The Letters of Faith
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness
“The eyes of Yehoshua are toward the righteous,
and His ears are to their cry.”
(1 Peter 3:12 ENB)
Your recent visit was like a breadth of fresh air. I cannot even begin to tell you how I delighted in our conversations. I sensed your awareness of the fact that Elohim is reaching out to you, and I want to assure you again that you are not alone in your search. We are praying for you. The questions you have asked are ones that I now hear often, and they increasingly seem to be issues which hinder the decision making process. I only hope this letter will help clarify these matters for you. Admittedly, I never fully appreciated the concern that you (and others) have expressed, regarding the salvation of those souls who have never heard about Yehoshua ha Mashiach (Jesus Christ). Although I found Messiah late in life, it never occurred to me to forego my personal salvation, because I was uncertain about the status of other people. I now realize, though, how important this issue is, and I pray that I can present Elohim’s Word unto you in a positive, persuasive and helpful manner.
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – Prayer & Spiritual Warfare:
It must not escape our notice, beloved, that this issue is another example of spiritual warfare. Every obstacle that interferes with our personal faith and deliverance through Yehoshua is a testament to the intense battle being fought for the souls of the children of Elohim. Fortunately, the explanation of this matter provides another wonderful opportunity to present the wisdom, mercy, compassion and love of Elohim – to those who seek to know Him. Your comments about prayer interested me too, because I believe the war is won or lost on the battlefield of prayer. Fortunately, this discussion about the salvation of those who have never heard about Yehoshua, ties tightly into what you need to know about prayer.
Even though prayer may be “a time of straightening out one’s thoughts”, as you said, I have to tell you that prayer is in fact a great deal more. I wanted to tell you this while you were here, but our time together was so limited, and the topic so extensive, that I waited until I could write this letter to offer a full presentation of Elohim’s Word, as well as to add my personal sentiments on the matters. May that which follows be anointed by our Father in heaven:
Regarding prayer, Elohim says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous soul avails much” (James 5:16 ENB); and in James 5:17&18, The Holy Spirit provides an example for us of an effectual prayer. Then, throughout Scripture, reinforcement of the fact that the faith given to us through Yehoshua ha Mashiach, by His Father, is in fact the very same faith that was given to Yehoshua (and is exactly the same faith as was given to the writer’s of Scripture, and to every other faithful Disciple throughout history). I think this faith issue is really important when prayer is discussed, because what we really need to comprehend about James 5:16, is precisely what Elohim considers to be “much”, because in His hands, our prayers become exceptionally powerful.
While I appreciate your desire to meditate, you must realize that there is a vast difference between meditation and prayer. Meditation is a time of consideration and pondering – a period of relaxation and internalizing. On the other hand, prayer through Yehoshua ha Mashiach, is the means and authority we have to communicate with our Father in Heaven. Even though we straighten out our thoughts while we talk with Him, His Word tells us that the effects of our faithful fervent prayers are significant. And this significance is not only for us; it is for Him as well. How? Proverbs 15:8 (ENB) tells us that, “The prayer of the upright is His delight”.
Can you imagine that? How do you suppose it might feel to know that you are bringing delight to the Creator of all things thru your faithful fervent prayer? As a disciple, I will testify to the wonders of it all! And, as a disciple, there is nothing I want to do more than be a delight to Him. Those who know and believe upon Yehoshua have been instructed to pray with authority, power and persistence. We have been instructed to pray with proper motives; as well as to pray in faith – in the Holy Spirit. And, so much instruction has been given us throughout Scripture about prayer, that even an easy walk through the Word of Elohim shows that prayer is much more than meditation – or ‘straightening out one’s thoughts’…
And because of the importance of prayer, it should not surprise us to learn that there are tremendous hindrances to prayer as well, and that even the most devout disciples have difficulty maintaining a high level of prayer intensity all of the time. Such too is the spiritual battle!
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – Prayer , as defined in the Greek:
In order to understand the fullness of prayer though, it might help you to know that there are four Greek words used throughout Scripture to define exactly what prayer is. Those Greek words are:
DEESIS, which means to make known one’s particular need, and speaks of petition (Ephesians 6:18).
ENTEUXIS, which refers to intercessory prayer, and involves praying for or about another person (1 Timothy 2:1).
EUCHE, which talks about making a wish or vow – and is expectant (James 5:15).
PROSEUCHE, which means to praise Elohim (Romans 15:30).
An effective prayer therefore, can be one of petition, intercession, expectation, or praise, and as you might imagine, a truly inspired prayer normally and frequently contains all of these components.
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – Example of faithful prayer:
In Matthew 6:5-15 and Luke 11:2-4, Yehoshua offers a lesson regarding the proper way to approach the throne of our Father in heaven, and His example and teaching is truly worth studying. I believe it is important to note though, that in this teaching, He showed us how to pray, not what to pray, and the fact that His words differ between the passages of Matthew and Luke supports the fact that He taught on this subject frequently, and that He never meant for us to repeat Him endlessly. If you examine what He said in both passages, however, you will find His prayer to be one of petition, intercession, expectation and praise. What He told us was, “When you pray:”
Do not seek recognition from the world by praying before them (6:5).
Pray in secret to your Father (6:6).
Do not use meaningless repetition. Pray from your heart (6:7).
Do not seek your needs in panic; your Father knows these needs before you ask (6:8).
Pray unto the Father, acknowledge the Father in heaven. Praise, glorify and magnify Him (6:9).
