Prayer

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by Joshuastone7, Jan 25, 2021.

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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Well, here's an interesting question that I don't hear your thoughts on.

    Is it okay to talk to Jehovah without actual prayer? What I'm referring to is just a passing statement, not a conversation.

    Now, if you feel that would be inappropriate, how about a passing statement to Jesus? For that matter, would it be appropriate to speak to Jesus at all? Obviously, this is a question only for a non-trinitarian, but none the less, I actually don't know the answer to it.

    Usually, I would do a little more research before posting, but I'd like to know your guy's opinions.

    Thanks...
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Now that I'm starting to think about this, I have another question. Why do we close or eyes in prayer? There is nothing in Scripture to say it's a necessity...

    Maybe that's a partial answer to my first post. If you could pray with your eyes open sometimes, why couldn't you speak to Jehovah anytime?

    I don't know why I hadn't given this subject much thought before. I have quiet literally never said a prayer with my eyes open in my life!

    BTW, a couple of decades ago I did ask an elder if it was okay to speak to Jesus and he told me it would be inappropriate. Interested in your thoughts...
     
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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    This is a subject that Deb and I have talked about from time to time; what were the thoughts of your wife when you two have discussed it?

    For us, we agree that it matters not one's physical posture, but rather the posture of our heart before our Heavenly Father.

    As I presently understand, prayer is our conversation with Jehovah— whether formal (which I think is what you are referring to as "actual prayer") or informal. The conversation doesn't seem to require spoken words, for there are times when my thought speaks to Him instead, conveying thankfulness, appreciation, or pretty much anything else on any given day, in any given activity or goings-on.

    You go on to ask, "[H]ow about a passing statement to Jesus? For that matter, would it be appropriate to speak to Jesus at all? Obviously, this is a question only for a non-trinitarian, but none the less, I actually don't know the answer to it. "

    It wasn't until my association with the Watchtower that I ever felt it inappropriate to [speak] to Jesus.

    Maybe it was because of not wanting to appear like those in Christendom (which I finally came to realize the Watchtower is just as much a part of in spite of their fervent denial). Trinitarians, I believed, prayed to Jesus, and since they believe Jesus is part of a Trinity, it's like praying to the Father when they prayed to Jesus. Or something along those lines, anyhow. Thus, praying to Jesus was inappropriate and Trinitarian-like.

    It wasn't until I began to ruminate over scriptures such as—

    Whenever two or three of you come together in my name, I am there with you. — Matthew 18:20 Contemporary English Version

    —that I began to reason differently.

    To wit: what sense is there to be found in you and me standing together, discussing a matter of scriptural import, and @Jinnvisible comes up, joins us, and we ignore him, never including him in our conversation or speaking to him?

    Or this scripture—

    If you will ask anything in my name, I will do it. —John 14:14 World English Bible

    [Full disclosure: For better or worse, some translations, including the New World Translation, omit the "me" in this passage.]

    The apostle Paul declared Jesus as our High Priest, our Mediator. If we go before a judge, and have a mediator there in our behalf, do we not speak to that mediator as our case is brought before the court? Likewise, the High Priest would handle communications between the individual (or nation) and God Himself— which, logically, required that the High Priest personally be aware of what needed to be conveyed, which implies that the individual or nation makes such things known to the High Priest so that he could convey.

    But as a believer not under the Trinitarian teaching, I also must distinguish when a matter is rightfully brought before the Father [a heavenly blessing to be able to do and a matter I may be returning to as I address the questions you raise in the Preterism vs Dispensationalism discussion] and when it's something I approach Jesus on. Even so, I recognize that the Father has appointed the Son with authority over all things, so those things fall under Jesus' jurisdiction and thus it is appropriate to bring said matters to him.

    You wrote: "Why do we close or eyes in prayer? There is nothing in Scripture to say it's a necessity..."

    There are times when I close my eyes for prayer. It doesn't feel natural nor appropriate for Deb and I to sit down to dinner and offer up a prayer of thanks while leering at the food set before us, or looking at her. Closing my eyes isn't demanded or required, but it does help minimize external distractions which can interfere with my thoughts as I approach our heavenly Father in behalf of my wife and myself.

    And, admittedly, there have been numerous times when I would be praying at night and fall asleep before getting to the Amen. Does God reject these prayers/conversations because I didn't say Amen or get to the end of what I was rambling on about in that instance? I can find no scriptural evidence that says that, yes, Jehovah rejects a prayer that doesn't end with "Amen" or "...in Jesus' name."

    Finally, when it comes to one's physical posture when one prays I offer the following for brevity's sake (It's already 6am here!!!):

    Standing — Genesis 24:12-14
    Bowing down — Exodus 34:8
    Sitting — Judges 20:26
    Placing the head between the knees — 1 Kings 18:42
    Facing the temple — Daniel 6:10
    Kneeling — Mark 1:40
    Pounding on the breast — Luke 18:13
    Looking upward — John 17:1
    Lifting the hands — 1 Timothy 2:8

    Okay, gotta run...

    —Timothy
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Tell me, how do you take Jesus' words here? "Our Father in heaven," Mth 6:9

    I am assuming you don't believe Jesus was saying only pray to the Father? Please explain...

