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CHAPTER 4
FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD 
THROUGH PRAYER
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4.3  Endorsed Prayers For Spiritual Needs

You are reading in subchapter 4.3 of chapter 4 in the free, global online book, Fellowship With God in the Sixth Path. Navigation at the top and bottom of each page, allows you to open the table of contents, visit the home page, ask questions or share your story.  The arrow at the top right takes you to the next chapter.  


The Endorsed Prayers for spiritual needs are prayers for power, strength, love, unity, obedience, faith, forgiveness, tranquility, intimacy with God, escape from temptation, forgiveness, spiritual weakness, enemies, rebuke, and mercy.



1983

In 1983 I went to see an arbitrator to discuss a construction dispute which was subject to binding arbitration. His name was Mr. Rohan.


Mr. Rohan was from Czechoslovakia. We had something in common since my ancestry is half Czechoslovakian. He spoke five languages and was highly recommended. He had a Czech accent which was familiar to me from visiting relatives on my father's side.


I sat down at his desk and we introduced ourselves. Then I handed him two large files. Each file was about six inches deep and contained documents related to the construction dispute.


As he reached across the desk for the files, I could see his wrists. Each of Mr. Rohan's wrists had a hole about the size of a railroad spike just below the wrist joint. A railroad spike has a diameter of about one half inch or 1.5 centimeters. The holes did not penetrate all the way through. It looked like huge nails had been driven through his writs and then removed. Over time they must have healed but left him disfigured.


There was a tattoo of a long number next to one of the holes on one wrist. It contained  ten to fifteen digits. I couldn't take my eyes off of his wrists.


He noticed that my eyes were fixed on his wounds. Then he said "When Hitler's troops rolled into Prague during World War 11, I was president of Youth for Democracy. The NAZIS put me in prison. But I had an uncle in Canada who paid a very large sum of money in bribes to get me out.


I was speechless. I didn't ask any questions about the wounds. I had no right to make him relive those horrifying moments. He spoke with no animosity or resentment. I changed the subject to the task at hand... the coming arbitration.


Some of you who are reading this book have experienced brutality personally. Some of you will experience it in your future. All of us experience trauma.  In life we all come up against obstacles that are bigger than we are. We need a supernatural infusion of faith. We need the love of Christ within so that we can love our enemy. We need the strength to survive emotionally when our spirit has been crushed. And we have a whole host of other spiritual needs. That is the subject of this chapter... prayers for the power to prevail.


These prayers apply to the tragedies of life. But they are also necessary for our day to day, minute by minute existence. They are necessary for the abundant life. They are necessary to walk deeply into the Sixth Path... as we "Turn, Turn, Turn and Behold the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18).


Please PRAY these Endorsed Prayers for spiritual needs:



Endorsed Prayer: Increase our faith! 4.3a

  • "The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith" (Luke 17:5).
  • "The Lord said, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have all of you, that he might sift you as wheat, 32 but I prayed for you, that your faith wouldn't fail. You, when once you have turned again, establish your brothers" (Luke 22:31-32).
  • "night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face, and may perfect that which is lacking in your faith" (1 Thessalonians 3:10).
  • "We are bound to always give thanks to God for you, brothers, even as it is appropriate, because your faith grows exceedingly" (2 Thessalonians 1:3).


Prayerful Observations:
In the first passage we see that the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith.


In the second passage we see that Jesus prayed for the faith of Simon.


The third passage is from Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians. Paul indicated that he prayed that he might "perfect that which is lacking" in their faith.


The fourth passage is from the second letter to the Thessalonians. It indicated that their faith has grown exceedingly. Paul gives credit for this growing faith to God. "give thanks to God for you, brothers, even as it is appropriate, because your faith grows exceedingly."


To summarize, the prayer of Paul that was mentioned in 1 Thessalonians resulted in the increase in their faith which was mentioned in 2 Thessalonians.


Existing faith is increased by asking for greater faith.


In Matthew 8:23-26, the disciples were afraid that they were about to drown in a storm. In that situation Jesus said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" So the words of Jesus reveal that fear is a result of a small faith.


Fear is something we are commanded not to do. So, it is a choice. 
  • "Don't be afraid. Don't be dismayed, for Yahweh your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9). 


We can't increase our faith on our own. But we can choose to ask God to multiply our faith. That is part of the remedy for fear and anxiety. The other subchapters in this book provide other parts of the remedy from scripture.


2011
I tried to manufacture more faith in myself for many decades, I could not. It was only after I acknowledged that I could not, that I began to ask God to multiply my faith. For three years I asked God to multiply my faith daily. First I asked Him to double my faith, and then to triple my faith. Then I asked Him to multiply my faith one thousand fold, then ten thousand fold again. Daily and more than once a day, I asked. Then, when the doctor told me that I had cancer in 2014, I had no fear. I actually laughed. If you believe that God will increase your faith by only 10%, ask for it. Then keep asking.



2002
Pray, Trust, Keep Trying


After my son Austin turned sixteen, I told him it was time to get a job. It was summer and jobs were hard to find. The unemployment rate was about 6% at the time. But the unemployment rate for teenagers was 19.5%! The summer is the hardest time of the year for a teenager to find a job. The kids who held the jobs during the school year want more hours, since school is out and they have more time on their hands. There is also an increase in applications from the students who didn't work during the school year but want a summer job. The outlook for a first time summer job was dismal. On a Monday, I told my 16 year old to apply for ten jobs every day until he got one. He said he couldn't come up with ten places to apply.