Seek for the Father’s will – in heaven and on earth (6:10).
Present your petitions, making your requests known to Him (6:11).
Seek His forgiveness, just as you forgive all others (6:12).
Seek His deliverance from the attacks of evil, acknowledging His sovereignty in all things (6:13).
Forgive any (person/transgressor) their transgressions against you; otherwise your Father cannot forgive you (6:14-15).
If prayer is in fact communication with our Father in heaven, then we avoid chanting and meaningless repetition when we pray, because prayer offered unto Him changes with the burden of our heart. Yehoshua provided us with the shape of an effective prayer, not the substance. Scripture says, “I will be sanctified by those who come near Me” (Leviticus 10:3 ENB). Sincere DEESIS, ENTEUXIS, EUCHE and PROSEUCHE, treat Elohim as Holy. Furthermore, the Leviticus 10:3 passage enforces the fact that when we pray, we actually draw near to the throne of our Father. That fact alone places prayer in an entirely different realm than mere meditation.
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – And Effective Prayer?
Additionally, effective prayer is done before Elohim, not people. In Ecclesiastes 5:1-2 ENB, Scripture says, “Guard your steps as you go to the house of Elohim, and draw near to hear, rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they consider not that they do evil. Be not hasty with words, or let your heart be hasty to utter anything before Elohim. For Elohim is in heaven and you are upon the earth; therefore let your words be few.” It is acceptable to pray for, and in front of a group, but the prayer must always be “unto Elohim”, not as a show before mankind. Effective prayer; communion between Elohim and His child, is done in the privacy of the heart, and humble communications are not meant to attract attention, even when voiced before a crowd.
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – In HIS Presence:
Clearly then, we cannot run to the throne of our Father proclaiming our need, without first acknowledging HIS presence. And we should not run away when our initial thoughts are complete. I must tell you that the longer I walk with Yehoshua, the longer it takes to make any statement, other than praise and thanksgiving, when I enter His inner court. That is not a pompous remark, because at times, this discipline is tremendously burdensome to my natural self. Discipline does not always agree with our personality. Discipline is something that is required though; something that must be implemented regardless of personality. So, when I find myself running to our Father’s throne, I stop, quiet my thoughts, and remember exactly where I am, because as soon as I begin to pray, I know that through the shed blood of Yehoshua ha Mashiach, I am in the presence of our Father in heaven. That is an awesome revelation and responsibility!
The fact that we are in the very presence of our Heavenly Father, however, is an extremely difficult concept for many to grasp. If we lay hold of nothing else though, we must come to terms with the truth that when we pray, we are speaking to the Eternal Creator; the El of all that exists. The instant we call unto Him, we are spiritually in His presence, and our Holy Heavenly Father bends His ear to hear us. Amazingly, the moment an individual accepts Yehoshua as Master and Messiah, and invites Him into their heart, that individual has the authorization and authority to accomplish this feat!
Look what Scripture has to say on this issue:
“YEHOWAH is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29 ENB).
“Now we know that Elohim hears not sinners; but if anyone is a worshipper of Elohim, and does His will, them He hears” (John 9:31 ENB).
“Through Messiah YEHOSHUA our Master…we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him” (Ephesians 3:11-12 ENB).
“The eyes of Yehoshua are toward the righteous, and His ears are to their cry” (1 Peter 3:12 ENB).
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Yehoshua, by a new and living way, which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of Elohim, let us draw near with a truthful heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19-22 ENB).
Through faith in Yehoshua ha Mashiach, we enter into the Holy of Holies to make our presentations unto El our Father. We are clearly told, “When you pray, go into your inner chamber, and when you have closed your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6: 6 ENB). We cannot run to the throne, scream out our need, and run away after uttering, “Amen”. Nor can we merely approach Him in a meditative state. Our heavenly Father, and Yehoshua our Messiah, deserve and require much more.
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – Sprinkling HIS Blood:
Throughout the Old Covenant, whenever a priest entered the Holy of Holies, they always sprinkled the blood, the sacrifice of atonement (covering), upon the mercy seat of Elohim. They would have died had they failed to perform this act (Leviticus 16, for example). Inasmuch as the Blood of Yehoshua our Messiah is our atonement, without which we are dead in our sin, we too must enter the Holy of Holies sprinkling the Blood of the Lamb, because those who accept the Messiah as Master and Deliverer are called to be His priests. We are called to minister unto Him, just as the Old Covenant priests were instructed (See 2 Peter 2:4-12). Today, however, many find it revolting to discuss blood in this manner, and because we really do not understand the blood sacrifice any longer, this teaching of pleading and sprinkling the Blood has been lost. And, because this teaching has been lost, we find explanation as to why so many prayers go unanswered, and why so many do not really feel or believe that they are talking with the Father, through the Son, in The Holy Spirit.
Please do not misunderstand what I am saying, seeker. If a non-believer calls out to Elohim, Elohim certainly hears – and He may respond. If a non-believer calls out to Elohim in an attempt to find Him, seeing as it is His will that all would turn to Him, Elohim will certainly hear and respond in the appropriate manner. When an obedient and faithful Disciple of Yehoshua approaches the Father’s throne in Yehoshua’s Name, however, and pleads His Blood upon the mercy seat, Elohim always hears and responds! Do you see the differences here? Therefore, faith is paramount to effective prayer. We must believe that Elohim is everything He proclaims, in order to approach Him and please Him in our prayers. The prayer of faith does not doubt (Matthew 14:31, 21:21-22), but asks, knowing that our Father in Heaven hears; knowing that He responds to our properly motivated requests.
