The Three Ingredients to Move the Hand of God Prayer, Fasting and Worship

2 11 2011

The Three Ingredients to Move the Hand of God

Prayer, Fasting and Worship

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 In this final article on the International House of Prayer (IHOP) phenomena we will consider the three spiritual ingredients that when utilized properly will bring about global change in the Church and also in the world system (“cosmos”).

 Harp & Bowl Intercessory Prayer

Now when He has taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Rev. 5:8

 The harps here represent music and worship, while the bowls represent intercessory prayers. In the Harp and Bowl model there is a combination of intercessory prayer with worship and music, reflecting the scene before God’s very throne in Heaven itself. “On earth as it is in heaven” is a goal of Harp and Bowl prayer.  Spirit-led music is constantly playing as people pray. There is a flowing together between the worship leader, instrumentalists, vocalists, prayer leaders, and intercessors in antiphonal prayer and praise. Not only does intercessory prayer have a powerful effect on a community, but so does the praise and worship of God. The Kingdom is brought down to earth as God’s people worship Him in a community, and a form of spiritual warfare takes place in praise. (1)

 What you’ve never heard of Harp & Bowl ministry? If you search that phrase on the internet you will discover that Google brings up over two million six hundred thousand results (2,600,000+ ) which means that this concept of worship has gone viral in net-speak. Tens of thousands of professing Christians have bought into the above interpretation of Revelation chapter five. This interpretation is naturally buttressed with other proof-texts to paint a picture of 24/7 prayer and worship services.

 In the past three articles we’ve demonstrated that the very foundational concept of IHOP is unbiblical. The text in Acts 15:16 is not a doctrinal statement commanding the Church to “rebuild” the tabernacle of David and go backwards to his form of worship. (2) Sazyc (a former good friend of the author) draws doctrinal support for this novel form of enthusiasm from the Book of the Revelation, another book that is not a source of doctrine for the Church, being it is apocalyptic literature. Our brother Sazyc cites the line in our Lord’s Prayer “Thy will be done on earth” as support for these never ending prayer meetings. If he is correct then it must be that the wheel of divine response grind at an exceedingly slow pace. For two thousand years God’s people have prayed the prayer our Lord gave to His Church and until the last twenty years (give or take) there has never been 24/7 prayer as a component of the Church’s life. The scene in Revelation chapter five is not a pattern for church prayer services but it does give us some insight into heavenly worship. We do see that singing, prostrating ourselves, incense and musical instruments are part of heavenly worship and thus have a place in our worship on earth. (3) Joe (Sazyc’s first name) goes onto to explain the close relationship between music and prophetic ministry (prophetic prayer (4) ):

 Music is also closely connected with prophetic ministry. Spirit-led and prophetic-edged prayer is a goal of the Harp and Bowl model. King David set up this kind of praise as a constant offering before the Lord in the Temple. (5)

 David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah and Asarelah. The sons of Asaph were under the supervision of Asaph, who prophesied under the king’s supervision. As for Jeduthun, from his sons: Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah and Mattithiah, six in all, under the supervision of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied, using the harp in thanking and praising the Lord. As for Herman, from his sons: Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shubael and Jerimoth; Hannaniah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti and Romamti-Ezer; Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir and Mahazioth. All these were sons of Heman the king’s seer. They were given him through the promises of God to exalt him. God gave Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. All these men were under the supervision of their fathers for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king. Along with their relatives–all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord–they numbered 288. 1 Chronicles 25:1-7

First of all these were not God ordained prophets. (6) David with his close commanders set apart some of the sons for “the ministry of prophesying.” Some can argue that David was being led by the Holy Spirit in the choices made. The Scripture is silent regarding any divine direction in the appointment of these men by David and I think it is important that we make a distinction between these musicians and that of the named biblical prophets. God called His prophets and in this case David calls men into the ministry of prophesying.

 I labor this point because the charismatic teachers have twisted this text and declare that it means that these men prophesied either as they played their music or while music was being played. The enthusiasts teach that these people were prophets in the order of a Daniel or Zachariah. There is nothing regarding this family of singers written of any of their prophetic utterances, i.e. there is no “Book of Asaph” or “First Herman.” How are we to understand the ministry of prophesying if they were not being oracular in their playing?

 The Teacher’s Bible Commentary says the following:

 In verse 1 prophesying with musical instruments is mentioned. Many of the Old Testament prophecies are preserved in poetic form. By the same token, some of the poetry (Psalms) in prophetic in nature. Music played an important part in the Hebrews’ worship of God. This can be seen by the different instruments which were used in worship. (7)

 It seems because these men did not receive any sort of supernatural “call” into the office of the prophet that their role was to give voice to what had already been prophesied and recorded in the divine scroll. Naturally their ministry would include the Psalms that King David wrote and was possibly composing at that time; many of these Psalms are unarguably prophetic in content. Ergo to sing these divinely penned words is to prophesy in a sense. The text itself goes on to validate what I have written because in vs. 8 of that same text we read that these men prophesied under the direction of Asaph who prophesied under the direction of the king.

 Obviously God was not directing them. The source seems to have been the King, David, who did receive revelation from the Lord, penned the psalm(s) and he directed Asaph (possibly they went over the music together) and then Asaph went and directed the musicians who then proclaimed prophetically if you will, to those in attendance. There is nothing deep or mystical about this at all when you consider it in its context. There is no hermeneutical justification to call these Levites “prophets” in the accepted understanding of the word.

 This is probably going to shock you (and Brother Joe) but there is no mention of anyone in heaven praying for us on earth. (8) The bowl contains the prayers of the saints on earth which ascend as incense before the throne of grace. Grandma and Papoo are not praying for you in heaven, nor is Mary or Joseph. (9) Prayer requires faith; faith is based on what is not seen (see Hebrews 11:1) but promised by God. In heaven when people are standing in the unveiled glory of the Ancient of Days no faith per se will be required so no prayers will be offered by the spirits of just men made perfect (Hebrews 12:23). Sorry, if this offends anyone’s pietistic sentiments about the “great cloud of witnesses” in Hebrews (Hebrews 12:1). But nothing is said about them praying for us nor we to them. Oh yes we do see glorious worship in heaven, but worship is not prayer. No one is seen petitioning the throne for those left on earth, apart from our Lord Jesus Christ, our great Intercessor and High Priest (Hebrews 7:25). Prayer is designed for those who are living, not the glorified. Prayer and its attending answers are needed on this earth not in heaven.

