, Philippians 4:6.

This is REAL prayer - an offering! Not a legal claim; not a spiritual lawsuit; not a demand for blessing. We offer our desires to God, acknowledging before Him our wrongdoing - thus admitting to Him our unworthiness and lack of entitlement - and thanking Him for everything He gives us!

Question 184 should be required reading and memorization in Word-Faith churches:

Q: For what things are we to pray?

A. We are to pray for all things tending to the glory of God, the welfare of the church, our own or others, good; but not for anything that is unlawful.

Scripture Proofs:
Matthew 6:9, Psalm 51:18, Psalm 122:6, Matthew 7:11, Psalm 125:4, 1 John 5:14.

All things tending to the glory of God! How is God glorified by Rolls-Royces like some Word-Faith teachers drive? Multi-million dollar estates when people don't have houses on North American streets (let alone the rest of the world?)

1 John 5:14, one of the verses referenced by the Catechism in question 184, gives good instruction:

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.

According to his will. It's God's kingdom that's being built. Our own kingdoms aren't, and won't outlive this world.


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