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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Do You Believe in Prayer?

The Creeds grew out of the "I believe" professions of faith at baptism in the early church. Later Church leaders debated what "we believe" at different Councils (like Nicea, Constantinople, Chalcedon, Ephesus; for more information see--- Trust in God is primary; it is faith as relationship. The Creeds are secondary, faith as "beliefs." Right belief ("orthodoxy") is about the truth so it matters very much. The Creeds, however, do not address everything. For example, we also believe in the Bible, in the sacraments and in prayer. Unfortunately, we know that we "believe" in exercise and healthy eating; sometimes belief is just an idea in our minds. We need to act on our beliefs.

In Luke 11, Jesus teaches us how to pray. Prayer opens us to "communion" with God the Holy Three. It places us in the loving arms of our Creator-Savior. Through it we are sanctified as His holy children. In it we find out true identity and home!

The Bible is filled with prayers and stories about praying people. Luke says Jesus prayed constantly, both alone and with others. Jesus commanded His disciples to pray. Praying is hard for impatient people so He taught us to "pray and not lose heart" (Lk 18:1). Prayer is also a waiting game. It is a faith expression.

To pray in Jesus Name means to pray like Jesus. In the ancient world the name, character and person are deeply connected, and can be used interchangeably. This is why the Lord's Prayer is so vital. It shows us how to pray in Jesus' Name (in, with, through Jesus). First, in the Lord's prayer, we focus on the Father--His glory and His Kingdom. This is "loving God" in action. After this, Jesus says we should ask for forgiveness, sustenance and protection. This is trust.

So here is the key: Make the Kingdom your heart's desire! Glorify the Father and actively trust Him for your needs, then you will be like Jesus. You can pray with confidence because you are praying for the things the Father has kindly promised to give us in love. This alignment with the Father is the center.

In the parable Jesus says, "If you can get grumpy humans to give you what you want; how much more can you trust God to hear you?" TRUST is the key! Jesus calls God Abba (Daddy). Before we pray we should recite this ‘creed’: "I am His precious child. He is love. Our Dad in Heaven cares. He wants us to pray."  

“Believe and trust," but remember that we don't always know what we really need. We are messed up by sin. The devil and the world confuse us, too. We miscalculate, focusing on the wrong things. In fact, sometimes we think we are praying for “bread and fish” but it's actually “snakes and scorpions”! This is why the gift of the Holy Spirit is the most important thing we can ask for. God inside us is the greatest need. Focus on the Holy Spirit in prayer! We need to discern what is best. We need to align with God.

Jesus promises it will all (every good and beneficial thing) be ours
Ask... Seek...Knock... Keep at it! Constantly. Remember, though prayer is about union with God, becoming His earthen vessel, His Temple, His child. So do not let lists of requests deter you from loving communion.

If you understand that the Holy Spirit of God prays in you...
If you trust Jesus prays with you...
If you believe the Father loves you and wants to give you all you need...
Then you believe in the power of prayer.
If you believe in the power of prayer, then pray.
Talk to God and listen to God. Constantly.

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