The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Tag Archives: INTRO Prayer

Understanding Verbal Blessing & Cursing: So Much Hype, So Little Power

267

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

In this post, you will learn everything you need to know about the human practice of verbally blessing and cursing other humans.

HOW HUMANS VIEW BLESSING & CURSING

There are two main ways that humans view blessing and cursing.  For non-serious users, the phrase “Bless you!” is the same as saying “Thank you!” or “I like you!” or “Wow, you seem like such a nice person that I hope things go well for you in the future.”  Alternately, to say “Curse you!” is a way of saying “I hate you!” or “You’re such a jerk!” or “I hope rotten things happen to you because you’ve upset me!”  For non-serious users, blessing and cursing people or objects is just a way of expressing personal joy or anger. Read more of this post

Praying for Other People: Why It’s a Bad Idea

255

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

In our material, we teach you not to pray for other people.  This includes praying for God to heal, save, and comfort other people.  Many Christians find such teaching to be quite disturbing.  So what’s the deal?  If we claim to be Christians–which we do–then how can we have a problem with praying for others?  The answer is simple: we care immensely about pleasing God, and once treating God well is your top priority, praying for other people needs to go.  That’s the short answer.  Now we’ll give you the long one. Read more of this post

Sicking Jesus on the Devil: The Christian Addiction to Bossing God

237

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

You’ve got a beefy guard dog who you want to teach to attack anyone who irritates you.  First you need to choose a special phrase that is going to be your attack command—perhaps an old standard like “sic ‘em!”  Then you need to spend many hours teaching your dog to associate certain behaviors with that special command.  It’s a lot of work training animals to behave the way that you want them to behave in certain moments.  How convenient it would be if your dog came pre-trained.  Imagine if the first day you met him, he said to you, “Hey, if you ever want me to attack someone for you, just say sic ‘em, and I’ll take them down.”  How sweet would that be? Read more of this post

Why Serious Christians Shouldn’t Pray the Lord’s Prayer

233

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your Name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matt. 6:9-13)

The Lord’s Prayer is one of the most well-known passages of Scripture.  It’s also one of the most misapplied.  First, we ignore context.  The Lord’s Prayer was part of the Sermon on the Mount—a long speech by Jesus which was intended to strike terror into the hearts of Jews who were blowing off the importance of reverentially submitting to God.  Second, we get hung up on the fact that Jesus is the One doing the talking.  Even though Jesus is God, we aren’t open to Him having a variety of agendas when He speaks.  We try to make everything Jesus says a direct message for sincere Christians, when in reality most of Jesus’ recorded words were directed at rebellious adherents to Judaism.  Ignoring Jesus’ original audience is guaranteed to lead us astray with our applications of what He said.  But the third mistake we make is not asking Jesus Himself to help us properly apply His words in our lives today.  It’s not like Jesus has ceased to exist and the biblical records are all we have to remember Him by.  No, Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are all actively involved in our lives today and They encourage us to come to Them directly with our questions.  When we skip the step of asking Them, then we just end up eavesdropping on what Jesus said to a bunch of Jews 2,000 years ago and deciding that anything He said to them must apply to us as well. Read more of this post

Why We Shouldn’t Pray for Revival

9220

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Praying for the lost to get saved.  Praying for the Gospel to be spread throughout the whole world.  Praying down that bad ole devil and praying for revival.  It all sounds so right, doesn’t it?  But what does God think about us praying for these kinds of things?  It turns out that He doesn’t like any of them.  In fact, He finds these kinds of requests downright insulting.  Of course He understands when we’re not trying to insult Him, and when He sees that we’re trying to please Him by praying for these things, He graciously credits us for our good intentions.  But the day must come when we stop letting other humans and the Church define who God is and give Him the chance to speak for Himself. When we do this, we’re going to start getting hit with one shocking revelation after another because it turns out that these teachers we’ve been counting on to explain God to us don’t really understand who He is.  In fact, trying to find folks who are well-acquainted with God is quite a challenging task because there just aren’t that many of them.  Why not?  Because humans have always done a lousy job of sincerely seeking God.  When they do seek Him, they’re usually so caught up in their own agendas that they simply aren’t interested in really learning about God’s perspective of things.  So while we claim to really know God, the reality is that we’re just recycling a bunch of manmade theories about Him which no one is bothering to ask God to authenticate.  It’s like you reading a bunch of articles about your favorite actor in the gossip rags and then saying that you really know the guy.  No, you don’t know him at all.  All you really know is what other people say about him, but what is that worth?  Until you actually sit down with the man himself and do some focused listening, you’re never going to know if any of the stories you’ve read about him have any truth to them.    Read more of this post

Treating God Like God: Simple Steps to Improving the Way that We Pray

218

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Intercessory prayer has never been a respectful way to speak to God and it has never been effective in changing the way God that works with other people or demons.  We only think it has because humans are obsessed with the notion that they can find a way to lead their Creator instead of following Him.