Prayer is not a means by which we can manipulate God and get Him to do whatever we want or think is right. One of the principles of charismatic extremist prayer is based on a twisting of the following verse:

Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, And concerning the work of my hands command ye me. (10) Isaiah 45:11

Extremists believe this text gives them a Divine “fiat” by which they can literally “command” Almighty God concerning the work of His hands, i.e. all of created reality. The Hebrew word for “command” means to cry aloud and does not refer to people commanding God to do anything. All the attempts at playing God, or telling God what to do have always ended badly for those who would usurp God’s sovereign authority. Yet this is what Bickle seems to be involved in with this IHOP experiment.

Bickle teaches that Jesus’ second coming can be delayed or sped up according to the degree of the church’s spiritual maturity and readiness. He declared that most Christians are waiting passively for Jesus to return, when in actuality, Jesus is waiting for the church to prepare itself as the pure Bride of Christ and to ready itself to launch the last-day divine war to drive evil from the earth and cleanse it so that it can be filled with God’s love and glory. Bickle does not simply preach that the church will go through the Great Tribulation sealed by God’s sovereign power, but that the end-times church will actually cause God’s judgments to be released on the earth through prophetic prayer. In other words, the end-time praying church will not simply be helpless martyrs during the Great Tribulation; it will victoriously establish justice on the earth by releasing the devastating Great Tribulation judgments on the Antichrist’s global evil empire. (12)

The above statement is a succinct explanation of charismatic extremist eschatological thought. Bickle and the so-called Apostolic/Prophetic movement are “dominionists.” There is nothing new in what Bickle is proclaiming; this victorious and overcoming Church view prior to the return of Christ Jesus has plagued the church for a long time. Originally this view of world history got its real start in America among hardline Calvinists. (13) In 1973 Rousas John Rushdoony wrote a long book on the Ten Commandments and started a movement called “ Christian reconstructionism. “ Rushdoony’s son-in-law, Gary North also has written a lot about this novel idea of needing to Christianize the world by enforcing the O.T. legal code to cover every area of all people’s lives.

What started off as a staunchly Calvinistic theocratic approach to enforcing the Law of God throughout the world has morphed into today’s Apostles/Prophets movement. Their goal is the same — to Christianize the world and then after fully dominating every sphere of culture (government, social morality, the arts, education, and religion) the overcomers will hand it to the returning Christ as a gift.

In the minds of the enthusiasts they probably think that Rushdoony had the right idea, but lacked the “power” and authority that can only come through the restored Apostles & Prophets — this missing power and authority naturally resides within the rank ranks of them claiming The Spirit.

To Bickle Jesus is sitting and waiting for the church to mature and get herself ready to be used as God’s instrument to effect global transformation. It is up to us to decide when Jesus returns. We can either speed up His return or we can hinder it (see Acts 3:18). Obviously, the Church has been hindering His return over those last two thousand years so now we need to hasten His return.

According to Bickle Jesus is waiting for the Church, who like a Bride must get busy and prepare herself for her Bridegroom. What exactly is Jesus waiting for? He is waiting for the Church to prepare herself, i.e. come into spiritual maturity (become a manifested son). To what end? So that the Church, composed of super-anointed end-time saints will “…launch the last-day divine war to drive evil from the earth and cleanse it so that it can be filled with God’s love and glory.” (14)   The role of the church is to be the instrument that will by engaging in spiritual warfare (divine war) drive evil from the earth and cleanse it. Why? So that it can then be filled with God’s love and glory. Does this mean that he will be driving all the evil out of people too? If words mean anything, then this is what he means. Satan is the Tempter (1 Thess 3:5) but humanity at its core is evil (Luke 11:39) and in order to get rid of evil you have to get rid of the all sinful people as well as Satan and his demons.

This last phase of divine war was entered into when IHOP got going. Bickle teaches we will release God’s end-time judgments (written about in The Revelation) because of the power of prophetic prayer. Bickle has never been one to let context get in his way. It does not matter that the context of Rev. 8 plainly states that it is anangel that God uses to release His judgments (Rev. 8:1-5) not some army of super-saints.

It all boils down to human works.   Bickle and his followers are trying as hard as they can to work the various so-called spiritual laws and principles they have attached to prayer, fasting and worship. Concerning spiritual law let me just say this — it is the belief that God Himself operates by universal laws He Himself created. The Bible is somewhat of a code book that when properly understood reveals various universal laws which will work for anyone when they are applied. There are laws that govern financial prosperity, physical healing, fasting, prayer, etc. Visit any “Christian” bookstore and simply look at the titles in their charismatic section, which is probably the largest section in the store, and you will see how many focus on these “laws.”

I hope you noted who does the work in Bickle’s scheme of thinking. We do the work, poor Jesus is just sitting on the right hand of His Father (Hebrews 8:1) in the throne room of heaven waiting for us to grow up and act right. Since Bickle and his entire ilk believe that the Church is either hastening or delaying the return of Christ then they must believe that Jesus lied when He stated:

But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (15) Mark 13:32

There is a fixed time when Christ Jesus will return. Jesus came on an appointed hour (Galatians 4:4) and He will return on the exact moment set for Him to do so by the Father. Bickle seems to think we are in control and that if enough of us will get in line and follow his directions and get working. . . Then Jesus can come back quicker. One of those necessary works to bring Christ back is the principle of fasting.

One of the laws that activates prayer to a higher realm is fasting. Adding the fasting aspect to prayer kicks prayer up a bunch of notches on the esoteric “fervency” scale in God’s eyes, right?   Taking time out to pray is one thing, but when you don’t eat too, WOW that really impresses God (not)! Now combine these two practices with hundreds of hungry people all gathered together crying out at full volume in ecstatic speech at the same time. Surely that must get heaven’s attention.