He applied for ten jobs per day for five days. He received a job on application number forty-five, the following Friday. He was a busboy at a pizza parlor that summer.


2009
Pray, Trust, Keep Trying


My son graduated from college in May of 2009. The economy was in turmoil. It was the Mortgage Debt Crisis. The unemployment rate was nearly 10%. The seniors in his class were not finding jobs. This is what I told him:


"I lived through times like these during the Oil & Gas and Real Estate Depression that occurred in Texas during the 1980's. That's when oil prices fell to $9 per barrel! The Texas unemployment rate rose to 9.3%. Almost every major Texas bank failed and was taken over by an out of state bank. Most of the companies in my industry did not survive." I said... "Expect to call one thousand companies to find a job!" My wife and I admonished him to pray and rely on God. He did!


He contacted about three companies per day. Most were not hiring. Many laughed when he asked if they were hiring. He applied to those which were accepting applications. He lived like a Gypsy on a shoestring, expected success and never asked me for a penny. It took two hundred phone calls to find a job, in his field, with a fast growing company. The job was three hundred miles from his preferred location, but was a great job for him! The search took two months.


What's the lesson? Many become discouraged after a series of failed attempts and stop trying. Never give up! Expect suffering. Expect God to provide what you need according to His will but not necessarily what you want. That was discussed in micro-subchapter 4.2c. 

Being discouraged is a choice. We are actually commanded to not be discouraged. God said to Joshua, 

  • "Haven't I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Don't be afraid. Don't be dismayed, for Yahweh your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9).


That leads to the next verse which tells us to never be anxious.




Endorsed Prayer: I entrust everything to you!     4.3b

  • "In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).


Prayerful Observations:
Here is the Lord's instruction. We are not to be anxious about anything. Jesus told us that fear is a result of a weak faith. Jesus said, ""Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" (Matthew 8:26). Increased faith is granted by God to those who ask for it. This is the Endorsed Prayer of Faith (4.3a).

For many years I have asked God to multiply my faith. Through these years I have seen my faith grow and anxiety diminish. So, I suggest that all of God's children pray the Endorsed Prayer of Faith. Walking the Sixth Path reduces anxiety. Instead of fixing your spiritual eyes on the object of your fear, fix your spiritual eyes on God who is within you. 


If your mind is distracted back to the object of your fear, turn your attention back to God within. Don't struggle against the fear. Turn your heart directly to Go and ask Him to multiply your faith. Then keep your eyes on Him until you sense His peace and power. Then fix your eyes on His work... bearing the yoke of Christ.




Endorsed Prayer: Lead me to the Rock!     4.3c

  • "1 Hear my cry, God. Listen to my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth, I will call to you when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For you have been a refuge for me, a strong tower from the enemy. 4 I will dwell in your tent forever. I will take refuge in the shelter of your wings" (Psalm 61:1, 2).


Prayerful Observations:
This quote is from a Psalm of David. His heart was overwhelmed. He had come to the end of his strength in his struggle against those who wanted to take his life.


In verse 2 he asks God to "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I." We see in verse 3 that God is that rock. He calls God "a refuge for me", "a strong tower from the enemy". Verse 4 reveals protection in God's presence "I will dwell in your tent forever. I will take refuge in the shelter of your wings." This is a  prayer that God will answer. If you ask, He will lead you to Himself.



Strengthen me with power through your spirit!     4.3d

  • I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that you may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, 19 and to know Christ's love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:14-19).


Prayerful Observations:
The letter to the Ephesians is addressed to converts, called "saints" in Ephesians 1:1. In verses 1:3-13, Paul has described "every spiritual blessing" that they have in Christ. Now in the above passage, 3:14-19, Paul is praying those blessings into them. His prayer is for strength through the Holy Spirit (v16). Intimacy, comprehension (v18) and being filled with God (v19) are received through this prayer.


The phrases "dwell in your hearts" (v17) and "know Christ's love" (v19) indicate intimate fellowship. They don't indicate conversion because Paul has acknowledged that he is writing to "saints" in verse 1:1. The Greek word translated as "dwell" is also used elsewhere in scripture for "dwell in" Nazareth, Capernaum, Jerusalem, etc. To speak of one person as dwelling in another person, is to speak of intimacy. Christ is in us (Galatians 2:20). But, Paul wrote in Galatians 4:19 that he was working "until Christ is formed in you". So, the dwelling of Christ in our hearts is a progressive process, as Christ is formed in us. Paul accomplished this in the easy two step disciple-making process we have discussed: Speak the words of the Father and pray.



Endorsed Prayer: Increase my love!     4.3e

  • "This I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense to the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God" (Philippians 1:9-11).


Prayerful Observations:
Our ability to love comes from God. We receive it by asking for it. The verse also states that our ability to recognize excellence comes from this request for love (v 10). Sincerity and fruit of righteousness are also results of this prayer.


Having mentioned his prayer for increased love in Philippians 1:9, he admonishes them to love in verse 2:2. So, again we see the easy two-step process for making disciples: Pray (v 1:9) and speak the words of the Father (v 2:2). You can imitate this two-step process for yourself and for others.


