Monday, February 20, 2006

Praying for God, to God
(What it means to Pray in Jesus’ Name)

In scripture there is major significance in a person's name. For example in Exodus 3 when God tells Moses to go to Pharaoh and to tell him to let the Israelites go Moses asks Him who he is to report to Pharaoh who it is that sent him? In other words, by whose authority is Moses being sent. It is here where God reveals His personal name to Moses. God says to tell Pharaoh that 'I Am' has sent you. 'I am', being the verb form of God's revealed name 'Jehovah' or more correctly in Hebrew, 'Yahweh'. Therefore Moses goes as a messenger for Yahweh implying Moses' words are really from God and God is prepared to back up what he intends for Pharaoh to do! Or, in other words Moses goes in God's name.

That seems to me to be the idea behind praying in Jesus' name. It is not just a tag on the end of a prayer.

So, when we pray in Jesus' name we are to pray in the purpose, character, and mission that Jesus has in the world today!

I break it down like this from the start of the model prayer in Matthew 6.

Matt 6:9-10 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored. 10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven. (NLT)

1. “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored.” V9

It was Christ’s first purpose in prayer to pray that God’s name would be honored in the world! God is very concerned about His reputation or the reputation of His name! We are to pray the same to God, that His reputation will be upheld in the world through His people. Consider this verse, 1 Sam 12:22 “The LORD will not abandon his chosen people, for that would dishonor his great name. He made you a special nation for himself.” (NLT) And these verses from Numbers 14:15-18 “Now if you slaughter all these people, the nations that have heard of your fame will say, 16'The LORD was not able to bring them into the land he swore to give them, so he killed them in the wilderness.' 17 "Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed it to be. For you said, 18'The LORD is slow to anger and rich in unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion..." (NLT) Moses here in Numbers appeals to God to spare Israel not because they deserved it but because of God’s reputation being tarnished toward the other nations! And God heard that plea and responded! To pray in Jesus’ name is to first pray that God’s reputation will be upheld in any given situation we find ourselves in. Our first life goal is to get more concerned about God’s reputation than our own things. This will greatly alter or view of the things of life.

2 Sam 7:23
23 "And what one nation on the earth is like Your people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people and to make a name for Himself, and to do a great thing for You and awesome things for Your land, before Your people whom You have redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, from nations and their gods?

Deut 9:25-28
26 I prayed to the LORD and said, 'O Sovereign LORD, do not destroy your own people. They are your special possession, redeemed from Egypt by your mighty power and glorious strength. 27 Overlook the stubbornness and sin of these people, but remember instead your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 28 If you destroy these people, the Egyptians will say, "The LORD destroyed them because he wasn't able to bring them to the land he had sworn to give them." Or they might say, "He destroyed them because he hated them; he brought them into the wilderness to slaughter them."

2. Next Jesus teaches us to pray in v. 10, “May your Kingdom come soon.”

The next thing in praying in Jesus’ name is to pray for the success of Christ’s mission on earth! Have you ever thought that Jesus wants us to pray for Him to be successful? That is a new one to most people but that is exactly what Jesus means here! What was Jesus’ mission here? Yes He came to die for sinners but if we look at His teaching He repeatedly told us what His mission was and is today. Let’s look at Isaiah 53:10, “But it was the LORD's good plan to crush him and fill him with grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD's plan will prosper in his hands.” (NLT) Simply put Jesus came to fulfill God’s plan, God has a plan for the world and Jesus knew it. For a few verses on Christ’s teaching let’s look at the purpose and scope of God’s plan as first taught by Jesus. Matt. 4:23, “Jesus traveled throughout Galilee teaching in the synagogues, preaching everywhere the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed people who had every kind of sickness and disease.” (NLT) Notice Jesus came preaching and teaching about the Kingdom of God coming to earth. This is the major purpose of His mission. Another verse from Matt. 6:33, “And he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.” (NLT) Here again Jesus relates that we are to be first concerned about the success of His mission, to see His Kingdom established! Have you ever thought that Jesus wants us to pray to the Father that His mission will be successful? Almost sounds absurd, but non-the less there it is! This is the second point of praying in Jesus’ name, to pray for His success in establishing the Kingdom. And one more verse though there are many I could site. Matt. 13:19, “The seed that fell on the hard path represents those who hear the Good News about the Kingdom and don't understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the seed away from their hearts.” (NLT) Pray that the Good News of the Kingdom planted in the hearts of people will thrive and flourish as well as in other areas God will show you that Christ is working. You can know that God hears these prayers!

3. And 3rd in v. 10 above Jesus teaches us to pray, “May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven.” This is what I call praying for the ‘Veracity of God’s Word’ in the world and the church. How do we know God’s will, what He wills to be done on earth? We know His will through the Word, the Bible. God is even more concerned about the reputation of His Word than about His own name! Look at this amazing truth from Psalm 138:2, “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” (KJV) God is steadfast in His resolve to see that His Word, or will, is carried out. He has set a plan into motion. He has told it to us in His Word. His Word will hold true! Isaiah 55:11, “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” (NLT) We should pray that God’s Word is upheld and honored in the church, world, our homes etc. I call this praying for the ‘Veracity of God’s Word’. We need to uphold God’s Word as relevant for living today. It is not out of date, it is timeless!