Like prayer fasting is a completely biblical practice and is something that should be practiced by all of God’s children. Jesus told His disciples “when you fast” (Matthew 6:16) not “if you fast.” I believe Jesus expects His disciples to fast in accordance with His Word. Five times in the Book of Acts fasting is mentioned, twice prayer and fasting are mentioned together. Fine and dandy. Without belaboring the point suffice it to say that if one fasts with the goal of obtaining spiritual power (aka “anointing”) or to help elevate himself into a mystical realm then the devil is close at hand to grant pseudo-power and a plethora of quasi mystical experiences. Fasting does not impress God. It is a method He has given us for our benefit in helping us focus on Him and to help set our minds on things above. It is a discipline of the flesh and as such it has its proper place in our spiritual lives.

Fasting when abused can lead people into great deception.   DMI has extensively covered the heretical writings of Mrs. Mary K. Baxter. After prolonged fasting she alleged Jesus took her on a personal 40 day tour of hell in her globally best-selling book “The Divine Revelation of Hell.” Baxter writes in the beginning of her book (a novel really) that she was praying in tongues and fasting when her version of Jesus appeared to her and transported her to the mystical realms of the damned. A.A. Allen regaled crowds in the Latter Rain revival of post WWII with how he shut himself away in a closet and refused to come out until God came and revealed to him what he, Allen, had to do to work miracles. After many days without food and water, God came down and revealed to Allen 12 things, 11 of which he shared but the twelfth secret he never shared. (16)

Around 1916 Howard Carter alleges to have fasted in prison while the Lord personally revealed to him all the nine sign gifts of the Spirit and how they operated and he also humbly received all 9 himself. Throughout history both within and without Christianity there are reports of people fasting and praying for protracted periods and the experiences they had. A camel herder named Mohammad went into a cave to fast and pray — he saw an “angel” and look at the fruit of his long prayers and fast today, modern Islam. A rich kid in India named Siddartha decided to fast and meditate under a Bodhi tree. After many days of fasting, Siddartha vanished and lord Buddha was brought forth with his Eight-fold Path. Consider all the misery caused by the false religions of Islam and Buddhism, both of which were birthed out of prayer and fasting. What is my point?  Simply this, going on long fasts can open people up to demonic influences. This is especially true when the long fasts are combined with the mind-numbing effect of praying in ecstatic speech.

The synergistic effect of both on body and mind can be profound. There are two specific dangers facing the extremists: (1) such practices have and can lead to direct demonic influence in the participants lives, and (2) such practices place the participants in a compliant semi-hypnotic state where they are susceptible to being taken advantage of by unscrupulous SINisters.

If while enacting the above a large hungry very vocal semi-hypnotized party of prayer warriors do not seem to be breaking through the brassy heavens then they need to add the third ingredient of an IHOP prayer meeting. . . {drum roll please} the ministers of music! (17) Prayer and fasting, while two necessary ingredients simply don’t mean a thing without that swing that the prophetic saophone and trumpet players bring. In the enthusiasts congregations and meetings the minister(s) of music has as much, of not more authority than the pastor during the service. NOW heaven must hear them. After all, we’ve got people praying, fasting, clapping, dancing, running around, weeping, laughing, calling down principalities and powers, loosing and binding — all at once. The louder and sweatier one gets the better the meeting is. In most of these type of meetings, and I have participated in many in the past, there is little or no proclamation of the Gospel, in fact I’ve heard it said many times that the Holy Spirit was moving so powerfully there was no need for preaching!

Music has a very powerful role in any so-called revival meeting. The power of music on people’s emotions and behavior is thoroughly documented.

Change in consciousness can be triggered when the brain is overloaded by an excess of sensory input. A simple method of overloading the brain’s ability to follow melodic patterns is through polyphony, the use of multiple independent melodies. The average person can consciously attend to one or two melodies at a time, but not to, say, four simultaneous melodies, as in the counterpoint of J.S. Bach. (18)

Throughout history, traditional and modern cultures have sought to generate trance-like states using music with short, repeated phrases and a hypnotic beat, so that time seems to slow down or stop.

The incremental repetition of brief, non-developing phrases, with or without intelligible words, generates and at the same time is generated by an unremitting [sic] beat. The continuity of the beat destroys the sense of temporal progression, so that one lives once more in mythological, rather than in chronological, Time [Mellers, p. 29.]

Repetitive, hypnotic sounds can induce trance-like states y focusing the brain’s attention n a minimal set of sensory inputs: Music has become such a commonplace that its effects may pass unnoticed, but when recordings of African or other unfamiliar music is listened to, it is realized that the rhythms are “fascinating.” The repetition of phrase and motif, the complicated rhythm within a rhythm that is characteristic of much of this music, may explain why man throughout recorded history and in the multiplicity of modern cultures has used music, both instrumental and vocal, for inducing the trance. When these phenomena are subjected to experimental study, some forms of music will be found to be much more hypnogenetic than others, and some persons will be more susceptible than others. For example, Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ can hardly fail to induce definit trances in some listeners. Ancient man knew of the trance-inducing qualities of music and used it for this purpose. The Druids, at the beginning of the Christian Era, were versatile in their use of hypnosis and music was one of their chief ways of inducing “magical sleep.” [Williams, p. 6] (19)

The role of music and musicians has been given prominence because of David’s use of both in his worship. In any enthusiasts gathering the music and the songs sung create the spiritual atmosphere (20)  in which God literally inhabits and thus He is enabled to flow through His yielded vessels the restored apostles and prophets working signs and wonders in their midst.

What I’m going to write now I ask that you take my word for it being true. Space simply does not permit me to verify what I am sharing, which no one else either knows about or is fearful of sharing. Before his death in 1990 Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was using his disciples in his large gatherings for a specific purpose. Through his use of music, mind-numbing chanting, physical animations (jumping, jerking about, etc) he was attempting to create in his words “the Buddha field” through releasing the psychic energy residing within his disciples. Rajneesh was a real Nosferatu, vampire, but on the psychic level, he literally fed off the energy of his followers and probably was as close to being totally demon possessed as one can be.