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – Applying Scripture in Prayer:
When you attempt to apply a particular passage of Scripture to your life, however, you must first discern precisely to whom the passage is speaking. You must know if the passage is in fact something you can claim for yourself or not. John 15:7-11, for instance, includes the words, “Ask whatever you will, and it will be done for you”. But to whom is Yehoshua speaking? He is talking to those who abide in Him, who have His Word abiding in them, and to those who keep His commandments. If we live according to this criterion, we are told to “ask whatever you will, and it will be done for you”. If you are not abiding in the fullness of these things though, it would be futile to personalize this promise. This is not the “name it and claim it” theology that is rampant today, either, because those who abide in Yehoshua, and His Word, and who follow His commands, are not concerned with naming and claiming anything for self. Asking according to Elohim’s will, and with proper motives, are integral factors to a prayer of faith. The name it and claim it teachers proclaim that if you want to earn a monumental salary, or anything else, you need only name the amount, claim its fulfillment in your life, begin to tithe a tenth of that sum in anticipation of its receipt, and it’s yours –
ELOHIM DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY, Satan DOES!
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – Law of Power & Proclamation:
There is a law of power and proclamation that must be upheld as we seek great things from Elohim, because Elohim ALWAYS answers His children who seek to glorify the Son. ALWAYS! (1 Corinthians 2:1-5, 4:19-20; 2 Corinthians 9:10-12, Philippians 1:19-20, are wonderful examples of this fact). The disciples of Yehoshua seek the things of Elohim, trusting Him to provide.
Satan, however, also has the authority to provide large salaries. If you don’t think so, just consider the fact that Satan offered Yehoshua all the worldly kingdoms if He would bow to him. Therefore, don’t be deceived into thinking that Satan will not entice and deceive many weak and faithless souls today, using this same tactic (in a variety of forms). The “name it and claim it” theology practiced today, by so many weak souls, is straight from Satan’s playbook, and the deceit is alluring, effective and extremely destructive!
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – “Thy Will Be Done”:
In truth, however, effective prayer seeks Elohim’s will at all cost. His will being done is paramount, but we must really consider what the statement, “Thy will be done”, means when we pray, because every time we utter those words, we are telling Elohim that whatever He needs to do with us; whatever He needs to do to our family, or our work, or our finances; whatever He needs to do in our lives in any area, necessary to accomplish His will, is acceptable and desirable to us. And, we are also telling Him that we wholeheartedly approve of whatever He needs to do – beforehand. As you read the Scriptures, therefore, search to know what the will of Elohim is for this world. Then, search to comprehend the lengths to which He has already gone to produce the outcome He desires. Prayer is truly where the rubber meets the road.
There are a vast number of things Elohim has told us to pray for, and they include: wisdom, knowledge, understanding, insight, tranquility and peace. We have also been instructed to pray for kings and those in authority; all mankind; deliverance from evil and temptation. Whenever we locate a passage that we can apply to ourselves, we can seek that thing from Elohim knowing that IT IS HIS WILL FOR US. Therefore, if we desire the Father’s will to be done, and He tells us to seek a particular thing, then we can ask for that thing knowing He wants us to have it. As a precaution, however, KNOW what it is you are considering asking for, to see whether you are spiritually prepared to receive it, because it may be costly.
Almost every aspiring disciple has asked Elohim for patience. Our Master wants us to be patient. Patience is a good thing. The lessons that teach patience, however, are difficult. We learn things through practice, and we become proficient at doing something after frequent and disciplined practice. Acquiring patience requires exposure to situations demanding patience, because knowledge demands involvement in the area of study. It is important, therefore, that you know exactly what you are seeking, because Elohim does answer prayer. And acquiring patience, for instance, can take decades of intense practical applications. Elohim answers prayer, and His time frame is limited only by the expanse of our lifetime!
Elsewhere Elohim says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through Elohim, to the pulling down of strong holds; destroying speculations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Messiah” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ENB). This passage is fundamental to praying in and for the will of Elohim, because every Disciple of Yehoshua is to stand united in prayer against every fortress raised up against the knowledge of Elohim. We are to unite in prayer against unrighteous governments which defy Elohim, against unrighteous laws which defy the laws of Elohim, and against unrighteous fortresses that perform acts in violation of the commands of Elohim. The weapons of our warfare are not of or for fleshly lusts though, because they are divinely powerful, “for the destruction of fortresses”. Such is the power of prayer!
The prayer life that accomplishes great things is also a life dedicated to prayer. It is with thanksgiving (Psalms 107; Colossians 4:2; 1 Timothy 2:1; Romans 12:12) that the true prayer warrior humbly bows to the throne of our Father, through His Son, in His Holy Spirit, and prays at all times (1 Timothy 5:5; Psalms 5: 1-7, 88:1, 88:9, 141:2; Acts 3:1, 10:9). While victory on the spiritual battlefield comes through Yehoshua alone, as children of the living Elohim, we have the opportunity, authority and obligation to approach our Father in the name of Yehoshua, and intercede on behalf of our loved ones (and enemies as well) who do not know Him. I believe our eternal memories will be plagued with thoughts of these lost souls if we fail to fight this battle. This fact alone, which places prayer on a life and death level, truly does elevate prayer to an entirely different level than meditation.