Loving faith is the one commandment we have in the new covenant: "This is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he commanded" (1 John 3:23). Many admonitions from New Covenant scriptures come from this one command. In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus said that all of the Old Covenant law and prophets depended on the command to love. So, much obedience is accomplished by asking God to increase our love.


In the New Covenant, we have been "discharged from the law" to "serve in newness of the spirit" (Rom 7:6-7). The subchapter titled "After Pentecost: From the Law to the Spirit" in the appendix explains this in great detail (subchapter A3).


But we are under the command to love in the New Covenant. Love is received by prayer. The Holy Spirit reminds us to love (John 14:26). We either yield to the Spirit or resist the Spirit.



Endorsed Prayer: Give me obedience!     4.3f

  • "Now I pray to God that you do no evil" (2 Corinthians 13:7).


Prayerful Observations:
These are the words of Paul the apostle to the Church at Corinth. Obedience is something that is granted by God to His children through prayers of faith. If we believe that God will grant obedience through our prayer, He will. If we don't, He won't. We shouldn't expect anything from prayers prayed with doubt (James 1:5-7).


It is a matter of "who" do we trust for our obedience. In John 15:5 Jesus said, "apart from me, you can do nothing." My spiritual life is being transformed as I give up on my ability to obey God and trust fully on Him to do obedience in me. I didn't say that I gave up on obedience. I gave up on trying harder. We do make a choice. The choice is to ask God to do obedience in me.


If our spiritual progress is two steps forward and two steps back, then we must change the object of our faith. Paul would not have prayed this prayer if it was not necessary. Obedience is something that God does in us.


God chooses how and when to answer prayer. This is explained in the section titled "The Progressive Nature of Answered Prayer" in the subchapter titled "Conditions for Answered Prayer" (subchapter 4.11). He may use suffering over time to perfect obedience in us.


In 1 Peter 4:1 it is written "Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind; for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin," Yes, sin can cease. Cessation from sin can come about through pain... lots of physical pain. And, yes, it is worth it. Just how complete this cessation from sin is, I do not know. The apostle Paul didn't know. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:3-4 "I don't judge my own self. 4 For I know nothing against myself. Yet I am not justified by this, but he who judges me is the Lord." Notice that the passage from 1 Peter says, "arm yourselves also with the same mind". We should arm ourselves with the mindset that Christ had. He was willing to suffer to do God's will. That willingness is armor. It is hard for Satan to intimidate a saint into sin, when the saint is willing to suffer for His Lord.


Possibly, this is one reason for fasting in prayer. The practice of fasting is a choice to suffer for a spiritual purpose. Fasting helps break the habit of automatically avoiding suffering. Acts 13:2-3 and Acts 14:23 provide examples of fasting in the New Covenant. Of course, fasting is something that is done in conjunction with prayer.


As we suffer pain, we should fix our spiritual eyes on God within. In intense pain, I have spent long periods meditating, seeing Jesus on the cross in my mind's eye. We should make good use of all of our pain. Instead of focusing on the pain, we should dwell on Him. By prayer, we can do this. We turn, turn, turn and behold the Lord.



Endorsed Prayer: Lord, I enter your presence from the fire!     4.3g

  • Jesus said "Pray that you don't enter into temptation" (Luke 22:40).


Prayerful Observations:
Jesus made this statement in the garden of Gethsemane just before His betrayal by Judas, arrest and crucifixion. Jesus had often predicted His suffering and death (Mark 8:31). Jesus had also told the disciples that on that very night they would all fall away. But they were all self confidant. The scripture for this Endorsed Prayer is "Pray that you don't enter into temptation". But I believe that the character of this Endorsed Prayer in the context is "Lord, I enter into your presence from the fire". There is more to this instruction to pray than is apparent on the surface.


One prayer that we may pray in response to temptation is this one sentence prayer: "God don't let me enter into temptation". That is an appropriate prayer. And that one sentence prayer is the subject of the prayer in the next Endorsed Prayer (micro-subchapter 4.3h). But I believe that the words of Jesus in this passage intended far more than a one sentence prayer.


Jesus intended a prolonged period of intense fellowship with God in a wide variety of prayers, worship, confession and requests. The prolonged intense two way conversation with God that should have occurred in the Garden of Gethsemane would have requested spiritual power for protection of the soul, in the test of fire that was coming. Furthermore, the disciples should have remained in the conscious presence of God until the temptation had passed.


Moses prayed for forty days on two occasions when annihilation loomed before Israel (Deuteronomy 9:16-19, 23-26; Exodus 32:7-14). However, the disciples didn't have forty days to pray before Jesus' arrest. But they did need to remain in a prolonged intense connection to the Father to receive victory over temptation when the mob led Jesus away to His torture. Now I will tell you why.


The context of this verse is Luke 22:39-53. Matthew 26:30-56 also describes this event. Jesus is praying with the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His arrest and crucifixion. If you will read both accounts, it will be clear that Jesus intended an extended period of prayer when He said, "Pray that you don't enter into temptation". He did not intend a one sentence prayer.


Here is what happened in the account from Luke 22:39-53.