IHOP’s meetings are in essence little different from the Bhagwan’s experiments. (21) Bhagwan was seeking god-like miracle working power and so were his followers. Bickle and his people are seeking power. Everything they do is about the “anointing” or alleged spiritual power. Prayer is about power, fasting is to increase power, music creates the zone where one can tap into God’s power. After all it is going to take massive amounts of spiritual power to cleanse the world from all evil. (Just something to ponder when considering God’s power — when was God most powerful?  When He died on the cross for our sins, think about this power in relation to the sign-gift view of power).

Bickle knows full well that the type of experiences occurring in their meetings cannot take place without all of the ingredients we’ve been looking at for the last several months. Music plays such a vital role in manipulating human emotions and a skillful musician can turn a crowd into psychic putty to be shaped as they please. Combine this fact with a group of hungry folks loudly engaged in song, in ecstatic speech, physical animations and loud repetitive music and you have created a platform for mind control.

In this charged atmosphere people routinely report finding precious gem stones, people covered in gold dust and even angel feathers after intense sessions of so-called worship. (22)   There are many videos on YouTube given by obviously “blissed out” sign-gift robots that you can view demonstrating the susceptibility to deception by those who’ve checked their minds at the door. The fact is that to charismatic believers there is a clear distinction between spirit, soul and body. So much so that they favor turning down or off their minds so as to feed their spirits, albeit they do this unconsciously via prayer, fasting, worship but the subtle underpinning philosophy beind these practices has been sown by their deceitful teachers.

With a little practice one learns how to enter into this altered state quite easily, the zenith of perfection being able to walk in and out of the “spirit” at will. Prior to the 24/7 experiment our former congregation in Detroit, Jubilee Christian Church under the false apostle Ellis Smith, were leaders regarding worship warfare due to our highly skilled musicians. The praise and worship portion of our services were over an hour. We’d start off “hot” with praise songs (animated songs that were suited to dancing) than after a long while (get good and sweaty) then the lights would dim and the music would shift th worship songs (slow songs, equally repetitive as the fast ones) often giving way to instrumental music following by singing in tongues by the congregation. . . . Then after a long while the lights would go up and the apostle/prophet/pastor/flavor of the moment was standing behind the Lucite podium ready to spoon feed our neutralized minds present day truths and whatever the vision (marching orders) of our anointed leader(s) were.  (23)

At Jubilee and throughout charismania we had “warfare” praise songs; songs that when sung literally were an engagement in fighting the principalities, powers and dominions. What scriptural basis did we have? Here goes:

Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the LORD! (24)  Psalm 149:6-9

Enthusiasts interpret this text to mean: “as we praise God fervently we are executing vengeance on the forces of spiritual darkness that enslave the nations. We bind prince demons and execute the judgment written about them in Jesus name. Praise the Lord!”

Set aside the context and think back to Bickle’s concept of ridding the world of evil. This is part of how it is going to be done through the high prophetic prayer/praises of God’s overcoming remnant of prayer warriors who manifested into sons and joined Joel’s Army.

Make no mistake about it; thee folks are serious in their efforts. It is obvious, when you can actually get people to PAY YOU to come pray at their center. They are working so very hard, just like hamsters on the wheel in their cage. Happily running as fast and as hard as they can, but getting nowhere fast all the while thinking they have made great strides spiritually.

Probably the saddest part of Bickle’s experiment is the deception that these people have willingly submitted themselves to. They have been skillfully manipulated by some very crafty people into thinking they are encountering the Living God when in reality they are far from Him. The degree of brain washing is extremely disturbing to observe. What do you make of people who refuse to believe that the “gold dust” found in the meeting is really nothing but plastic mirco flake when you show them the truth? Sai Baba, one of India’s premier perverted power gurus used to materialize gold dust, ask, gems, Rolex watches out of seemingly thin air. How hard is it to scatter some mini-semi-precious gem stones around the floor while everyone’s eyes are closed? What about the total lack of any contextual biblical support for Bickle’s activities and teachings? Bickle says the “manifest sons” will cleanse the whole world of evil prior to and without Jesus Christ’s direct personal involvement? Come on, what thinking Christian could believe such things? I know who, a person who has been brainwashed. Doubt me? Simply find someone who buys into this belief system and ask them some simple questions. How about this one — “since IHOP has been praying 24/7 for over 10 years now what results have you seen?”

I’d love to confront Bickle and ask him to cite the fruit from his experiment thus far. Is the world any closer to Christ? Is there any less evil, more glory and love? No in questioning these folks they will respond in anger and accusation. You will feel what Paul felt when he exclaimed — “Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Gal. 6:4) Some of these folks seem to be embodying the dire condition related in the following passages of text:

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall detroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (25)  (2 Thessalonians 2:6-12)

It is very sobering to me when I present the truth of God’s Word to someone who professes to be a Christian and yet they vehemently denies God’s truth and embraces obvious fallacy. I’m not speaking about some esoteric obscure doctrinal position that the Church has never agreed upon, no I am referring to simple basic foundational truths which must be believed in order to be a Christian. (26) When someone denies these central truths and debates them with me versus humbly bowing their fallen minds to the authority of God’s Word then I do doubt their salvation and would at that point steer the conversation towards Christ Jesus and His redemptive work. Jesus said “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. (27) (John 8:27).  Paul said “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” (28) (1 Cor. 2:14-16)

The only thing that will be spiritually accomplished by Bickle and his IHOP experiment will be the numbers of spiritually abused, broken and disheartened people, many of whom will be (and possibly already are) scanning the sunny horizon for the next move of the Spirit. Well, that and the millions of dollars gathered by Bickle through IHOP participants, music sales, books, and conferences. In effect the devil has sidetracked thousands of people, getting them involved in seemingly spiritual activity and siphoned off millions of dollars that could have been used for legitimate Christian work.

Like all of the prior enthusiastically inspired visions of power and glory (read in: “I will be like the Most High”) IHOP will dwindle down and fizzle out and trust me all the SINisters in the movement will have left long before the lights are turned out. May God have mercy on their souls and may He continue to send witnesses across their paths proclaiming God’s Word with boldness, accuracy and love.