Furthermore, effective prayer is offered “unto Elohim” by a forgiving child. The importance of forgiveness is such that Yehoshua reiterated this fact in His teaching in Matthew 6. Our Heavenly Father cannot forgive us unless we forgive those who have harmed us. Furthermore, our Father in Heaven cannot answer our prayers until we eliminate hatred, anger and judgmentalism from our life. The impact of these matters on prayer is immense, and the issues of forgiveness and judgmentalism are at the very heart of your concern for those who have died without the saving knowledge of Yehoshua ha Mashiach.
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – Upon what then are we Judged?
Many of the faithful believe that humanity will be judged by what they, mankind, do with regard to YEHOSHUA during their lifetime. This is only partially true, however, for those who have heard the Gospel (Good News about Yehoshua). But what about those who have never heard about Yehoshua? How can they be judged on their knowledge of someone or something of which they never had any knowledge? While the disciples are rewarded on the basis of their faith in, and obedience to, Yehoshua. Those who do not know Him, or who have never heard of Him, are not! If a person never hears about the Messiah, or never receives an outpouring of Elohim’s grace, which alone produces faith in YEHOSHUA, then that person cannot be judged on their acceptance or denial of Him. A disciple avoids judgment by accepting the sacrifice that Yehoshua has offered for their sin, but those who have never heard of Yehoshua cannot be judged on their acceptance or rejection of Him. If mankind cannot accept Yehoshua without Elohim’s grace, and if judgment is based upon the acceptance or rejection of Yehoshua alone, then the deck is stacked, and Elohim appears unfair. But Elohim is not unfair!
Humanity asks, “How can Elohim judge me when I do not believe in Him? If by the grace of Elohim alone mankind believes in Yehoshua, and if Elohim never poured His grace upon me, so I could believe in Yehoshua, on what grounds am I to be judged?” Or, “How can Elohim judge me on the basis of faith in the Messiah, if I have never heard of the Messiah in the first place? These are fair questions. Listen to His answer:
“According to their way I will deal with them, and by their judgments I will judge them” (Ezekiel 7:27 ENB).
“As you have done, it will be done to you. Your recompense will return on your own head” (Obadiyeh 1:15 ENB).
“Judge not, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:1-2 ENB).
“Every useless word that any person shall speak, they will give an accounting for it on the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37 ENB).
“Therefore you are inexcusable, O people, whosoever you are that judges, for in whatever you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge do the same things” (Romans 2:1 ENB).
Imagine this scenario: The instant we are born, an angel is appointed to record every word that proceeds from our mouth, every thought we entertain, and every act we perform. This is not a guardian, because this angel’s role is purely observatory, and his purpose is strictly to record. As our life proceeds, every moral decision and judgment we make is noted, as well as the punishments we decree appropriate for any given act (which we might consider to be a sin). On judgment day, the recording angel begins to read every deed of our life, and as the reading proceeds, every moral judgment and punishment, which we have declared appropriate, is read. Then comparisons are made against our own life’s deeds.
A second angel points to a time when we judged a person for lying, and then notes every occasion where we lied. The second angel reports where we stole something, and then points to our judgments against those who were caught in the act of steeling. The reporting and comparison covers every event of our life, and IF WE VIOLATE ONLY ONE OF OUR OWN JUDGMENTS, WE ARE GUILTY BEFORE Elohim! “For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet offends one, they are guilty of all” (James 2:10 ENB). Mankind, therefore, is judged by their own judgments! In accepting Yehoshua, and in obediently following His commands, we are free from the judgment of our own unrighteousness, and clean from the stains of our sin. His blood makes the ledgers unreadable. Without Him we are judged by our own declarations. With Him, however, we have deliverance thru His sacrifice. We have deliverance through His shed blood!
I realize how simple this sounds, dear friend, but it is just that simplicity which makes the Gospel so hard for some to accept. The entire plan of salvation is simple: Live righteously and judge not, lest you be judged. Otherwise, cling to the cross of Messiah, because without Him you are dead on the basis of your own words and deeds. “For they will have judgment without mercy, who show no mercy; and mercy rejoices against judgment” (James 2:13 ENB).
And the seeming burden you carry for those who do not know the Messiah, becomes part and parcel of your walk with Elohim. If you can accept Yehoshua as your personal Master and Messiah, then you begin your walk with Him carrying a love and compassion for others, which He will permit you to use for His glory (See Romans 10). Please remember, however, that the vast majority of souls ever to live have heard of Jesus Christ. The Name, Yehoshua, may be new to many, but salvation thru Jesus Christ is well over 2,100 years in the preaching.
Of significant note, however, is the fact that the population of the world today exceeds the number of people who have lived throughout history. Couple that with the fact that the Messiah has already been taught for two thousand years, and we come to the conclusion that the vast majority of ALL civilization has some level of knowledge of Him. Therefore, we must concern ourselves with those alive today. My concern begins with you!
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – Only THRU YEHOSHUA!
Yehoshua said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6 ENB). Elsewhere, Scripture adds, “Whoever calls upon the name of Yehoshua will be saved” (Yehel 2:32 & Romans 10:13). In all of these things, we find a KING of Mercy enthroned in heaven; a King Who seeks for every one of His children to turn to Him. We must never forget that Elohim alone (in the Person of His Holy Spirit) knows the heart and mind of any person, and He alone is capable of the righteous judgment of every soul. I can only hope that in the sight of these things, you can see that the seeming burden you carry for the lost is one that He also carries. His load is such, however, that, “Elohim so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16 ENB).