Jesus wants us to first pray to God for God’s success! A novel idea! Then, after we pray about the things God is focused on, Jesus teaches us to then bring up our daily things to God and the model prayer continues, Matt. 6:11-13, “Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 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.” (KJV)

I believe those first three things represent what it means to ‘Pray in Jesus Name’! Much more than a tag on the end of our prayers! Try praying like this and possibly you will find some help in learning to pray in Jesus Name first and foremost!

XtnYoda Shalomed

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Coretta King's death brings thoughts of racism to mind.

From whince came institutional racism such as that which the Kings faced? Would you be surprised to discover that it grew from a movement in the ninteeth century that we call 'evolution'? Would you give me a couple of minutes to speak to this issue and try to help get us out of the trap of thinking the debate over evolution is about whether creation happened in seven 24 hour periods vs. a more symbolic approach to the creation account? Could I please try to span the gap that has been manufactured to divide Xtns on this issue and thereby build walls of separation that should not exist? Please consider... The underlying problem with Darwin's 'evolutionary theory' is often misunderstood by very well meaning religious people on both sides of the debate...unfortunately. We could start with the actual title of his work:

The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,
The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

If we could get out of the maddening mud slinging back and forth between 'literalists' and 'symbolists' (did I just coin a new word?) and take a look at what 'natural selection' actually was and is all about I think we would all be just a little sobered regarding the true issue at hand, that being natural selection is part and parcel bedfellows with ushering in the worst 150 years of institutional racism and genocide in recorded human history. Just take a look at Encarta's (not a literalist's text book) dealing with racism.


The word “race” was introduced into European languages around the beginning of the 16th century. It came to be used in the sense of lineage, as in a reference to “the race and stocke of Abraham” in The Book of Martyrs (1563) by John Foxe. To account for the differences between themselves and Africans, Chinese, and others, Europeans turned to the Old Testament in the Bible, which provided genealogies showing how, by descent, people acquired membership of groups. When the morality of the Atlantic slave trade was debated at the end of the 18th century, both the pro- and anti-slavery parties assumed that blacks and whites shared a common humanity. The relative technological backwardness of Africans was attributed to their living in an unhealthy climate and their lacking the kinds of political and social institutions that encouraged economic development. The claim that they were permanently inferior came only later.

Geologists and natural historians were at that time beginning to uncover processes of development in natural forms. Their evidence conflicted with the popular belief that God had created each species separately. Since children resembled their ancestors, it was difficult to explain how the differences between human groups could have appeared within the period of 6,000 years, which was all that seemed to be allowed by the Bible's chronology.

The first version of so-called “scientific racism” was an attempt to solve this problem. According to the doctrine of permanent racial types, the world was divided into a series of natural provinces. Thus, it was only in Australia that kangaroos and other marsupials were found. Likewise, only in that region were there human beings with the distinctive features of Australian Aborigines. The theory held that the Aborigines corresponded to marsupials in being the sort of human beings suited to that environment. For as long as evidence had existed, each province had supported its own types of flora and fauna, including human beings. This doctrine taught that it was futile for human beings to attempt to colonize any region outside their own natural province. Those who advanced this doctrine usually equated “type” with species, maintaining that blacks and whites were separate species within the genus Homo sapiens. More reputable scholars sided with Christian orthodoxy in regarding blacks and whites as separate varieties (subpopulations) within that species.

In the United States, those who defended the institution of black slavery relied primarily upon passages in the Bible that seemed to authorize it. After the American Civil War and the emancipation of slaves, black subordination was reinforced in new ways and more use was made of the doctrine of the inferiority of the black racial type.

Racism After Darwin

By showing that development occurred through natural selection, Charles Darwin in his book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection (1859) started a revolution in the understanding of human variability. Yet his theory inspired a second form of scientific racism, according to which racial prejudice served an evolutionary function. Prejudice was said to keep human groups distinct and enable them to develop special capacities (as in animal breeding). Thus, some groups would be superior to others in performing particular tasks or in particular environments. Some whites saw support for such interpretations in the decline of the indigenous populations in areas of the Pacific colonized by Europeans. In Australia, New Zealand, and the smaller islands it looked as if the indigenous peoples might be dying out. Whites in general neglected evidence of the spread of European diseases (sometimes deliberately spread) and concluded that nature intended the country for their occupation.

The whole article is here:

When we actally start to look at the result of 'teaching' a theory that at its core is built on a denial that there was a "Supreme Intelligence
" behind creation...that every part of creation has design and purpose...we all might get just a little uncomfortable with the 'educating' of our children with a theory that flatly states that the 'superior survive' and all others are destined to extinction. I could go on to give a few examples of social movements that grew out of the inspiration of 'evolution and natural selection' in the twentieth century but you would think I was being ugly and hateful and trying to attribute guilt by association, which would not be my desire. If we could just for one minute get over the '24 hour day' vs 'symbolic' view of what we think the issue is but isn't...quit labeling each other with our trite labels meant to degrade one another...

Maybe someday.

XtnYoda Shalomed

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