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veryone seems to "know" what Christianity is, but few can agree about how to live it. It's easy if you follow the original model, Jesus; it's easy to get off base if you take your focus off of Him. Much of what people think is Christianity is really religion. There is a difference. If you are not sure what the differences are, I suggest you read my article True Verses False Christianity, and then return to these pages to learn how to live a healthy and productive Christian Life.
et's continue our discussion on prayer...
Prayer is a good tool for reflection on your own heart and life. When you reflect on the goodness, holiness, love, faith, mercy, justice, peace, and acceptance of God, look at your own life and heart for the same things. If you lack in any, now is the time to communicate with God your need. It is a good thing to review your life, make sure you are who you should be, where you ought to be, heading in the right direction, growing and maturity. Prayer is a good way of knowing, the Holy Spirit teaching and guiding you into God's will for your life.
If you realize you are not walking rightly in your life or heart, God has given you prayer as the open doorway to Christ's forgiveness, and restoration. If you have erred, fallen short of walking in love, or moved away from relationship with God, yourself, or other people, God's door is always open. Christ is always ready to talk about it, show you how to get things right again. Prayer is an avenue for restoration, healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation. God is as close as a simple "Hello."
Prayer is a reminder of who we are in Christ, and who Christ really is, too. Prayer should include thanking God for being God, for Christ's goodness, mercy, Love, and acceptance. Your Parent God has given you so much, and Christ's Love is without boundaries. Tell God thank you. It is good to hear a thank you now and then; God likes to hear them, too.
It is difficult to contain Love. Love wants to share itself with others. As you move deeper into relationship with God and Jesus through the communication of prayer, the love growing in your heart will want to be shared with others. Prayer is one way of showing love for other people. Through intercessory prayer, God may give you wisdom or insight to help people in ways you may not have thought of or noticed. Praying for other people also reminds you of your need to love them. Jesus commanded us to love, even those who do not love us. Prayer can change your heart to love someone with whom you have difficulties.
Through prayer, God may call you to work on a relationship with another person. A problem in one relationship may affect other relationships in your life. Jesus said if you are praying and there comes to mind someone you know who has a problem with you, get up and go try to reconcile with that person, then come back and pray. Jesus assumes if you have a problem with a person you are already motivated by Love to do something about it. Here you have the case where you are aware someone else has a problem with you; Jesus wants you to make the first move, attempt reconciliation. How you relate with other people can directly affect your relationship with God.
Through prayer, God may call you to battle, spiritual warfare. God has given you three powerful weapons to use in prayer, the Word of God (Scriptures), the Name of Jesus, and the Blood of Jesus. As a son or daughter of God, you are a member of God's Royal Household, so you have authority and power through Jesus Christ. Jesus sent His disciples out to do the same things He did, heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead. You are given the same commandment. You can use the Word of God during your prayers to remind yourself, remind other people, remind your enemies be they people or spirits, and even remind God of the promises and truths of God. You can use the name of Jesus Christ. In the name of Jesus, you rebuke sickness, negative thoughts, evil powers, etc., and command them to cease and leave. You apply the Blood of Jesus to your body, or the body of others for healing, and apply it to reinforce forgiveness, and being set free from sin. One time I was asked to pray for someone in the hospital, not expected to live the night. I started to simply pray for his healing, when I suddenly was overwhelmed with a feeling this was an attack of some kind. I found myself boldly speaking, rebuking the enemy, and commanding him to live. He did. One time I was caught in a terrible storm, and again, I started to simply pray, but suddenly felt the same thing, commanded the storm to cease, and it did, instantly. About a month later, I was caught in another storm, did not feel anything special, commanded the storm to cease, and got soaking wet. These are powerful tools, so use them wisely, and appropriately.
Prayer is very special, an open communication line between you and your Da-Da. Its use will not bring the two of you closer together. It will help you grow and mature, learn your path in life, and empower you to live it. It will motivate you to intercede for other people, draw you closer to them. It will help you recover if you fall or error. It will help you spread God's Kingdom in the world. It is both a powerful tool, and an intimate blessing. The more you use it, the more you will want to use it.
Jer. 29:13; Psalm 91:15; Isaiah 56:7; Isaiah 58:9a; Isaiah 65:24; Matt. 18:19; Mark 11:24; Luke 11:9; John 14:13; John 15:7; John 16:24; Acts 16:18; Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 6:18; James 5:16.
See Also: Books: Gays, Lesbians and Christianity.
asting is going without food for a period of time, to assist you in focusing on a task. Generally, the task is seeking God's will, either through prayer, meditation or study of the Scriptures, or working with other people in a joint project or cause. It is a temporary need to focus on things spiritual that is so important you need to forgo food, or bodily needs for the moment, so you are not distracted.
Never fast because you want to, only fast when God calls you to do it. I explain this by my own personal life. I cannot fast; when I try to it makes me sick. I have been in situations where my church calls a fast for some reason, or I have something going on in my life and I think I should fast to help me focus better, or I am praying for someone else and think I should fast for this person. Every time, I fail. Even if I go for a short period of time without food, it messes me up; I have a fast metabolism, need to eat. But, there have been a few times in my life, when God has laid on my heart a call to fast. When God has, every time I have never gotten sick. One time, I felt God specifically calling me, during a time of spiritual warfare, not to eat OR drink for a couple of days, and at the end of that time, the warfare was won. Especially in this case, not drinking anything, I do NOT recommend it for any frivolous reasons, or without a direct call from God to do it; it could be medically dangerous.
Some fasting does not involve complete avoidance of food. A fast could include no food but fruit or other juices, athletic drinks, etc. A fast could include eating one meal per day, but nothing else for the day. A fast could include eating just one food item regularly for the length of the fast.
Some people just cannot fast, for medical reasons, and God understands that, so there is no need to feel bad or guilty. You can still pray and do other things normally. God will honor you because Jesus see your heart and knows you care. If necessary, consult with your doctor or physician for assistance.
Use fasting wisely and responsibly. Remember, fasting is not used to try to force God to do something; that is childish, like a toddler holding his breath until his mother gives in and buys him the toy he wants. Fasting is a tool to help to bring you to where God is about a situation, see clearly Jesus' will about it.
Matt. 6:17-18; Matt 17:21; Luke 4:1-2; Acts 9:9; Acts 13:2; Acts 14:23.
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