Those who have received mercy must begin to extend that mercy to others. If we have found forgiveness through Yehoshua, we must also forgive others. Yehoshua presented a great teaching about forgiveness in Matthew 18:15-35, and the reality and application of this parable is for the believer and non-believer alike, because, “Mercy triumphs over judgment”. If we are unwilling to forgive those who have violated us, we should not expect our Father in Heaven to forgive us for our violating Him. Our Father in Heaven hears His children, and His children will seek for the lost. That is a primary function of the EKKLESIA.
And by the way, this discussion on judging and forgiveness is not speaking about discerning of spirits, or punishment for wrongs committed, because Scripture says, “On the testimony of two witnesses or three witnesses, they who are to die shall be put to death” (Deuteronomy 17:6 ENB). We cannot tolerate lawlessness in our society, and we must be able to rightly judge the acts and deeds of others. Moral judgment is another matter though, and withholding forgiveness is against the law of liberty in Yehoshua ha Mashiach. Nevertheless, humans are responsible for their actions, and if those actions violate the laws of Elohim, then the violators must be punished.
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – The Accomplishing Prayer:
The prayer that accomplishes much before Elohim also acknowledges His sovereignty. He performs evil to the evil, and He confirms the word of His servant, performing the purpose of His messengers (Isaiyeh 44:24-26). Elohim alone rules, and when we delight in His Mastership, He responds to our requests (Psalms 37:3-7).
At the same time though, there are numerous things that hinder our prayers, and it is important that we know these too, because, “Those that shut their ears to the cries of the poor, will also cry themselves, and not be answered” (Proverbs 21:13 ENB). Elsewhere we are told that, Yehoshua will not hear those who regard wickedness (Psalms 66:16-20); that sin causes a separation from Elohim (Isaiyeh 59:1-2); that idolatry turns His ear away (Ezekiel 14:1-3) and lustful and improper motives are certain to prove futile and disruptive to our prayer life (James 4:2-3). And, if we deal treacherously with our spouse, our prayers will be adversely affected as well (Malachi 2:14-16; 1 Peter 3:1-7). In all these things, therefore, we must acknowledge that confession is essential to healing (Daniel 9:3-19).
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – Head Coverings?
Another area of potential hindrance deals with the issue of head coverings (See 1 Corinthians 11:2-16). This matter is controversial, to say the least, and it reeks with the potential for judgmentalism and religion. Simply put, Scripture says that men are not to cover their heads while praying or prophesying (11:4 & 7), and long hair (womanly) is a disgrace for men (11:14). Furthermore, if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut short, or her head shaved – and it is in some societies, then the women living in those societies must cover their heads when they pray or prophesy, and should grow their hair (11:5-6). Otherwise, their long hair covers women living in many societies. If short hair or a shaved head is not a disgrace, however, she is not disgraced if her head is uncovered. According to Scripture though, a man praying or prophesying with his head covered, or with womanly hair, always disgraces his head.
1 Corinthians 11:10 is a key to women and head coverings though, because Scripture says, “The woman ought to have authority on her head because of the angels.” We know that a great deal has happened throughout history because of the angels (Galatians 3:19; Genesis 6:2-4 & Jude 1:6 are perfect examples). And because each sex has a particular set of responsibilities, somehow, spiritually speaking, the angels are affected whenever an obedient woman covers her head while praying or prophesying. Whether the angels become beneficiaries of this submissive covering, or whether the woman’s relationship to the angels, now or eternally, is affected by her covering, I do not know. What I believe to be true though, is that there is a cause and effect occurrence whenever a woman faithfully covers her head while praying or prophesying.
A woman in the United States, for instance, is not disgraced by having her head uncovered when she prays or prophesies, because it is not shameful in that culture for her to wear her hair short or shaved. But what do you do with the angels? While it is not a disgrace, I think it would be beneficial for all women to wear a head covering when they pray and prophesy. Why? Spiritual submission, on account of the angels. The same angels watching our behavior today will be subordinate to us in the Kingdom of Elohim. Can women, praying or prophesying with a head covering, have an impact on angels or on their personal relationship with the angels, now or in the future? Possibly! We are not provided with a clear answer in Scripture, so head coverings, for women, is not an issue over which the EKKLESIA is to be divided. It is clear, however, that this is a spiritual matter, and one that women must settle individually with their Master and King.
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – Praying Thru and To:
There is another matter though, of whom we pray through and to, that really does need clarification, because nowhere in Scripture are we taught to pray to anyone other than the Father. Yehoshua always points to the Father, and The Holy Spirit leads us to the Father through Yehoshua the Son, as our sole provider. One form of idolatry, therefore, is praying to the Father through anyone other than the Son, because this defiles the Son. Sadly, many practice idolatry today by praying to a ‘saint’, or to Yehoshua’s mother, Mary. The Scriptures are inescapable on this issue though, and this practice is condemned.
The Word says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous soul avails much” (James 5:16 ENB), but have you ever heard people use the word, “just” while they pray? Every time the word “just” is uttered, it effectively binds every request that we make, and may very well limit our Father’s response to us. The word, “just”, means, “to the exact point; exactly; precisely; no more than”. When used in prayer, “just” is like telling our Father not to do any more than what is requested. We “just” ask for a healing, or we “just” seek a job for an unemployed brother or sister. While Father may wish to open the floodgates of heaven to us in a magnificent and miraculous way, we “just” want what we are asking for. Our prayers can restrict Him!
