The third component of prayer is TRUTH
Remember that passage from 1 Tim. 2: 1-4 as Paul "URGES" Timothy regarding REQUESTS, PRAYERS, INTERCESSION and THANKSGIVING for EVERYONE so that WE MAY LIVE PEACEFUL AND QUIET LIVES IN ALL GODLINESS AND HOLINESS. Clearly, we cannot live lives as so described if we do not offer REQUESTS, PRAYERS etc. IF WE DO we are told that this PLEASES GOD, and helps in people coming to SALVATION and a knowledge of the TRUTH. We will deal with the understanding of the meaning of URGES under the fourth component of true prayer but for now let's concentrate on the third component TRUTH. In the O.T. passage under consideration God counsels Solomon that His people should SEEK HIS FACE (metaphor for come into his presence). In the O.T temple procedure only the high priest could come into God's presence and then only once a year (on the Day of Atonement - with the blood of animals - for the forgiveness of sins). This demonstrated a temporary way of re-establishing "fellowship" with God. Sin separates us from God, forgiveness re-unites us with God. The Old Covenant had laws and regulations which the people failed to keep PRIMARILY BECAUSE OF IDOLATRY (they followed the gods of others - which, of course, were not gods at all but FALSE GODS). Time and again God sent prophets (fulfilling His part of the covenant) to provide a way out (avoid judgment) but the people failed to respond (Jeremiah 7:1-34 provides a very good overview of what we are saying).
Let's see what Jeremiah had to say. "Do not trust in DECEPTIVE WORDS
(Jer 7:4) . . . you are trusting in deceptive words that are USELESS
(Jer 7:8) . . . Has this house, which bears my name, become a den of robbers? (Jer 7:11) . . . I will thrust you from my presence (Jer 7:15) . . . They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger
(Jer 7:18) . . . My anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place
(Jer 7:20) . . . again and again I sent you my servants the prophets
(Jer 7:25) . . . When you tell them all this they will not listen to you . . . Therefore say to them, 'This is the nation that has NOT OBEYED the Lord its God or RESPONDED TO CORRECTION. TRUTH HAS PERISHED' "
(Jer 7:27-28). Look now at the SERIOUSNESS of this lack of TRUTH: "So DO NOT PRAY FOR THIS PEOPLE nor offer any plea or petition for them, do not plead with me, for I WILL NOT LISTEN TO YOU" (Jer 7:16). . . . When falseness and idolatry (which is the offspring of falseness) abound, GOD DOES NOT LISTEN. The O.T. picture is clear, now let's examine the N.T.
In the N.T. passage under study, we are told that we are baptised FOR the FORGIVENESS OF SINS. . . Now, first of all, we must differentiate between the Old Covenant and the New. The forgiveness of the New Covenant is NOT TEMPORARY but PERMANENT. The Book of Hebrews is an outstanding dissertation on this subject and well worth the review at this point. We, through Jesus, can come into God's presence any time, not just once a year. This is because Jesus comes into God's presence with His own blood (not that of animals) and does not have to make offering for His own sins like the O.T. priest was required to do. But one thing that can not come into God's presence is FALSENESS (or IDOLATRY). IN ORDER FOR OUR PRAYER TO BE EFFECTIVE WE MUST BE IN TRUTH!!! James tells us that: "The prayer of a righteous man is POWERFUL and EFFECTIVE" (Jas. 5:16).
God sends His servants apostles, prophets, teachers etc (even The Holy Spirit) to build up His people but, ALAS, to a great extent, His people are steeped in idolatry and fail to respond to correction. Most of God's people don't even know they are in idolatry let alone ask for forgiveness. It is shameful that Jesus has to say: "Not everyone who says to me "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven, but ONLY HE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER IN HEAVEN" (Mt. 7:21). We offer the following revelation on idolatry which, if addressed, may be used as a prelude to staying in righteousness long enough for our prayers to be answered. HOW TO KNOW WE ARE DOING THE WILL OF GOD IS A TEACHING FOR ANOTHER DAY . . . STAY TUNED! For now, IDOLATRY. Idolatry (again the offspring of falseness) in the New Testament comes from two Greek words, eidos and latreia. The meaning of eidos is "forms" and latreia has several meanings, three of which are worship, ministry and service. What we see in the vast majority of congregations today are forms of worship, forms of ministry and forms of service. If we tell them they will not listen and as in the Old Testament . . . TRUTH HAS PERISHED with the instruction DO NOT PRAY FOR THIS PEOPLE. Is there any wonder that we are losing the blessings of answered prayer? Keep in mind that there is a SUPERNATURAL answering of prayer but we are missing out on the NATURAL ORDER OF PRAYER meaning IT WORKS EVERY TIME. This will ultimately come about when God helps us CRUSH SATAN UNDERNEATH OUR FEET (Rom. 16:20). Then "there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain" (Rev. 21:4) . . . WHY? . . . Could it be because our every prayer is answered ? . . . because we have re-established TRUTH.
Hopefully, we have adequately shown the connection between idolatry, falseness and being in a state of unforgiveness (breaking of covenant), thereby limiting our power of prayer. The obvious antidote is TRUTH. The writer of Lamentations told the people: "The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading"
(Lam. 2:14). Later he notes the result: "He has made me dwell in darkness . . . He shuts out my prayer" (Lam. 3: 6-8). DO YOU THINK THIS MAY STILL BE HAPPENING TODAY? If not, what can be hindering our prayers? In the Lord's Prayer we ask forgiveness of our trespasses AS WE FORGIVE THE TRESPASSES OF OTHERS (Similar proclamation Mk. 11: 24-25). Let us pray in love for the forgiveness of others that they may be restored. Forgiveness is the way out but we must be willing to restore TRUTH. The third element of true prayer is to PRAY IN TRUTH.
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