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Written by Rev. Joe Sazyc located at http://www.nextga.us/impact/harpbowl/ on 9/28/11 Underlining added for emphasis.

2. As I have previously written concerning the Eternality of the Divine Liturgy, the Church does bring forward some of the O.T. worship practices but at no time are we to come back under the yoke of the Old Covenant and its laws.

3. I am not contradicting myself my saying this about this text; in that incense, musical instruments, prostrations before the Lord are all found in numerous other texts and when viewed in their context it becomes evident that they are bone fide worship activities. I am not forming doctrine from the book of the Rev.

4. Prophetic Prayer: Allegedly prayer that is led by the Holy Spirit, predictive in nature, very declarative “thus saith the Lord I will bring great joy….” This is another invention by our sign-gift enthusiasts. The Bible does not denote any specific type or form of prayer as prophetic per se.

5. Obtained from http://www.nextga.us/impact/harpbowl/ .

6. Let me cover myself and quick — God is sovereign, everything that exists is under His direct and complete control nothing happens apart from His divine permission so in that sense these men were ordained by God to fill these roles. The distinction I make is between the divine calls on the biblical prophets by name — versus 288 men chosen by David and his cronies to fill this role.

7. Franklin H. Paschall and Herschel H. Hobbs, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary: A Concise, Though Interpretation of the Entire Bible Designed Especially for Sunday School Teachers (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1972), 228-229

8. Notwithstanding our Lord Jesus Christ, who ever lives to make intercession on our behalf (see Hebrews 7:25)

9. Just a word of friendly advice, not only are they not praying for us, but I hope you do know that you are not to pray for them either, they are not listening to you.

10. The Holy bible King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2009), Is 45:11.

11. In an earlier article in the series I denoted several historic examples of charismatic extremists “experiments.” The 24/7 prayer model is another such experiment, it will remain in effect as long as the money flows into it. Keep in mind that those on “staff” actually pay for the privilege of being spiritually abused & used.

12. Obtained from http://journal.equip.org/articles/forerunner-eschatology .

13. History records what Calvin attempted in Geneva, it didn’t work then and won’t work now. However, let me add that I have GREAT respect for Calvin, anyone who at age 21 wrote The Institutes of the Christian Religion is not a lightweight. As an Evangelical Lutheran, I can appreciate some of his thoughts, but not all f them.

14. Obtained from http://journal.equip.org/articles/forerunner-eschatology . Italic added for emphasis by this author.

15. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Mk. 13:32.

16. A.A. Allen died of an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol. Prior to his death in CA he was arrested in TN, for DUI. His co-SINisters bailed Allen out and they fled the state never to return. His cohorts were R.W. Schambach and Don Stewart, both televangelists today, both fed from Allen’s addiction and did nothing to help him.

17. It drives my fellow Lutheran pastors crazy when they keep learning of new “ministries” apart from that of the pastoral office. Charismatic sign-gift folks have ministries for everything and everyone, regardless if it has ever been a part of the Church at any time in 2,000 years.

18. http://www.sfxmachine.com/docs/musicandconsciousness.html Underlining and bold typed added.

19. Ibid.

20. “Spiritual” is what the sign-gift folks call it, the atmosphere is a result of a form of mass hypnosis and susceptibility.

21. He was kicked out of India and other countries due to the unsavory sexual escapades he and his followers involved themselves in plus the several strange deaths, suicides and commitments to mental institutions of those unable to keep up caused him to be persona non grata.

22. DMI has the only books in publication that deal with the gold dust phenomena and supernatural gold teeth, etc….contact our office if you are interested in : Does the bible Support A Doctrine of Gold Teeth?

23. Worship to most of same Christendom refers to the entirety of the service. Sign-gift folks delineate music as either being praise or worship. Both genres of music create specific responses and crafty leaders know which buttons to push. Sorry if it seems I am beating this point to death — but it really is a very hideous form of spiritual abuse.

24. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard bible Society, 2001), Ps. 149:6-9.

25. The Holy bible King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2009), 2 Th. 2: 6-12. Underlining and bold type added

26. Want to know what “must” be believed? Read The Athanasian Creed, it makes a beautiful chant as well.

***

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The Discipline of Prayer –Part Two

17 10 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – March 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 3 – The Discipline of Prayer — Part Two – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Discipline of Prayer — Part Two

By Rev. Bob Liichow

We began to consider the majesty of the Lord’s prayer last month and this month we will briefly look at the remaining six petitions given to us by Jesus in this stunningly rich prayer.

Matthew 6:9-13

 “After this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. They will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen

On the surface what Jesus gave to His disciples is a seemingly simple prayer. Yet the breath of this prayer is astoundingly wide and encompasses the entirety of man’s existence. I will be citing very heavily from Dr. Martin Luther and his commentary on the Lord’s Prayer as found in the Book of Concord. Whatever you may think about Luther. I believe you will agree that he had great insight into the Lord’s Prayer. My comments are in Blue, Luther’s are in Black.

The Second Petition

“Thy Kingdom Come”

But just as the name of God is in itself holy, and we pray nevertheless that it be holy among us, so also His Kingdom comes of itself without our prayer, yet we pray nevertheless that it may come to us, that is, prevail among us and with us, so that we may be a part of those among whom His name is hallowed and His kingdom prospers. [ Luther’s insight flies in the face of a great deal of current teaching concerning the kingdom of God in charismatic circles. It is commonly taught that we the Church, can either hasten or delay the coming of God’s kingdom. This hastening or delaying is done through either our positive or negative confessions or actions. Those who teach a brand of “Dominion Theology” say that it is up to the Church to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. This false doctrine espouses the belief that we are to Christianize every nation and then hand a restored would back to Jesus at His return. This global restoration and dominion will be allegedly led by a large number of “restored” prophets and apostles. Some of the more well know people who teach this false view include: Earl Paulk, Dr. C. Peter Wagner, Kenneth Copeland, Mike Bickle, John Paul Jones, Don Nori, Mahesh Chavda and others.]

