This is a study of who and how God calls upon us to pray. Jesus gave direction in Mark 6:9-10 "This then, is how you should pray: ' Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…" Christ also said in John 17:8-9 "…I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours". Also in John 17:20-21 "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." Prayer without discernment is like the three blind men each holding a different part of an elephant, trying in this limited vantage to describe the entire animal. Or in the secular world, like those misled and ignorant of issues and reality around them, still however voting in government representatives they believe will represent them. In both of these instances is serious error similar to the adage concerning a lawyer representing himself, or the doctor operating upon them selves, both described as a fool to do such. In the spiritual world it being considerably more disastrous, here a persons soul and the soul of others may be at stake. The Lord has commanded we not only replace worldly wisdom and knowledge with Gods wisdom and knowledge, but that we must also know the schemes and strength of our enemy, warned to be as wise as the serpent who is Satan. And here is the failing of so many, apparently believing ignorance is spiritually innocence and wise. Instead praying often in error, not for the purpose and will of God, but emotionally fooled into praying for the facades of Satan. Do they truly believe there are no instances and issues the Lord has not warned against praying, then they are on dangerous grounds. Clearly the Lord does not ask we pray for Saint and Demon in the same way, nor obey the authority of God and the authority of Satan in the same way, yet those obedient in the Lord must submit themselves to the Office, meaning the Position of authority God establishes. Understand it is the spiritual realm in which God speaks of in Offices and Authorities. The difference regarding authorities in this realm being those within the will of God, and those in rebellion revolting against the will of God- yet fulfilling His purpose. Most dangerous are the sanctuary of Satan [1 John 5:16], certainly those Christ said He was not calling prayer for. All authorities serve a purpose and fulfill the will of God, however not all fulfill the good purpose of God. Instead as the willful and disobedient that stray from God, these as often finding spiritual darkness creeping into and becoming the authority over their lives. At the same time concerning the faithful before all authorities, if given a word by God, we are to speak boldly as in Matt 10:27-28 "What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the rooftops. Do not be afraid of those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body." It is true we are commanded to love our enemies, as in Luke 6:35-36 " But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." But how does God tell us to pray in relation to our enemy, again there is clue in 2Thess 3:1-3 "And pray that we may be delivered from the wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one." Another clue may be found in the teaching Christ gave in 1John 5:16-17 "If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death. I am not saying that he should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death." A Christian needs to learn and know if a persons sin is that which leads to death. This very wisdom and knowledge is needed in life for those who are to mature. Does it make any difference if we know the sin that leads to death, this is not a foolish question, apparently many teacher preparing Gods people are unaware of the answer. The answer of course is that from constant use of Gods word, we learn to distinguish good from evil. We need to know when the anti-Christ's and false prophet's or teacher's are leading others astray, we need pray for Gods wisdom and knowledge, seeking the true church that is being brought into unity and maturity. Prayer from beginning to everlasting is our communion with the Lord, it is the Lord who gives good gifts to men. From this we know as shown in 1Thess 5:15-16 "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." We also know in Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Grace is freely given to those who seek in repentance, revealed in Luke 3:2-3 "…preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." Now then sin remains for the unrepentant, for to reject the Savior who came to forgive sin, is to remain in sin. Then it is in error to pray for a persons sin and the rejection of Grace, pray instead to bind and reveal the evil that has trapped a person in sin, so they might see the truth and come to repentance. Often church leaders are heard asking their congregation to pray for some need or concern, and this is right being good advice. Yet in ignorance or error some call for prayer asking God to intercede with a person yet in grievous sin, asking God to guide the mind and ways of this grievous sinner to do good. Surely God is all powerful and may do what He wills, still God has set limits that we are to follow. Does God ask us to pray for grace of those that reject the HS and Christ, no God has told us we are not to pray in this way. Then it is not simply guidance of those in rebellious and perilous sin need as prayer, but first that sin be bound as in Mark 3:25-27 "If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man." So bind the evil that prevents guidance and a hardened heart that blocks the Lords will. Do not deny the sin, asking God through prayer to do that which God has spoken against. First obvious sin issue needs be bound in prayer, then sanctifying work or works of greater authority may certainly be possible, but first the strong man needs be bound. But what if sin continues, then as in the world there comes a time when care be taken also of those within danger of being led astray, within the world scripture gives warning in Eph 5:11-13 "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible..." When a heart has become so hardened good council does not prevail, then sin often cannot stand being revealed under exposing light. God cannot accept sin, nor will God further the ways of evil, then why do some say we must pray for those who are neither repentant of their sin, but instead reject Christ Jesus. These include the antichrists's, meaning false Christ-like, or false Christians. Be aware in this matter the word of God teaches of two different and opposite authorities, one over those in His will, the other over those in rebellion. Of the beneficial authorities serving the will of God we are told in Heb 13:17 "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." Of the authority in rebellious of God we are told in Matt 20:25-28 "Jesus called them together and said, you know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Always concerning authority remember what Christ said to the one of rebellion in Matt 4:10 "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" What remains is to pray for the brother who has sinned, the sin not most grievous that lead to death. We are to pray for one another who are obedient in the Lord, also for the kingdom of God which are those yet living in sin as described above who will repentant and come to Christ Jesus. If God will have no part in furthering evil, neither should we in Christ. Then I submit, we must be careful of that which we become indebted through prayer, for furthering the ways of evil in this world is indeed a debt. I would also submit that when the Lord commands we pray (for) our leaders, this does not suggest we offer prayers for Satan, nor the servants of Satan. Then we as the servants of the Lord may take lesson concerning need to become mature in the Lord, the warning given in Luke 11:21-22 "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils." With this said, it is our Lord who establishes all offices and authorities, to these it is clear we are to have (proper) respect and prayer. Most diligently those with discernment regarding 'proper respect' must pray for brothers and sisters in the Lord who cannot tell the difference between true and false servants, the servants of light that preserves, and the servants of darkness that destroy. Christ gave us warning that our true service would be known by the fruit that it produces. We are warned not to be yoked with the unrighteous, 2 Cor 6:14 "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" We are warned about the unrighteous, Matt 24:4-14 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." Amen. Christ sends us (out) into the world as witnesses, and here the immature worried about evil may believe or more likely told they need find a prayer closet in which instead to pray. But what concerning the world will they learn about prayer need within a prayer closet. Must this be primarily second hand knowledge from others, perhaps themselves misled and misleading others. Certainly Christ warns of false teacher and prophet's, even antichrist's already within the church. Let this be warning to a church leader as teacher or preacher, about these Christ wants sent out into the world. About these Christ said wait, therefore be as wise as a serpent... and harmless as doves. In the world this is called being informed, concerning important matters of the world. As a church leader what have you accomplished to see Christ's sheep are prepared, is your teaching from the entire Bible, with no knowledge or discernment concerning spiritually 'the signs' in the world today?
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