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – “In The Spirit”:
As we avoid the hindrances to prayer, it is equally important that we learn how to pray, “in The Spirit”, because we are commanded to, “pray at all times in The Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18-20). Romans 8:26-27 says that The Spirit intercedes for us, and this is fundamental to understanding praying, “In The Spirit”. When we pray, we need to ask The Holy Spirit to come to the forefront of our thoughts and take control. Our Father will not usurp our rule of our life – we must surrender it. If we ask Him to take control of a situation, knowing it is His will – He will take control. He has said that we are to pray at all times, “In The Spirit”; so asking The Holy Spirit to intercede in our prayer is according to the will of our Father.
When we ask, The Holy Spirit will guide us to the throne of our Father in Heaven, in the name of Yehoshua, and will help us in our praise, confession, thanksgiving and requests. In other words, The Holy Spirit will come alongside – each one of us, and guide us as we pray. From the moment we begin speaking to The Holy Spirit though, we must make an effort to acceptably present ourselves, and as we approach the throne, we must be aware of the presence of our heavenly Father, because effective prayer literally places us in His presence.
Once at the throne of our Father, we are free to discuss every burden of our heart. We can pray for the spiritual and provisional well being of our family and friends, as well as for those with whom we are in ministry, or ministering to. We can pray for our country and political leaders, or for our work and those with whom we work. We can also lift up those brethren and ministries that are trying to glorify Yehoshua ha Mashiach in this world.
While I personally pray for those involved in the fight against abortion, as well as for those caring for orphans, widows, the poor and for the sanctity of marriage and the family, I especially pray for the EKKLESIA (The Church). I am burdened for the EKKLESIA and the discipleship process. With all of my heart I believe that we are approaching the absolute end of this age, and I fear that the EKKLESIA is still ill prepared. Although I acknowledge Elohim’s ultimate sovereignty in these matters, and although I believe that everything happens according to His timing and will, I am burdened for the Church! My greatest fear is that too many of us will not hear, “Well done”, because of our lack of faith! The harvest draws near, as does the return of our Messiah, and I pray for His bride – that she will be prepared for Him. I also pray that these letters will be helpful to you, and I am thankful for the opportunity to assist in your search.
As we pray, we are also free to pray against unrighteousness and every fortress that stands against Elohim. We are free to express our dismay over political, social and economic matters. Righteous indignation is as much a part of Elohim as love and mercy, and zeal for His Word must also consume us (Psalms 119:139). Additionally, as we make requests of our Father, we must not fear raising a matter repeatedly. Elohim wants us to be persistent. Luke 11:5-13 contains a teaching from Yehoshua about persistence in prayer, and while some think that repeating a request is begging, and others feel it represents a lack of faith, Yehoshua’s teachings show that persistence is neither of these. Determination greatly affects our prayer life, and when we seek something from our Father, it is not only acceptable to ask more than once – it is encouraged. Faith is encouraged by determination, and is heightened by persistence and expectation. If The Holy Spirit places a burden on your heart, leading you to discuss a matter with our Father, then by all means, discuss it! Tell Him what you need and why, because in so doing you acknowledge His sovereignty and dominion; you bless His Mastership!
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – Answers:
You also need to know that when we ask for something, Elohim frequently tells us to wait. While we may have the burden, we may not be prepared for the work required to fulfill the need. Further, the absolute timing may not be right for the fulfillment of our request. Praying for something opens our heart to His lead though, and while we are waiting, our anticipation and expectation increase. If we pray “in The Spirit” and faithfully seek His leading, The Spirit will remind us of our life purpose, remind us of our special requests, and encourage us to present our requests repeatedly. We must learn to enjoy our periods of waiting though, because sometimes, the joy of expectation exceeds the toil and demands of duty.
Additionally, it is possible for us to ask for something that is totally against His will, in which case His immediate response will be, “NO!” We must accept His answer without moaning. When our personal agenda conflicts with the Father’s will, He will usually give us a negative reply. (See Isaiyeh 55:8). Remember though, even the greatest prayer warriors can be distracted by pressing personal needs (See the Prophet Eliyeh, 1 Kings 18-19). Unlike human parents though, who may say no without a reason, our Heavenly Father always has a purpose for a negative response. This is why faith is so important.
Letter 2: Prayer, Judgmentalism & Forgiveness – Adding the AMEN!
And, our “Amen” is important too. The Holy Spirit addresses the nature of this in Malachi 1:10, where He says, “Who is there even among you that will shut the doors, and not kindle fire on My alter for nothing? I have no pleasure with you,” says YEHOWAH of hosts, “and I will not accept a gift from your hand” (ENB). We must say “Amen” when we finish praying, because our “Amen” is the “so be it” to our request. Our Amen respectfully tells Elohim that we are turning our thoughts elsewhere, and allows us to depart from His presence.
While most of us do not hear a booming voice speaking to us when we pray, The Holy Spirit does communicate with us. The voice I hear is usually contained in my thoughts and impressions, and as the day proceeds, I dwell on what was imparted, praise Him for His guidance and love, and seek for the next time I am able to approach Him in a sustained period of prayer.
In Isaiyeh 37:1-35, we are given a type of prayer (vs.1-5), an answer (vs. 6-7), Satan placing doubt (vs. 8-13), a follow-up prayer (vs. 14-20), and a final response (vs. 21- 35). Even though Satan will do whatever he can to minimize our prayer experience, The Holy Spirit will, if we permit, teach us how to fight the fight at this level too. Satan can invade our innermost thoughts, however, but knowing that he has this capacity should make us all the more careful in what we say.