After telling the disciples to pray, Jesus himself prayed (v 41). As Jesus prayed fervently and in agony, an angel appeared and strengthened Him (v 43).  So, time is passing as the angel strengthens Jesus. But instead of praying, the disciples slept (v 45). Jesus, having been strengthened by the angel in response to His prayer, went on and fulfilled the will of the Father by His death on the cross. But the disciples left Him and fled (Matthew 26:56). They fell away and were scattered, as Jesus said that they would (Matthew 26:31).


It may seem odd that the Son of God would be strengthened by an angel. I will discuss this a moment and then return to the main point. Consider what God did with Jesus: "You made him a little lower than the angels. You crowned him with glory and honor. You have put all things in subjection under his feet" (Hebrews 2:7-8).


God brought Jesus low and then raised Him high. In this we see the authority of the Father as He apportions and adjusts spiritual authority within His realm, according to His will.


Now, back to the main point. Jesus demonstrated the role of prayer in prevailing over temptation. He requested grace from the Father. The spiritual grace He received was the grace of divine strength. The Father granted that strength through the spiritual authority of His choosing... in this case through an angel. This was a supernatural event that God performed in response to Jesus' prayer. But the disciples did not pray and therefore fell without being strengthened. No angel appeared to strengthen the sleeping disciples. 


While they did fall away (Matthew 26:31), their faith did not fail because of the prayer of Jesus in Luke 22:31-32. After falling, Peter returned and the disciples were strengthened. So, prayer is God's provision to keep us from breaking fellowship through sin and also to return us into fellowship, after we sin. Prayer is also one of God's means of providing strength by grace through spiritual authorities in His kingdom. 


God is sovereign. As one of the redeemed, you are no longer under the authority of darkness, but have been transferred into the kingdom of the Son (Colossians 1:13). Satan may tempt you, but only as allowed by your Father. God is the gatekeeper. In the flesh, we do not have the supernatural power to protect ourselves from temptation. Therefore our Lord instructed the disciples to "Pray that you don't enter into temptation."


As temptation matures into sin, I observe that it passes through three distinct stages. First, the temptation appears. This is when the soul may recognize the temptation. Second, the soul "enters into" the temptation by allowing the enticement to hold the attention of the soul. Third, the soul enters into sin, either with the heart or with the body.


The best opportunity for escape from temptation is available immediately after the temptation first appears. If that opportunity is not taken, then the soul will "enter into" the temptation. Next the soul will "enter into" the sin.


Those who walk deeply in the Sixth Path will respond to temptation as they do to all events that they encounter in that path. They will "enter into" the presence of the Lord and appraise the event under His authority and by His power. Upon the appearance of temptation, one who walks the Sixth Path will immediately turn to the Lord, to "enter into" His presence.


The appearance of temptation is a crossroads. At the moment in which temptation first appears, the soul will either "enter into" the Lord's presence, or "enter into" the temptation. If I don't enter into the Lord's presence, I tend to keep looking at the temptation until I enter. "Entering into" the temptation is like a greased shoot, leading downward into sin. 

My point is this. In time of temptation, we must focus our spiritual gaze on God within. We can't look at both God and temptation at the same time.  


Hebrews 12:1-2 says that laying sin aside is something that happens as we fix our spiritual gaze on Jesus:


  • "lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let's run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus".


There are those who suggest meditation as a remedy for anxiety. One may meditate on a dot, leaf or other object. This practice provides a distraction that some have found to be helpful. But, the dot and the leaf inject no power into the soul. The soul on the Sixth Path fixes his spiritual eyes on God who lives within. God has power to transform. 2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us this:


  • "But we all, with unveiled face seeing the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit."


When the soul encounters temptation and turns to the Lord, it must hold its gaze on the Lord until the temptation passes. The mind may be distracted back to the temptation. But, instead of fighting the temptation, the soul on the Sixth Path just turns its attention back to the Spirit of the Lord within. The soul is listening for instruction from the Lord. The soul is receiving power from him, offering praise and making requests. It is praying the Endorsed Prayers. On the other hand, the soul may just behold the Lord and listen.

The temptation may be pride, bitterness, fear, envy, lust, or etc. No matter what the temptation may be, the soul on the Sixth Path keeps turning inward to the Lord, again and again and again... until the temptation passes.


In this way, the soul is praying so that it doesn't "enter into temptation". Sometimes this prayer uses words. Sometimes it is a prayer of silence. Either way, the soul is essentially "entering into" the Lord's presence instead of "entering into temptation". It is difficult for a soul to sin while it is beholding the Lord.

Summary of this micro-subchapter 4.3g:
To summarize this powerful prayer, I will repeat the admonition of Jesus to the disciples as the test of fire approached them "Pray that you don't enter into temptation". I will also repeat the Endorsed Prayer that arises from this admonition of Jesus: "Lord, I enter your presence from the fire!"



Endorsed Prayer: Lead me not into temptation!     4.3h

  • "Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one" (Luke 11:4).


Prayerful Observations:
Some think it strange to pray this prayer. They think that God would not lead us to be tempted. But sometimes the Father sends us on a mission which brings us into temptation. The Father did this with Jesus. Matthew 4:1 states "Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."


I checked fourteen translations of the Bible.  "to be tempted" is the translation of all of them. I don't know of a translation that doesn't translate the passage as "to be tempted".