But what is the kingdom of God? Answer: Nothing else than what we learned in the Creed, that God sent His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, into the world to redeem and deliver us from the power of the devil, and to bring us to Himself, and to govern us as a King of righteousness, life and salvation against sin, death, and an evil conscience, fro which end He has also bestowed His Holy Ghost, who is to bring these things home to us by His holy Word, and to illumine and strengthen us in the faith by His power.

Therefore we pray here in the first place that this may become effective with us, and that His name be so praised through the holy Word of God and a Christian life that both we who have accepted it may abide and daily grow therein, and that it may gain approbation and adherence among other people and proceed with power throughout the world, that many may fine entrance into the Kingdom of Grace, be made partakers of redemption, being led thereto by the Holy Ghost, in order that thus we may all together remain forever in the one kingdom now begun.

For the coming of God’s kingdom to us occurs in two ways; first, here in time through the Word and faith; and secondly, in eternity forever through revelation Now we pray for both these things, that it may come to those who are not yet in it, and by daily increase, to us who have received the same, and hereafter in eternal life. All this is nothing else than saying: Dear Father, we pray, give us first Thy Word, that the Gospel be preached properly throughout the world; and secondly, that it be received in faith, and work and live in us, so that through the Word and the power of the Holy Ghost Thy Kingdom may prevail among us, and the kingdom of the devil be put down, that he may have no right or power over us, until at last it shall be utterly destroyed, and sin, death, and hell shall be exterminated, that we may live forever in perfect righteousness and blessedness.

From this you perceive that we pray here not for a crust of bread or a temporal, perishable good, but for an eternal inestimable treasure and everything that God Himself possesses; which is far too great for any human heart to think of desiring if He had not Himself commanded us to pray for the same. But because He is God, He also claims the honor of giving much more and more abundantly than any one can comprehend, — like an eternal, unfailing fountain, which the more it pours forth and overflows, the more it continues to give, — and He desires nothing more earnestly of us than that we ask much and great things of Him, and again is angry if we do not ask and pray confidently.

The Third Petition

“They Will Be Done On Earth As It Is In Heaven”

Thus far we have prayed that God’s name be honored by us, and that His kingdom prevail among us; in which two points is comprehended all that pertains to the honor of God and to our salvation, that we receive as our own God and all His riches. But now a need just as great arises, namely, that we firmly keep them, and do not suffer ourselves to be torn there from.

For no one believes how the devil opposes and resists them, and cannot suffer that any one teach or believe aright. And it hurts him beyond measure to suffer his lies and abominations, that have been honored under the most specious pretexts of the divine name, to be exposed and to be disgraced himself, and besides, be driven out of the heart, and suffer such a breach to be made in his kingdom. Therefore he chafes and rages as a fierce enemy with all his power and might, and marshals all his subjects and, in addition enlists the world and our own flesh as his allies.

If we would be Christians, therefore, we must surely expect and reckon upon having the devil with all his angels and the world as our enemies, who will bring every possible misfortune and grief upon us. For where the Word of God is preached, accepted, or believed, and produces fruit, there the holy cross cannot be wanting. And let no one think that he shall have peace; but he must risk what whatever he has upon earth — possessions, honor, house and estate, wife and children, body and life.

[ Luther taught salvation by grace through faith alone, but it was not a cheap grace, nor was it a faith that does not produce works. Many today hold only to a theology of glory and cannot accept the reality of the theology of the cross. The early evangelicals understood that they would have to suffer attacks fro their stance on the Gospel. Consider well what Luther says here in light of the teachings of Joel Osteen, Paula White or Jesse Duplantis.]

Hence there is just as great a need, as in all the others, that we pray without ceasing: “Dear Father, Thy will be done, not the will of the devil and of our enemies, nor of anything that would persecute and suppress Thy holy Word or hinder Thy kingdom; and grant that we may bear with patience and overcome whatever is to be endured on that account, lest our poor flesh yield or fall away from weakness or sluggishness.”

Behold, thus we have in these three petitions, in the simplest manner, the need which relates to God Himself, yet all for our sakes. For whatever we pray concerns only us, namely, as we have said, that what must be done anyway without us, may also be done in us. For as His name must be hallowed and His kingdom come without our prayer, so also His will must be done and succeed although the devil with all his adherents raise a great tumult, are angry and rage against it, and undertake to exterminate the Gospel utterly. But for our own sakes we must pray that even against their fury His will be done without hindrance also among us, that they may not be able to accomplish anything and we remain firm against all violence and persecution, and submit to such will of God.

Such prayer, then, is to be our protection and defense now, is to repel and put down all that the devil, Pope, bishops, tyrants, and heretics can do against our Gospel. Let them all rage and attempt their utmost, and deliberate and resolve how they may suppress and exterminate us, that their will and counsel may prevail: over and against this one or two Christians with this petition alone shall be our wall against which they shall run and dash themselves to pieces. This consolation and confidence we have, that the will and purpose of the devil and of all our enemies shall and must fail and come to naught, however, proud, secure, and powerful they know themselves to be. For if their will were not broken and hindered, the kingdom of God could not abide on earth nor His name be hallowed.

The Fourth Petition

“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”

[In this petition I want to draw your attention to how marvelously Luther expands this simple petition to encompass every aspect that of life that goes into God providing for us daily bread. Also not how Luther often mentions the negative aspect which are wrapped up in our prayer to our heavenly Father].

Here, now, we consider the poor breadbasket, the necessaries of our body and of the temporal life. It is a brief and simple word, but it has a very wide scope. For when you mention and pray for daily bread, you pray for everything that is necessary in order to have and enjoy daily bread and, on the other hand, against everything which interferes with it. Therefore you must open wide and extend your thoughts not only to the oven or the flour-bin but to the distant field and the entire land, which bears and brings to us daily bread and every sort of sustenance. For if God did not cause it to grow, and bless and preserve it in the field, we could never take bread from the oven or have any to set upon the table.

