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ITS BELIEFS AND CUSTOMS
There are many various beliefs and customs with their own definition of what form a prayer must take. There is anything from the use of a prayer wheel, going into a repetitious chant, to holding a string of beads, or bowing before an object of material, be it wood, metal or clay, even going as far as kneeling before another human being, whether male or female, dead, or alive! There are those who take a picture or statue or a piece of parchment, paper or religious book, even a Bible is made an object of what is prayed to, and kissed, and revered in the place of a “mighty one”.
Examples of Prayer
Scripture has many examples of prayers to the Almighty by great people of Yahweh. Their words have been recorded in Scripture, as a guideline for us to apply in these days. The Word clearly urges us to be in a constant, prayerful attitude towards the Eternal our Elohim.
In the early days, from Adam through to the time of Noah, then to Abraham right down to Moses, Yahweh’s people had contact, and in many ways, “direct contact,” with the Almighty. Abraham knew Him as Melchisedec (King of Righteousness ) king of Salem (Peace). And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; He was priest of Eternal Most High. He blessed him and said, “Blessed be Abram by Yahweh, the Most High, Maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be Yahweh Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand !” And Abram gave Him one-tenth of everything, Genesis 14:18-20.
In the days of Moses, Yahweh introduced the Levitical priesthood which existed until the first coming of Yahshua the Messiah. It was during this priesthood of Levi, the only way the people could have intercession with the Almighty was through them. But a problem arose with this priesthood, due to human weaknesses, and may I add rebellion within the priesthood towards the Almighty’s Law. (The Book of Malachi covers this very problem ) Many times it became so bad that Yahweh inspired Prophets, who were not even members of the priesthood, to go and warn kings, even the nation of Israel, of their back sliding from the Law. We read recorded prophecies, warning other nations of their sins, and their immanent destruction, if they did not change their ways (Jonah and Naham are two examples).
Today Scripture shows us that we are now living in an era where there is no more physical priesthood, but we have inherited a Greater Priesthood! Yahshua the Messiah, our High Priest is now our One and Only Mediator between Yahweh and His People.
For it is attested of him, “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”… Consequently He is able for all time to save those who approach Yahweh through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them, Heb 7:17,25.
He qualified through His sinless Life, being the Ultimate Sacrifice as the True Passover Lamb, who takes away the sins of the world.
The next day he saw Yahshua coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of Yahweh, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Yahshua the Messiah of Nazareth, whom you impaled, whom Yahweh raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the Stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the Chief Cornerstone, Acts 4:10,11.
Yahshua is the Only Name by which we can be saved!
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved, Acts 4:12.
NO PRIEST WHO EVER LIVED DESERVED THAT QUALIFICATION ! Paul explains this in his letter to the Hebrews in chapters 5 to 8. In reading John 1:1-14 we are told in simple words that Yahshua the Messiah was the WORD (Greek = Logos ), which existed at the beginning of Creation. He was the One whom the Father said, “Let us make man in our Image”; He was the One whom Jacob wrestled with; He was the One who gave the Law to Moses.
In the beginning HE was the WORD and the WORD was with YAHWEH: and the WORD became FLESH, John 1:1.
Therefore, all our prayers and worship, whether for thanksgiving or for blessings or for forgiveness, are to be through His Name (Authority) Who is Yahshua the Messiah, our Saviour, the Son of the Living Elohim.
Firstly, when approaching the Throne of Grace (Free Pardon), we are instructed to be in a right frame of mind, and body.
When the righteous cry for help, Yahweh hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. Yahweh is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit, Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but Yahweh rescues them from them all, Ps 34:17- 19.
The sacrifice acceptable to Yahweh is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O Yahweh, you will not condemn, Ps 51:17.
Thus says the Eternal: Heaven is My Throne and the earth is My Footstool; where is the house that you will build for me, and where is my resting place? All these things My Hand has made, and so all these things are Mine, says Yahweh. But this is the one to whom I will look to: he who is humble and has a repentant spirit and trembles at My Word, Isa 66:1.
You will notice in reading the instructions to the priests in the Book of Leviticus, on how they had to go through a series of washings. It is the same with us, we are to clear our minds of unclean thoughts, be repentant of the sins we committed against the Almighty Father, even towards our brethren.
He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and shall have the linen undergarments next to his body, fasten the linen sash, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy vestments. He shall bathe his body place, and put on his vestments; then he shall come out and in water, and put them on … He shall bathe his body in water in a holy offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, making atonement for himself and for the people, Lev 16:4, 24 NRSV.
Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the Truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart, 1 Pet 1:22.
Yahshua tells us to go even further and have an attitude of love towards our enemies!
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on theevil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For ifyou love those who love you, what reward do you have ? Even the tax collectors do thesame? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others ? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect, Matt 5:43-48.
His people are not to be ignorant of His Word. This means we need a continual study of the Scriptures. Otherwise how can we ever know what His Will is toward us ? We are not to read His Word parrot fashion, as do the Pharisees and the Scribes of this world. They are set by their religious founders, which have set writings and interpretations of the Scriptures, of which Messiah has pointed out as the leaven of the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, who are forever learning, and never coming to the understanding of the Truth.
Holding to the outward form of righteousness but denying its power. Avoid them! For among them are those who make their way into households and captivate foolish women, overwhelmed by their sins and swayed by all kinds of desires, who are always learning and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth, 2 Tim 3:5-7.
But the Almighty’s Word says, as it has already being stated in this article, we are to approach His Word with a Humble spirit, always prepared with a repentant attitude to change all our pre-conceived ideas, and do what He calls us to do.
Until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of Yahweh , to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Messiah, Eph 4:13.
Beware of practicing your religious beliefs before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father in private; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you, Matt 6:1-6.
As Isaiah asked for continual guidance, so should we.
Yet, O Yahweh, you are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our Potter; we are all the work of Your Hand, Isa 64:8.
The Messiah was in constant prayer to His Father.
In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed, Mark 1:35.
The following are Messiah’s very own Words of instructions on how we are to behave in prayer.
When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him, Matt 6:7, 8.
The following is an example of the structure of a prayer. Messiah had no intention of us using it as a repetitive chant as many assemblies practice who believing they get a request through to the Almighty. The one praying must know and understand what he is praying for. We must realize that we are not just talking to a person, but to the Almighty Father, our Creator and Saviour. It is not to be taken lightly. After all, if you were to be having an audience with a judge in the Court, or the head of a country, no doubt you would be as clear minded and sober as you can be by choosing every word you would say very carefully, and strive to be specific as to what you intend to say.
The Model Prayer
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. (Do you know His Name, and how important it is, or do you just use His Titles?)Your kingdom come. Your Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (We are to pray for His Kingdom to come to the earth, and how can we know His will if we do not read and study His word?) Give us this day our daily bread. (Constantly remembering He gives us our daily needs, both physical and spiritual, not just ours, but all Father’s creation.) And forgive us our debts (sins), as we also have forgiven our debtors. (those who sin against us, here we are asking for His forgiveness only, or in the same way we forgive those who offend or persecute us!) And lead us not into temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. (We must admit our weaknesses against the temptations all around us in this present evil world, and acknowledge the Everlasting Power and Splendour of our Heavenly Father.), Matthew 6:9- 13.
John, Chapter 17
This is the prayer Messiah made the night of the Passover, just before His arrest.
After Yahshua said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true Elohim, and Yahshua Messiah, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name — the name you gave me — so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. 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. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them,” NIV.
A Good Set of Prayers
A good practice to apply when you feel short in the field of praying to the Almighty Father, is to go to the most perfect set of prayers ever recorded, and start reading from the beginning. There is no doubt you will soon find many a phrase which will pertain to you in your walk through life.
O Yahweh, do not rebuke me in Your anger, or discipline me in Your wrath. Be gracious to me, O Yahweh, for I am languishing; O Yahweh, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror. My soul also is struck with terror, O Yahweh —how long ? Turn, O Yahweh, save my life; deliver me for the sake of Your steadfast Love. For in death there is no remembrance of you; in the grave, who can give you praise? I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping. My eyes waste away because of grief; they grow weak because of all my foes. Depart from me, all you workers of evil, for the Eternal has heard the sound of my weeping. The Eternal has heard my supplication; Yahweh accepts my prayer, Ps 6:1-9.
Prayers of Thanks
O give thanks to Yahweh of mighty ones, for His steadfast love endures forever. O give thanks to the El of Elohim, for His steadfast love endures forever; Ps 136:2, 3.
And say ye, Save us, O Elohim of our salvation, and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen, that we may give thanks to thy holy name, and glory in thy praise, 1 Chron 16:35.
And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto Yahweh; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised Yahweh, because the foundation of the house of Yahweh was laid, Ezra 3:11.
Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O Yahweh, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name, Ps 18:49.
Scripture does not stipulate any particular stance we should be taking when we pray. Although we must take the example Messiah sets, who went aside and knelt in prayer, there were occasions when He looked up to heaven and prayed. He prayed to the Father as He died on the stake. Moses prayed with his hands held high, while Israel was at war, and as soon as his hand dropped, when he became tired Israel lost ground, so he had helpers holding up his hands until the fight was over, and won. Daniel prayed at a set time each day. David never went to sleep without praying to Yahweh.
We are instructed to pray in Spirit and in Truth, whether we are in the privacy of our homes and family, or in the assembly of the faithful, or whilst traveling along the road, such as Paul did in Acts 9:3 which was a crisis he went through. How often we need intervention on the roads today. Reasons for the need to call on the Almighty for help, in prayer, or a thanksgiving for a blessing you have just received, could happen at any unusual time and place. We need no other tool, such as a stone wall of an old temple, or a statue of some form or other. In fact, nothing human, or made with hands, to bow or to sway to, do we need, for we have Yahshua the Messiah, our High Priest who is the Only Mediator for us to commune with our Father in heaven. There will be a time when every knee shall bend before Him. We do hope and pray this article will be helpful to all who read it.
-Elder Lionel Gets
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