Here’s a critical point to realize: you will not find good instruction on prayer in the Bible.  What you’ll find instead is a bunch of examples of how to pray wrong.  This is because the folks who do most of the praying in the Bible were not mature enough to model treating God with the proper respect.  The ancient Jews were obsessed with “the power of the spoken word,” verbal cursing and blessing, name claiming, and other such nonsense.  They had no use for reverential submission and they spent most of their history embracing defiant soul attitudes.  Today in the Church, you’re being taught to imitate folks who were acting like sorcerer wannabes and treating God with gross disrespect.  If you want to improve your treatment of God, you need to abandon the idea of imitating the ancient Jews. Read more of this post

Improving Our Treatment of God: Why We Shouldn’t Pray for the Lost

200

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Like seeds that are designed by God to sprout and grow, we humans are also designed to continuously grow and change.  Since we are spiritual beings, our spiritual maturity is the most important aspect of our personal development.  Spiritual maturity has to do with how we relate to the three non-human Beings who created us: Yahweh, Jesus, and the magnificent Holy Spirit.  We mature in two basic ways: acquiring more understanding about who the real Gods are and what They want from us, then applying that understanding well.  We are totally dependent on our Gods to lead us in both of these areas, for we can’t gain understanding on our own, nor can we learn to apply our understanding well without Their guidance and help.  In practice, spiritual maturity is like a dance in which our Gods are the Leaders and we are the followers. They always initiate.  They choose the direction in which They want to move us, and we try to follow Their lead with as little stumbling as possible.  But of course we do stumble all over the place, and this is not a problem until we start getting intentional about it.  It’s one thing to have your faith crumble because you applied what you had and it wasn’t enough.  It’s another thing to sit on piles of faith and refuse to use it because you want to give the orders instead of take them.  Read more of this post

Prayer Frustrations: Why won’t God talk when I’m ready to listen?

160

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

You spend hours in the prayer closet, and God doesn’t say a peep. But when you get into the shower afterwards, suddenly He pipes up with some word.  What’s up with that?  Why does God wait until you’ve got a head full of shampoo distracting you before He’ll say something?  Ever sit down to have that focused prayer session only to wake up an hour later wondering when you drifted off?  Or how about waiting all day for God to speak to you, only to have Him suddenly pipe up when you’re sitting at a friend’s house feeling distracted by noise and people?  What are we to make of God refusing to show up in these sacred settings we arrange for Him?  Is He telling us to stop trying to put so much effort into seeking Him?  No, He’s actually teaching us a very different principle. Read more of this post

Talking to God: Why is He being so cryptic?

159

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Suppose you have a best friend named Sam who lives next door to you.  You both work from home and the two of you are in a habit of sending humorous text messages to each other throughout the day.  Well, one day, there aren’t any text messages from Sam.  You wonder what’s wrong.  You send him a text asking if he’s alright.  There’s no answer.  You look out your window to see if Sam is home.  There he is: standing in front of an open window holding a mirror.  He’s using the mirror to catch the sunlight which he’s reflecting at you in strange bursts.  Well, that’s odd.  You send him another text, asking what he’s doing.  There’s no response.  You look out your window and see him once again pick up his mirror and start flashing bursts of sunlight at you.  What on earth is he doing?  You’re starting to get annoyed, but then you get distracted by a phone call which leads to more distractions, and by the time you’re thinking about Sam again, it’s dark outside.  You send him another text—one which makes your annoyance with his evasive behavior quite clear.  There’s still no response.  Aggravated, you march out of your house, cross over to Sam’s and knock loudly on the door.  Much to your irritation, Sam won’t open up.  Instead, he peeks out at you through the living room window.  Now he’s got a flashlight in his hand which he’s flashing at you in strange, rhythmic bursts.  You go over to the window and demand to know why he’s acting so weird.  He finally pulls a sticky note out of his pocket and slaps it on the window.  It says “Morse Code.”  Then he keeps flashing his light at you.

Now you suddenly realize that all of these irritating flashes are actually a code which you’re supposed to be deciphering.  Long, short, long, short, short.  Sam’s simulating the dots and dashes of Morse code. Well, that’s irritating.  You’ve never used Morse code before. Sure, you could research it on the internet and struggle to start deciphering Sam’s message, but what a hassle that would be.  And it’s all so utterly unnecessary when Sam could just pick up his phone and text you or open his door and talk to you face to face.  Well, Sam isn’t going to.  Sam is on this strange trip with Morse code and he’s just not going to talk to you any other way.  If you want to keep communicating with your friend, you’ve only got one choice: you’re going to have to start learning Morse. Read more of this post

Talking to God: Two Essential Rules

300

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Here’s a common church scenario. You’re sitting in the congregation and Pastor Bob gets up and says, “Let’s pray.” He then starts dictating a prayer for you to pray. In other words, Bob is telling you how you ought to talk to God. This is a problem.

Your relationship with God is an extremely personal thing. Your soul’s communication with Him is as intimate and private as a man and wife cuddling each other in bed. In the Bible, God constantly likened worship and prayer to sex. He said His followers were like His wife and He was the possessive Husband who got super ticked when His wife starting doing it with other gods. In the Old Testament, most of God’s chosen people were heavy into idol worship. God took major offense at this. He called it adulterous betrayal and He put out some very crude descriptions of how He viewed souls praying to supernatural beings other than Him. Read more of this post