Our ability to pray “unto Elohim” is a tremendous gift; a gift to use and to protect. There is no set time for appropriate prayer, but we must make time to consistently offer ourselves unto Elohim as we individually determine what is acceptable and sufficient. Here too though, The Holy Spirit will guide us, because we must devote ample time to be with Yehoshua.
While prayer, judgmentalism and forgiveness are very personal, obedience to Elohim in these areas is monumental in affect. If just one of Elohim’s Prophets prayed that it would not rain, and it did not rain for six months, and then prayed for rain and it rained, the prayers of a united body of Messiah will produce the latter rains of Elohim’s grace, and the lost souls that seemingly burden your heart, will turn to Yehoshua for their deliverance. Such is my prayer for you. The harvest approaches, and a miraculous outpouring of Elohim’s grace will soon be upon us. Keep searching, seeker, because Elohim can easily be found.
I remain faithfully yours in Yehoshua our Messiah,
Letter 2 Topical Concordance:
Old Covenant: Genesis 13(all), 15:6, 22(all), 24(all); 1 Samuel 2:30, 14:6-15, 17:20-58, 26:23; Job 16:18-22, 19:25-27; Psalms 25:1-3, 73:1, 89:14, 107(all), 115(all), 119(all), 125(all); Proverbs 10&11, 21:21; Isaiyeh 3:10-11, 55(all); Jeremiyeh 22:15-16; Ezekiel 18:4-9; Daniel 3(all); Amos 5:21-24; Habakkuk 3:17-19.
New Covenant: Matthew 17:14-21, 21:21-22; Mark 4:39-40, 5:25-43, 9:23, 10:52; 11:22-26; Luke 7:50, 17:6-10, 18:7-8; John 11:21-41; Acts 3:16, 18:27, 26:18; Romans 1:5, 1:17, 3:22-28, 4:4-5, 4:21, 8:10, 8:15, 8:24-25, 9:30-32, 10:9-10, 10:17, 12:3-6; 1 Corinthians 2:5, 13:1-3, 13:13; 2 Corinthians 8:12, 13:5; Galatians 2:16-21, 3:7-14, 5:6; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:9; Colossians 2:5-7, 3:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:3, 2:13; 1 Timothy 1:5, 5:12; 2 Timothy 1:12, 3:15-16, 4:8; Philemon 1:6; Hebrews 2:16, 3:19-4:11, 6:12, 10:19-25, 10:39, 11(all), 12:2; James 1:2-8, 1:27, 2:14-26, 5:13-16; 1 Peter 1:5-9; 2 Peter 1:1; 1 John 5:4-5; Jude 1:20, Revelation (all) see 2-3.
Old Covenant: Genesis 45, 50:17-21; Psalms 25:6-7, 32:1-7, 79:8-13, 103 & 130(all); Isaiyeh 44:21-23, 65:17; Jeremiyeh (all), 31:34; Jonah (all); Zechariyeh 3(all).
New Covenant: Matthew 6:14-15,23-24, 16:19, 18:15-35; Mark 4:24-25, 11:25-26; Luke 7:47, 17:3-10; John 5:14; Acts 7:59-60, 26:18; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 2:6-11; Colossians 1:19-22, 2:13-15; 1 Timothy 1:12-16; Hebrews 8:12, 9:22, 10:17.
Old Covenant: Genesis 13(all – to be compared with the results of 2 Peter 2:7-8), 50:17-21; Deuteronomy 1:17; 1 Samuel 16:7; Psalms 9:15-16, 17:1-5; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Ezra 7:27; Obadiyeh 1:15.
New Covenant: Matthew 6:14-15, 7:1-6, 12:36-37, 18:21-34; Mark 4:24-25, 7:15; Luke 6:37-38, 12:3, 16:15-17; John 7:24; Acts 10:28; Romans 2:1-8, 9:18, 10:5-10, 14:1-23; 1 Corinthians 4:5, 5:12; Galatians 6:1-5; Colossians 2:16-17; James 2:2-13, 4:11-12, 5:9,19-20.
Old Covenant: Exodus (all), Deuteronomy. 1:17, 18:17-22; Job (all) see, 7:9-10, 10:21-22; Psalms 1(all), 5:8-10, 9:7-20, 18:25-29, 19:9, 28:4-5, 50(all), 52(all), 58(all), 59:1-15, 68(all), 74-75(all), 82-83(all), 92:6-9, 98:7-9, 119(all); Proverbs 1:24-33, 21:2; Ecclesiastes (all) see, 12:13-14; Isaiyeh (all) see, 3:10-15, 24, 28:23-29, 29:5, 66:15-16; Jeremiyeh (all) see, 25:30-38; Ezekiel 20:33-44; Daniel 7:9-14; Hosea (all); Joel (all), Obadiyeh 1:15; Malachi 3-4(all).
New Covenant: Matthew 7:1, 12:36-37, 13:24-40, 13:47-49, 16:27, 25:31-46; Luke 12:2-3, 19:27; John 3:18-21, 5:21-29, 9:39; Acts 13:46, 17:30-31, 24:25; Romans 12:3; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12; Hebrews 2:2-3, 9:27, 10:26-27; 1 Peter 1:17, 4:45; 2 Peter 2:4-19, 1 John 4 (all); Jude 1:10; Revelation 11:18, 20, 22:12.