To comprise it briefly, this petition includes everything that belongs to our entire life in the world, because on that account alone do we need daily bread. Now for our life it is not only necessary that our body have food and covering and other necessaries, but also that we spend our days in peace and quiet among the people with whom we live and have intercourse in daily business and conversation and all sorts of doings, in short, whatever pertains both to the domestic and to the neighborly or civil relation and government. For where these two things are hindered [intercepted and disturbed] that they do not proper as they ought, the necessaries of life also are impeded, so that ultimately life cannot be maintained. And there is, indeed, the greatest need to pray for temporal authority and government, as that by which most of all God preserves to us our daily bread and all the comforts of this life. For though we have received of God all good things in abundance we are not able to retain any of them or use them in security and happiness, if He did not give us a permanent and peaceful government. For where there are dissension, strife, and war, there the daily bread is already taken away, or at least checked.

Let this be a very brief explanation and sketch, showing how far this petition extends through all conditions on earth. Of this any one might indeed make a long prayer, and with many words enumerate all the things that are included therein, as that we pray God to give us food and drink, clothing, house, and home, and health of body; also that He cause the grain and fruits of the field to grow and mature well; furthermore, that He help us at home towards good housekeeping, that He give and preserve to us a godly wife, children, and servants, that He cause our work, trade, or whatever we are engaged in to prosper and succeed, favor us with faithful neighbors and good friends, etc. Likewise, that He give to emperors, Kings, and all estates, and especially to the rulers, of our country and to all counselors, magistrates, and officers, wisdom, strength, and success that they may govern well and vanquish the Turks and all enemies; to subjects and the common people, obedience, peace, and harmony in their life with one another, and on the other hand, that He would reserve us from all sorts of calamity to body and livelihood, as lightning, hail, fire, flood, poison, pestilence, castle-plague, war and bloodshed, famine, destructive beasts, wicked men, etc. All this it is well to impress upon the simple, namely, that these things come from God, and must be prayed for by us.

But this petition is especially directed also against our chief enemy, the devil. For all his thought and desire is to deprive us of all that we have from God, or to hinder it; and he is not satisfied to obstruct and destroy spiritual government in leading souls astray by his lies and bringing them under his power, but he also prevents and hinders the stability of all government and honorable, peaceable relations on earth. There he causes so much contention, murder, sedition, and war also lightning and hail to destroy grain and cattle, to poison the air, etc. In short, he is sorry that any one has a morsel of bread from God and eats it in peace; and if it were in his power, and our prayer (next to God) did not prevent him, we would not keep a straw in the field, a farthing in the house, yea, not even our life for an hour, especially those who have the Word of God and would like to be Christians.

Behold, thus God wishes to indicate to us how He cares for us in all our need, and faithfully provides also for our temporal support. Although He abundantly grants and preserves these things even to the wicked and knaves, yet He wishes that we pray for them, in order that we may recognize that we receive them from His had, and may feel His paternal goodness toward us therein.

The Fifth Petition

“And Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

This part now relates to our poor miserable life, which although we have and believe the Word of God, and do and submit to His will, and are supported by His gifts and blessings is nevertheless not without sin. For we still stumble daily and transgress because we live in the world among men who do us much harm and give us cause for impatience, anger, revenge, etc. Besides, we have Satan at our back, who sets upon us on every side, and fights (as we have heard) against all the foregoing petitions, so that it is not possible always to stand firm in such a persistent conflict.

[This insight regarding our sinfulness is also rejected by many in the Church today. Among the charismatic and the so-called modern evangelical community is a negation of the reality of sin. Either some form of incipient perfectionism is taught {which gained a foothold in the Church today through that damnable heretic Charles Finney} or sin is simply not preached about because it is a “negative” confession. Luther correctly understood what it meant to be declared righteous in the sight of God and that our righteousness is in fact an alien righteousness, one that is reckoned to our account due to the work of Christ. Many, especially within the word of Faith cult, teach that the Christian actually becomes righteous and can attain sinless perfection in this life.]

Therefore there is here again great need to call upon God and to pray: Dear Father, forgive us our trespasses. Not as though He did not forgive sin without and ever before our prayer (for He has given us the Gospel, in which is pure forgiveness before we prayed or ever thought about it). But this is to the intent that we may recognize and accept such forgiveness. For since the flesh in which we daily live is of such a nature that it neither trusts nor believes God, and is ever active in evil and omission by which the conscience is thrown into unrest, so that it is afraid of the wrath and displeasure of God, and thus loses the comfort and confidence derived from the Gospel; therefore it is ceaselessly necessary that we run hither and obtain consolation to comfort the conscience again.

But this should serve God’s purpose of breaking our pride and keeping us humble. For in case any one should boast of his godliness and despise others, God has reserved this prerogative to Himself, that the person is to consider himself and place this prayer before his eyes, and he will find that he is no better than others, and that in the presence of God all must lower their plumes, and be glad that they can attain forgiveness. And let no one think that as long as we live here he can reach such a position that he will not need such forgiveness. In short, if God does not forgive without ceasing, we are lost.

It is therefore the intent of this petition that God would not regard our sins and hold up to us what we daily deserve, but would deal graciously with us, and forgive, as He has promised, and thus grant us a joyful and confident conscience to stand before Him in prayer. For where the heart is not in right relation towards God, nor can take such confidence, it will nevermore venture to pray. But such a confident and joyful heart can spring from nothing else than the [certain] knowledge of the forgiveness of sin.

But there is here attached a necessary, yet consolatory addition: As we forgive. He has promised that we shall be sure that everything is forgiven and pardoned, yet in the manner that we also forgive our neighbor. For just as we daily sin much against God and ye He forgives everything through grace, so we, too, must ever forgive our neighbor who does us injury, violence, and wrong, shows malice toward us, etc. If, therefore you do not forgive, then do not think that God forgives you; but if you forgive, you have this consolation and assurance, that you are forgiven in heaven, not on account of your forgiving, — for God forgives freely and without condition out of pure grace, because He has so promised, as the Gospel teaches, — but in order that He may set this up for our confirmation and assurance for a sign alongside of the promise which accords with this prayer, Luke 6:37: Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. Therefore Christ also repeats it soon after the Lord’s Prayer, and says, Matt 6,14: For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, etc.

The Sixth Petition

“And Lead us not into temptation”

We have now heard enough what toil and labor is required to retain all that for which we pray, and to persevere therein, which, however, is not achieved without infirmities and stumbling. Besides, although we have received forgiveness and a good conscience and are entirely acquitted, yet is our life of such a nature that one stands today, and to-morrow falls. Therefore, even though we be godly now and stand before God with a good conscience, we must pray again that He would not suffer us to relapse and yield to trials and temptations.