We know that God does not tempt man from James 1:13. We are tempted by Satan and by our own lusts (Matthew 4:11, James 1:14). But, sometimes God will send us into the path of temptation.


In this prayer, we ask God to "deliver us from the evil one." We must respond to temptation with faith in God, not faith in ourselves. It is God who "knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation", (2 Peter 2:9). It is God who makes "the way of escape", (1 Corinthians 10:13). Christ is "one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin", (Hebrews 4:15). It is Christ who "is able to help those who are tempted", (Hebrews 2:18). And Christ is in us! (Galatians 2:20)


Now, let's return our attention to the prayer: "Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." The context of this passage is Luke 11:1-4 when Jesus taught the disciples how to pray.

In this prayer we honor the Father, by telling Him that we don't want to dishonor Him by sinning. We are acknowledging that the Father has authority over temptation. Even though the devil tempts man (Matthew 4:1), the Father determines whether we are tempted and how we may be tempted. In the book of Job, Satan asked God for permission to harm Job. Satan's intention was to tempt Job to renounce God (Job 1:11, 2:5). God granted that permission to Satan. Even though Job was perplexed by his suffering, God didn't tell Job why he was suffering. God owes us no explanation.


But God does send us on missions. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that He has predetermined works for us to walk in. And temptations will arise as we walk in those works (Galatians 6:1). As we carry the yoke of Christ to make disciples, we will be tempted by pride, greed, bitterness, coveting, envy, immorality and etc.


God is the one who decides what missions we are sent on. We will often find temptation along the way. But He has provided this prayer as one means to prevail over temptation. And He will not send us into a temptation which is too difficult. "God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13)


This passage clearly indicates that God will "make the way of escape". One way of escape is this prayer: "Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." This prayer, as one of the Endorsed Prayers, is part of walking in the Sixth Path. In the Sixth Path we continually turn to the Lord. We Turn, Turn, Turn and Behold the Lord!



Endorsed Prayer: Forgive me!     4.3i

  • "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).


Prayerful Observations:
Forgiveness is conditioned on confession. The result of our confession is two-fold: Forgiveness and cleansing.


This forgiveness and cleansing is to restore fellowship. It is not a cleansing to keep us from damnation, as Christ has already accomplished our freedom from damnation:

  • Christ "through his own blood, entered in once for all into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12).


Prayerful Observations:
Eternal redemption is ours at conversion by His blood. This redemption is eternal. It is not intermittent or probationary. If redemption was intermittent or probationary, it would not be ETERNAL. This redemption last forever. Failure to confess sin does not result in damnation to a child of God. It makes one unclean, but not damned.


According to Ephesians 2:8, we are saved by faith, not works. And there is no such thing as one who believes and stops believing. This is the very explicit teaching of Hebrews 3:6, 14.


Now, back to the subject passage:
  • "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).


There are two cleansings. One occurs at conversion. The other occurs as we confess sins committed after conversion. This is taught in the thirteenth chapter of John. I will explain.


At the Passover meal, shortly before Christ's arrest and crucifixion, Jesus washed the disciple's feet to show them that there were two cleansings (John 13:1-15). He said that those who were "completely clean" must allow Christ to wash their feet. Jesus said that if the disciples did not allow Him to wash their feet, that they would "have no part with" him. It would break fellowship. He said that they would "understand later" what He had done for them. They would understand after they saw His blood shed for them. They were eternally and "completely clean" by His blood (Hebrews 9:12).


Here is the passage from John 13:1-15


"Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his time had come that he would depart from this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came from God, and was going to God, 4 arose from supper, and laid aside his outer garments. He took a towel and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 Then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 Then he came to Simon Peter. He said to him, 'Lord, do you wash my feet?'


7 Jesus answered him, 'You don't know what I am doing now, but you will understand later.' 

8 Peter said to him, 'You will never wash my feet!'

Jesus answered him, 'If I don't wash you, you have no part with me.'

9 Simon Peter said to him, 'Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!'

10 Jesus said to him, 'Someone who has bathed only needs to have his feet washed, but is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you' 

11 For he knew him who would betray him (Judas), therefore he said, 'You are not all clean.' 12 So when he had washed their feet, put his outer garment back on, and sat down again, he said to them, 'Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call me, 'Teacher' and 'Lord.' You say so correctly, for so I am. 14 If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should also do as I have done to you."


Prayerful Observations regarding John 13:1-15
Some say that the washing of the disciple's feet teaches us to serve one another. But a message of serving does not fit the particulars of the event. If the message was one of service, then the teaching would be to allow others to serve us in little things (foot washing) when we were "completely clean". Peter was rebuked for not allowing Jesus to wash his feet. The rebuke was not because Peter wouldn't wash the feet of Jesus. Furthermore, if we didn't allow someone to do little things for us, we would "have no part" with them. This amounts a message of enjoying fellowship by letting others serve us when our needs were small. Additionally, if the message was about service or hygiene, they would have been able to understand that message before the crucifixion. Jesus would not have said, "'You don't know what I am doing now, but you will understand later" (v 7).