Old Covenant: Exodus 25(all); Psalms (all); Proverbs (all), Isaiyeh 63:9; Micah 6:8.
New Covenant: Matthew 5:7, 23:23; Luke 6:36, 9:22-24; Romans 9(all), 12:8; Colossians 3:12-13; Hebrews 9:5; James 2:13; 1 Peter 1:3-2:10.
Old Covenant: Leviticus 10:3,9; Psalms 5:1-7, 18:6, 27:7-10, 28(all), 33:1-3, 37:3-7, 65(all), 88(all), 102(all), 116:1-2, 123(all), 141(all) ,142(all), 145(all); Proverbs 15:8,29; Ecclesiastes 5:1-3; Isaiyeh 37:1-35, 44:24-26; Daniel (all); Malachi 1:10.
New Covenant: Matthew 6:5-13; Luke 11:9; John 9:312, 10:1-18, 15:7-17, 16:23-28; Acts 10 (all), 12:5, 21:5; Romans 12:12; 1 Corinthians 11:2-16; Philippians 4:4-6; Colossians 4:2,12; 1 Timothy 2:1,8, 4:4-5, 5:5; Philemon 1:22; Hebrews 5:7; 1 Peter 4:7; Revelation 8:3.
Prayer, Things we are commanded to pray for:
Old Covenant: 1 Samuel 12:19; Ezra 6:10; Psalms 29:1-2, 32:6, 72:15, 122:6; Jeremiyeh 29:7.
New Covenant: Matthew 5:44-48, 6:5-18, 9:38, 24:20; Mark 13:18, 14:35-38; Luke 6:27-28, 22:40,46; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, 13:9; Romans 15:30-31; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 1:19, 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2,11; 1 Timothy 2:1-3,8; James 5:13-18; 1 John 5:16.
Prayer, Things we are not to pray for:
Jeremiyeh 11:14, 14:11.
Prayer, and the Virgin Mary:
Old Covenant: Exodus 20:2-3, 20:4-6
New Covenant: Matthew 1:18-25, 12:46-50, 13:53-56, 27:56; Mark 3:21, 16:1; Luke 1:26-38, 2:7, 4:22; John 2:12, 6:42, 7:3-10; Acts 1:14, 12:2,17; 1 Corinthians 9:5; Jude 1:1.
Old Covenant: Psalms 37:3-7, 116:1-2; Isaiyeh 44:24-26.
New Covenant: Colossians 4:2; 1 Timothy 2:1-8; James 5:13-18.
Praying with authority and confidence:
New Covenant: Matthew 6:23-24, 18:18-20, 22:37-40, 25:14-30; Mark 11:22-24; Luke 10:19-20; John 8:29, 14:13-14, 15:7-11, 16:23-24; Acts 12:5, 13:9-11; 1 Corinthians 4:14-16, 11:1-10, 13-16(all); 2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 3:11-12, 5:1-2,8-16; Colossians 3:17, 1 Timothy 2:8; Hebrews 6:9-12, 10:19-25; James 4:2-3; 1 Peter 3:7,12; 1 John 3:21-24, 5:14-15.
Praying with faith:
Old Covenant: Psalms 4:1, 7:6-12, 34(all), 37:4-5.
New Covenant: Matthew 7:7-11, 8:13,26-27, 14:31, 17:20, 18:18-20, 21:18-22; Mark 11:21-26; John 11:40, 14:12-15, 15:7-11; Acts 12:5; Romans 8:26-27, 15:30; 2 Corinthians 1:20; Ephesians 2:18,6:12; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; Hebrews 10:19-22; James 1:5-8, 4:2-3, 5:13-18; 1 John 5:1-2,14-16.
Old Covenant: Psalms 66:16-20; Proverbs 21:13; Isaiyeh 59:1-2; Ezekiel 14:1-3,6; Daniel 9:3-19; Malachi 2:14-16.
New Covenant: Matthew 5:23-24; Mark 11:25-26; Luke 6:38; 1 Corinthians 10:31, 11:2-16; James 4:2-3; 1 Peter 3:1-7.
Praying in The Holy Spirit:
New Covenant: Mark 11:22-26; John 14:13-17; Acts 2:42, 5:32; Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 5:18-21, 6:18-20; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 11:6; James 2:19; Jude 20.
Praying with persistence:
Old Covenant: Psalms 85(all).
New Covenant: Luke 11:5-13, 18:1-8; Acts 2:1-4,14,41-42, 3:1, 4(all), 10:9, 12:5, 16:23-25; Romans 10:14-15; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Timothy 5:5.
Praying with power, in Yehoshua’s Name:
Old Covenant: Deuteronomy 18:15-19; 1 Samuel 17:26,46-47; 2 Kings 6:18; Psalms 149(all).
New Covenant: Matthew 8:5-13, 28:18; Mark 9:29, 11:22-26; Luke 5:17; John 5:43, 14:12-14, 15:7-11; Acts 1:14, 2:42, 3:16, 4:10,31, 6:4, 12:5-12, 13:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; 2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 6:18-20; 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13; James 1:6-8, 4:2-3, 5:13-16; 1 John 3:18-22, 5:16.
Praying with proper motives:
Old Covenant: Job 42:10.
New Covenant: Matthew 6:5-8; Mark 11:25-26; John 14:12-15, 15:7-11; James 4:2-3.
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