Temptation, however, or (as our Saxons in olden times used to call it) Bekoerunge, is of three kinds, namely, of the flesh, of the world, and of the devil. For in the flesh we dwell and carry the old Adam about our neck, who exerts himself and incites us daily to in chastity, laziness, gluttony and drunkenness, avarice and deception, to defraud our neighbor and to overcharge him, and, in short, to all manner of evil lusts which cleave to us be nature, and to which we are incited by the society, example and what we hear and see of other people, which often would and inflame even an innocent heart.

Next comes the world, which offends us in word and deed, and impels us to anger and impatience. In short, there is nothing but hatred and envy, enmity, violence and wrong, unfaithfulness, vengeance, cursing, raillery slander, pride and haughtiness, with superfluous finery, honor, fame, and power, where no one is willing to be the least, but every one desires to sit at the head and to be seen before all.

Then comes the devil, inciting and provoking in all directions, but especially agitating matters that concern the conscience and spiritual affairs, namely, to induce us to despise and disregard both the Word and works of God to tear us away from faith, hope and love and bring us into misbelief, false security, and obduracy, or, on the other hand, to despair, denial of God, blasphemy, and innumerable other shocking things. These are indeed snares and nets, yea, real fiery darts which are shot most venomously into the heart, not by flesh and blood, but by the devil.

Great and grievous, indeed, are these dangers and temptations which every Christian must bear, even though each one were alone by himself, so that every hour that we are in this vile life where we are attacked on all side, chased and hunted down, we are moved to cry out and to pray that God would not suffer us to become weary and faint and to relapses into sin, shame, and unbelief. For otherwise it is impossible to overcome even the least temptation.

This, then is leading us not into temptation, to wit, when He gives us power and strength to resist, the temptation, however, not being taken away or removed. For while we live in the flesh and have the devil about us, no one can escape temptation and allurements; and it cannot be otherwise than that we must endure trials, yea, he engulfed in them; but we pray for this, that we may not fall and be drowned in them.

Therefore we Christians must be armed and daily expect to be incessantly attacked, in order that no one may go on in security and heedlessly, as though the devil were far from us, but at all times expect and parry his blows. For though I am now chaste, patient, kind, and in firm faith, the devil will this very hour send such an arrow into my heart that I can scarcely stand. For he is an enemy that never desists nor becomes tired, so that when one temptation ceases, there always arise others and fresh ones.

Accordingly, there is no help or comfort except to run hither and to take hold of the Lord’s Prayer, and thus speak to God from the heart: Dear Father, Thou hast bidden me pray; let me not relapse because of temptations. Then you will see that they must desist, and finally acknowledge themselves conquered. Else if you venture to help yourself by your own thoughts and counsel, you will only make the matter worse and give the devil more space. For he has a serpent’s head, which if it gain an opening into which he can slip, the whole body will follow without check. But prayer can prevent him and drive him back.

The Seventh Petition

“But Deliver Us From Evil”

In the Greek text this petition reads thus: Deliver or preserve us from the Evil One, or the Malicious One; and it looks as if He were speaking of the devil, as though He would comprehend everything in one so that the entire substance of all our prayer is directed against our chief enemy. For it is he who hinders among us everything that we pray for the name or honor of God, God’s kingdom and will, our daily bread, a cheerful good conscience, etc.

Therefore we finally sum it all up and say; Dear Father pray, help that we be rid of all these calamities. But there is nevertheless also included whatever evil may happen to us under the devil’s kingdom –poverty, shame, death, and in short, all the agonizing misery and heartache of which there is such an unnumbered multitude on the earth. For since the devil is not only a lair, but also a murderer, he constantly seeks our life, and wreaks his anger whenever he can afflict our bodies with misfortune and harm. Hence it comes that he often breaks men’s necks or drives them to insanity, drowns some, and incites many to commit suicide, and to many other terrible calamities. Therefore, there is nothing for us to do upon earth but to pray against this arch enemy without ceasing. For unless God preserved us, we would not be safe from him even for an hour.

Hence you see again how God wishes us to pray to Him also for all the things which affect our bodily interests, so that we seek and expect help nowhere else except in Him. But this matter He has put last; for if we are to be preserved and delivered from all evil, the name of God must first be hallowed in us, His kingdom must be with us, and His will be done. After that He will finally preserve us from sin and shame, and besides, from everything that may hurt or injure us.

Thus God has briefly placed before us all the distress which may ever come upon us, so that we might have no excuse whatever for not praying. But all depends upon this, that we learn also to say Amen, that is, that we do not doubt that our prayer is surely heard and [what we pray] shall be done. For this is nothing else than the word of undoubting faith, which does not pray at a venture, but knows that God does not lie to him, since He has promised to grant it. Therefore, where there is no such faith, there cannot be ture prayer either.

It is, therefore, a pernicious delusion of those who pray in such a manner that they dare not from the heart say yea and positively conclude that God hears them, but remain in doubt and say, How should I be so bold as to boast that God hears my prayer? For I am but a poor sinner, etc.

The reason for this is, they regard not the promise of God, but their own work and worthiness, whereby they despise God and reproach Him with lying, and therefore they receive nothing. As St. James says [1,6]: But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering; for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. Behold, such importance God attaches to the fact that we are sure we do not pray in vain, and that we do not in any way despise our prayer.

I believe it is possible to spend many months mediating on this prayer and all its ramifications and Dr. Luther’s insights have certainly broadened my understanding and increased my appreciation of the Lord’s Prayer. Now during our Sunday services when we as a congregation pray the Lord’s Prayer it mean so much more to me and I hope that this brief exposition on it gie you a solid foundation upon which to build a rich life of prayer.

End Notes

1. Luther, Martin The Book of Concord, This text was prepared by Allen Mulvey for Project Wittenberg. The entire text is in the public domain and can be downloaded or read in its entirely at http://www.icinet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/catechism/web/cat-12.html.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid