22 January 2009

In Jesus' Veins, Amen

Does God hear all prayers? If not, on what basis will He hear a prayer?

I am reminded of the movie "Angels In the Outfield" where the boy prays something like, "God, if you are out there, please may the Angels win the pennant this year." Then of course angels appear during games to help the California Angels baseball team win. So it seems to suggest that God would hear such a prayer. According to Hollywood anyway.

This issue arises out of all the commotion going on about those prayers surrounding the Presidential inauguration. Gay "Bishop" Robinson prayed to the "God of our many understandings." Such an approach to prayer is an attempt to include all those listening, so that if you have a different god than me you can still listen and agree with me in my words as you direct them towards your god. Isn't that nice. This says that tolerance is desirable even at the cost of promoting the worship of false gods. I dare say that a prayer as this is received by God as noise in His ears and a foul stench in His nostrils. That is, it is not received at all.

Hear the words of God through Isaiah:

Isa 59:1 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
Isa 59:2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

And Zechariah:

Zec 7:13 "As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear," says the LORD of hosts.

I often get the feeling that at the end of a prayer "in Jesus' name" is included merely out of habit or because we think it is a magical phrase. At the inauguration Rick Warren closed with, "I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life—Yeshua, Isa, Jesús, Jesus." Now I thought I heard people saying he didn't pray "in Jesus' name" but it sure appears that way to me. In fact he pointed out something important, that the name of Jesus has various pronunciations across the world. Therefore the magical phrase theory is debunked (and anyway, if it were like a spell, we should probably be saying "Jesus" in Elvish) .

As the verses above suggest, anyone in sin and rebellion before God will not be heard by God. But Jesus said, "Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son," John 14:13. This means that in Jesus the sin problem that kept us from God is washed away. We pray in Jesus' name in the sense that he is the mediator between us and God. We would still be in sin and God would not hear our prayers if not for the blood of Jesus.

Heb 10:19b we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus,
Heb 10:20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh

So to emphasize this concept and to stick the habitual trend of saying "in Jesus' name" I suggest trying something that sounds similar but alludes to the atoning blood of Jesus:

"In Jesus' veins, amen."

So you can Read more and I can 'Rite less:

Matthew Henry's commentary on John 14:13 states:
To ask in Christ's name is, (1.) To plead his merit and intercession, and to depend upon that plea. (2.) It is to aim at his glory and to seek this as our highest end in all our prayers.

Johnny Mac, as I like to call him, has an interesting list of 15 reasons why a prayer is not heard.

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