Jesus said, "'Someone who has bathed only needs to have his feet washed, but is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you". The foot washing didn't' apply to Judas because he was not "completely clean". He needed a complete cleaning. He needed to be converted "through the washing of regeneration" (Titus 3:5). A relationship must exist before it can be restored. We don't know if Jesus washed the feet of Judas, since the account doesn't tell us. If Judas was in the room at the time and Jesus skipped Judas, they would not have understood, since Jesus said in verse 7 "You don't know what I am doing now, but you will understand later." They probably thought that it had to do with foot comfort, hygiene or service. Perhaps Judas had already washed his feet. We don't know. The use of the phrase "the disciples" in verse 5 does not mean that all twelve were present (John 18:1-3).


Verse eleven says, "For he knew him who would betray him, therefore He said, "You are not all clean." When Jesus said that Judas was not clean, it is clear that He was speaking of a spiritual uncleanness. He was not speaking of a physical need.


Summary:
John 13:1-15 teaches that a convert's fellowship with Christ is broken as a result of sin. Broken fellowship with one who is "completely clean" is what Jesus meant by the sentence "If I don't wash you, you have no part with me" (v 8). That fellowship is restored by allowing Christ to forgive us "wash our feet". It also teaches that fellowship with brothers in Christ is broken because of sin. Fellowship among brothers is restored in the same way. We confess our sins to each other and the injured brother forgives (washes our feet). If we do not do this, fellowship is not restored, no matter how much time passes.



1976

One of my parents used to say "I don't want revenge. I just want to get even." It can take a long time to get even. My parents were in some form of litigation for most of the period between 1968 and 1993, a quarter century. It caused a lot of tension. I was typically caught in between. There can be hell to pay when one refuses to cooperate in one person's vendetta against another. In my experience, saying "no" is not usually the end of the matter. If one doesn't keep one's eyes fixed on Christ, one can get lost.


One way that we get lost is from our tendency to avoid suffering. Most of us try to avoid suffering. We tend to do this automatically. We don't need to train ourselves to automatically avoid suffering. 1 Peter 4:1 says "he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin". One must come to terms with physical pain. Fasting is one way to develop the proper attitude towards suffering. Through fasting, one breaks the habit of automatic pain avoidance.


One of my parents filed for divorce against the other in 1968, 1972 and in 1976. Even after they were divorced, they were typically involved in some kind of lawsuit against each other. In the six members of my childhood family, seven divorces have been filed so far.


During the third divorce of my parents in 1976, a family member did a very evil thing to me. I will refer to that person as "Peyton". It was the most devastating event in my life. That is true to the present day, nearly half a century later.


It brought me to the edge of some sort of emotional or spiritual precipice. It was as if evil was calling me into a darkness where I would feel nothing. I screamed "Jesus", and collapsed onto the floor and sobbed. But I was sobbing in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.


For two years I was filled with hatred for Peyton. But after those two years, I realized that my hatred was destroying me. I couldn't find a place in the Bible where I was instructed to forgive one who wouldn't confess their sin. But I decided that I needed to forgive that person anyway. I had to stop the destruction that my hatred was causing in my soul.


I still saw Peyton regularly at family gatherings. At one point, Peyton asked me why I didn't call or visit. My response was "You said you would call the sheriff if I ever came back." Peyton denied the entire event, as if it had never happened. I concluded that possibly, because of severe emotional trauma, Peyton had some sort of blackout. Our family had severe emotional trauma ad infinitum. So, I began to call and visit. But fellowship was not restored. I could always sense Peyton's anger.


After that, Peyton became angry at me because I would not join in an attack on another family member. In anger, Peyton said "You are so *#*#. That's why I did #*#~* to you." My response was "So, you do remember what you did to me."


I continued to forgive, in the knowledge that Peyton knew full well what Peyton had done, even though Peyton refused to confess or ask for forgiveness. Over the decades Peyton did nice things to me. Peyton seemed to think that a wicked act could be atoned for by adding good acts to cancel the bad. Peyton seemed to think that time would heal the wounds.

I will address this figuratively. If Peyton cuts of Jim's toes, with Jim being the primary witness of Peyton's act, but Peyton refuses to apologize or even acknowledge said act... Peyton will not be able heal the relationship by bringing donuts to Jim for decades. Even though Jim forgives Peyton, the relationship is not restored.


There are two parts to the restoration of human relationships. There are two parts to the restoration of the relationship between a convert and God. The two parts are confession by the offender and forgiveness by the one offended. If only one of the two parts is completed without the other part, the relationship is not restored.


That is why Jesus said "If I don't wash you, you have no part with me." We confess when our feet are dirty. The forgiveness by the offended one is figuratively represented by washing the offender's dirty feet.


So, if you have broken your relationship with another person by your sin, here is the way to restore fellowship: Confessing your wrong to that person and ask for forgiveness. If the other person will not forgive, the relationship will not be restored, but you will have done your part. You can then pray that the other person will forgive you.


For those of you who have been deeply wounded by the sins of another, you need to forgive the offender to avoid destroying your life in your own bitterness, anger and hatred.


I will relate one other case of a family member sinning against me. I will call this person Devon. Even though I forgave Devon, Devon would not apologize. I still invited Devon over for holidays, family events and etc. for years. But I did not allow Devon to be alone with my children out of concern that Devon would try to turn them against me. If you are not concerned about your physical safety, you may be able to do the same. For those of you who have been severely wounded, I have prayed.


The feud between my parents and all the tensions associated with it continued until one of them died. Jesus said "all those who take the sword will die by the sword "Matthew 26:52. If you are refusing to forgive, please reconsider. Save yourself. Forgive as your Lord has forgiven you.



Endorsed Prayer: Draw me into your intimate presence!     4.3j

  • "1 The Song of songs, which is Solomon's. 2 'Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for your love is better than wine. 3 Your oils have a pleasing fragrance. Your name is oil poured out, therefore the virgins love you. 4 Take me away with you. Let's hurry. The king has brought me into his rooms'" (Song of Solomon 1:1-4).


Prayerful Observations:
These are the first four verses of the Song of Solomon. The book calls itself "the Song of Songs". As a historical account, verses two through four are the words of the Shulamite bride to her husband to be, King Solomon. Allegorically, it is the prayer of a saint for intimacy with God in this life ("Let him kiss me... your love is better than wine... Take me away with you").


We know that the request is for intimacy in the present, since the intimacy is granted in verse 4 ("The king has brought me into his rooms.") So, these verses represent a prayer for intimacy in this life, before the greater intimacy of complete union with Christ in the paradise of the New Jerusalem.


The Song of Solomon was written by Solomon. Solomon also wrote the book of Ecclesiastes and most of Proverbs. As a writer of inspired scripture, he was a prophet. Like all prophets, he had short comings and failures.


Some say that the book is about sexual desire within human marriage. However, the book could not be called the "Song of songs" in verse 1, if its purpose related to human romance. How could a human love song be greater than all of the songs of praise to God in the book of Psalms?


The issue is resolved in verse 8:6:
  • "Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm; for love is strong as death. Jealousy is as cruel as Sheol. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a very flame of Yahweh."


Yahweh is the personal name of God. The jealousy of Solomon is the "very flame of Yahweh". This passage makes it clear that Yahweh was the subject of the Song of Solomon romance all along. Solomon was a type of Christ. This fact has been hidden in many English versions of the Bible wherein translators have removed God's name, Yahweh, from His book. This is discussed at length in the subchapter titled "Yahweh" in the appendix (A4).


The New Testament reveals that the New Jerusalem is the bride of Christ. Believers are citizens of the New Jerusalem. So, the saints are essentially the bride of Christ. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 11:2 "I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him."


Summary:
I understand the Song of Solomon to represent the desire of God's people for intimate union with Christ, the King. This view is explained in more depth in the subchapter 6.1 titled "The Eternal State in Paradise: The New Jerusalem". Various commentaries supporting this view are presented there.

I will repeat the scripture on which this Endorsed Prayer is founded and the Endorsed Prayer:
  • "1 The Song of songs, which is Solomon's. 2 'Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth; for your love is better than wine. 3 Your oils have a pleasing fragrance. Your name is oil poured out, therefore the virgins love you. 4 Take me away with you. Let's hurry. The king has brought me into his rooms'" (Song of Solomon 1:1-4).


The Endorsed Prayer arising from this scripture is: Draw me into your intimate presence!



Endorsed Prayer: Heal our spiritual illnesses!"     4.3k

  • "13 Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praises. 14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, 15 and the prayer of faith will heal him who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it didn't rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 He prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. 19 Brothers, if any among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:13-20).


Prayerful Observations:
Verse 15 states "and the prayer of faith will heal him who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven."


I found it strange that a prayer for healing of a physical illness would bring about the forgiveness of sin. Forgiveness of sin comes from repentance and confession as we saw in micro-subchapter 4.3i. To resolve this conflict, I looked up the Greek words underlying the word "sick" in verses 14 and 15. "Sick" in verse 14 is from the Greek word astheneo. Astheneo occurs thirty-three times in the World English Bible. It is translated as "weak" fifteen times and as "sick" twenty times. "Sick" in verse 15 is from the Greek word kamno. Kamno only occurs two other times in the bible. In those places it is translated as "weary".


Here are some examples where astheneo is translated as "weak" and clearly indicates spiritual sickness:

  • "Without being weakened in faith" (Romans 4:19).
  •  "wounding their conscience when it is weak" (1 Corinthians 8:12).
  • "Now accept one who is weak in faith" (Romans 14:1).


Here are the other two occurrences of the word kamno. In both verses it is translated as "weak" and clearly indicates spiritual sickness:


  •  "don't grow weary, fainting in your souls" (Hebrews 12:3).
  • "You have perseverance and have endured for my name's sake, and have not grown weary" (Revelation 2:3).


If "sick" is understood as spiritual sickness, the conflict is resolved and the flow of thought is restored in James 5:13-20.


I will repeat the passage here for your convenience:


  • "13 Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praises. 14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the assembly, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, 15 and the prayer of faith will heal him who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it didn't rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 He prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. 19 Brothers, if any among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:13-20).


Here is the flow of thought for verses 13-20:
V13: The appropriate response to suffering is prayer. Our response to prosperity is praise.
V 14: The spiritually weak ask the elders for prayer. (A spiritual weakness may be a weak faith, doubting God or His word). Not only is this request a confession, it is a public confession.
V 15: Having confessed and received prayer, his spiritual malady is healed and he is forgiven.
V 16: "Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another" is a summary of verses 14-15. "The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective" endorses intercessory prayer by one person to establish spiritual health in another person. Many Endorsed Prayers do exactly that.
V 17-18: Elijah is used as an example of intercessory prayer.
V 19-20: This summarizes the preceding verses 14-18. "The insistent prayer of a righteous person" can turn the wanderer back to God and deliver him from the death of broken fellowship.
Death in verse 20 does not mean damnation. James was written to people who had faith (v 1:3). Death in verse 20 is from the Greek word "thanatos". The only other place where "thanatos' is used in the book of James is in verse 1:15. In 1:15, death is the result of giving in to sin when one is tempted. This death is a break in fellowship.


Verse 20 is the end of the book of James. With verses 14-20 interpreted as I have outlined, this section is a logical conclusion to the whole book of James. The whole book is about spiritual weakness in general. It is not about the healing of physical illnesses.


One final observation: When scripture appears to be a series of random unrelated sentences with no logical flow of thought, this is a clear indication that the passage has been misunderstood. PRAY the passage. He will reveal the meaning in His time. This passage puzzled me for over forty years before I understood it. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, by Walvoord and Zuck is the best I have seen for explaining the logical flow of thought in scripture.



Endorsed Prayer: Humble Rebuke      4.3L

  • "8 Yet in the same way, these also in their dreaming defile the flesh, despise authority, and slander celestial beings. 9 But Michael, the archangel, when contending with the devil and arguing about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him an abusive condemnation, but said, 'May the Lord rebuke you!'" (Jude 1:8-9).


Prayerful Observations:
We are not to pronounce abusive condemnations against those who do evil. This applies to the highest degree of evil, even to Satan himself. Even Satan is not a justifiable target of our insults. Though we will eventually judge the world and angels, we will judge under the authority of Christ as we sit with Him on His throne, by His grace. (See subchapter 6.2 titled "Rule the Earth".) So tirades are prohibited entirely.


Those in verse 8 despised authority and spoke slanderously. But we are to acknowledge that we are under authority, and respond accordingly. So, Michael appealed to God to rebuke Satan. He said, "May the Lord rebuke you! This is a model of prayer for us to imitate. It is called a prayer of humble rebuke. This is a prayer for demolishing strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).

When we observe others committing sin, instead of going on a tirade at or about them, we should ask God to rebuke them. We may be uncertain as to whether the person is sinning in their heart or not. The prayer of humble rebuke is still appropriate. God, who knows their hearts perfectly, can rebuke them in their spirit perfectly. This applies to politicians, employers, family members, acquaintances and preachers who preach falsehood. It is our role to make a humble request to the King, not to grumble and complain, either silently or publicly.


"May the Lord rebuke you" may sound like a strange way to ask God to do something. You may be wondering whether this is a wish or a request. I believe that it is a request for two reasons: 1) Michael was looking at the face of God when he made that statement. 2) "May the Lord" is a form used when making a request to a sovereign in the third person. I will explain both points in order.


1) Unlike we humans living on the earth, angels live in the continual visual presence of God. In Matthew 18:10 Jesus said: "See that you don't despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven." So, when Michael is talking with Satan, he sees the face of Satan and the face of God at the same time. Therefore, as Michael said, "May the Lord rebuke you!" he was looking at the face of God.

2) Out of great respect and reverence, a request to an authority may be made in the third person. Esther 5:3-4 provides an example of this:
  • "Then the king asked her, "What would you like, queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you even to the half of the kingdom."4 Esther said, "If it seems good to the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him."


Now the king was her husband. His name was Ahasuerus. But she didn't say "Ahasuerus, please come to my banquet". She said, "If it seems good to the king, let the king and Haman come today to the banquet that I have prepared for him." Her request was made directly to "the king" but in the third person. She called him "the king". Her words of invitation were in the form "let the king come". While making a request directly to her husband, she called him "him" instead of "you". She described the banquet as "the banquet that I have prepared for him".


So, Michael's words "May the Lord rebuke" is in the same form as Esther's "let the king come". Both statements are phrased as a request presented to a sovereign, in the third person.


In summary:
When we observe anyone committing sin, instead of going on a tirade at or about them, we should ask God to rebuke them. I even pray this prayer for myself. If I am unsure as to whether I am pleasing the Lord or not, I will pray the prayer of humble rebuke. I will ask Him to rebuke me in my spirit, if I am not pleasing him.



Endorsed Prayer: I entrust everything to you!     4.3m

  • "In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).


Prayerful Observations:
Here is the Lord's instruction. We are not to be anxious about anything. Jesus said that fear is a result of weak faith. Jesus said, ""Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" (Matthew 8:26). Increased faith is granted by God to those who ask for it. This is the Endorsed Prayer of Faith.

For many years I have asked God to multiply my faith. Through these years I have seen my faith grow and anxiety diminish. So, I suggest that all of God's children pray the Endorsed Prayer of Faith. Walking the Sixth Path reduces anxiety. Instead of fixing your spiritual eyes on the object of your fear, fix your spiritual eyes on God who is within you. 

If your mind is distracted back to the object of your fear, turn your attention back to God within. Don't struggle against the fear. Turn your heart directly to Go and ask Him to multiply your faith. Then keep your eyes on Him until you sense His peace and power. Then fix your eyes on His work... bearing the yoke of Christ.
"The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith"
 Luke 17:5

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