    Thanks...

    :)
     
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    Timothy Kline

    Timothy Kline New Member

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    _________

    Astute question!

    Let's start with the context of what Jesus was instructing:

    "Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They've got their reward! But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

    "When you pray, don't babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they'll be heard for their many words. Don't be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.

    "Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. [ For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]"
    —Matthew 6:5-13 Holman Christian Standard Bible

    Jesus is here establishing that our prayers be directed to the Father and the manner in which we offer such prayers— not as the hypocrites and idolaters. On this, I'm confident we both stand in agreement.

    We likely also agree that although Jesus provided this as a model prayer, we do not take it to be a formulaic prayer, although it has been ritualized among many believers today who repeat the model prayer verbatim as their petition to the Father and print it on wall hangings, etc.

    Jesus said to pray like this, or after this manner. That means that although the (template) is "Give us today our daily bread," surely we're not condemned for asking that He provide us today our daily water as well, right?

    In any event, we are to bring our petitions to the Father— a privilege, mind you, that was purchased for us at great cost to Jehovah, that we might once again have the fellowship with Him that had been lost since Adam's disobedience in the garden of Eden— as confirmed by the casting down of the curtain that separated God's people from the Holy of Holies in the Temple upon Jesus' final exhalation of life.

    Does the above rule out ever petitioning Jesus, however?

    If we are not to petition/pray to Jesus at all, then the first follower of Jesus to be martyred sinned/missed the mark, for the account in the Acts reads:

    And they went on casting stones at Stephen as he made appeal and said: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." --Acts 7:59 NWT

    According to Ecclesiastes 12:7, our spirit returns to the Father upon our death, so why would Stephen petition or appeal (NWT) to Jesus to receive that which rightfully and truly returns to the Father?

    I'll speculate here and say that it was because of Stephen's deep humility before God. Even in the throes of his brutal martyrdom, Stephen viewed himself as unworthy/undeserving before as Holy a God as we serve, to the point that he called upon Jesus as his mediator before God to receive the very spirit he knew would return to God. (Cf Luke 18:13-14)

    Building on this, I'll speculate further and say that since Jesus is our High Priest and mediator (Hebrews 4:14-16), it seems appropriate for us to approach our heavenly Father through Jesus when we have sinned, especially, or are feeling unworthy to approach Jehovah's lofty throne— not that our Father is ever very far away from us (Acts 17:27), but we can feel as though He is because of the law that is at work in our members, as the apostle Paul described the ongoing battle between our carnal nature and the spiritual nature. (Romans 7:23; Cf Genesis 3:9-10)

    But as I said, I'm speculating.

    Submitted for perusal and consideration,
    Timothy
     
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    Jinnvisible

    Jinnvisible Experienced Member

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    Brilliant to read, bright sparks and sun rays.

    .
     
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    Jinnvisible

    Jinnvisible Experienced Member

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    The shortest scripture, I am aware of. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 'Pray incessantly.'

    (1 Thessalonians 5:16 Always be rejoicing )

    Moses is an interesting juxtapose. He speaks to Jehovah directly [in the tent of meeting ect.] Rather than praying to God as if he is remote. Whereas Jesus prays more like us. This sometmes makes it seem as if Moses had a closer communion. I wondered about this, If Jesus and Jehovah entered into a certain way of communicating, in a way that would benefit us rather than a way that would be most satisfying for them. This might seem rather pre-constructed, although Jesus being born as a man was exactly this. A pre-construed plan of purposely situating Jesus in a more remote circumstance relevant to Jehovah.

    An element we have a tendancy to overlook is 'ceremony'.

    The watchtower has purposely avoided much of the theatrical trappings of church, cathedral & robe. However this is different to 'ceremony'. If a carpenter puts on a suit and tie to go into the ministry or to the kingdom hall that is a ceremony, and he is in ceremonial clothing. Might not think of it that way, but its a ceremony of formal attire.. Wheras if an office worker does the same it may not be a ceremony (as there is no pre amble or change to the activity). In general terms ceremony isnt neccesarily spiritual by default. 'Employee of the month award ceremony', 'High School graduation ceremony'. We mostly all have various routine ceremonial attitudes to things. Especially if a person engages in activities which require a specific mental attitude such as fitness, sport, playing a musical instrument. Writting or possibly even cooking. A warm up to an excersize routine can become a ceremony, playing scales on an isntrument can become a ceremony before playing. Perhaps even sharpening a blade to shave a customer for a hairdresser. A preamble to an event that inevitably ushers in a state of mind revelant to the main activity. People have varying feelings, responces and strength of feeling to such things.

    Temple worship for the Jews had ceremonial attributes, in the same way that 'sabbatical thinking' or (pause for thought) exists for Christians although the ceremonial 'sabbath' isnt relevant.

    People might engage in ceremonial prayer when they put thier hands together, close thier eyes, kneel ect. This is personal. Yet prayer isnt 'always' ceremonial. If you consider the scripture 1 Thessalonians 5:17 'Pray incessantly. If a person was encouraged to pray all the time in a ceremonial fashion then they would need to close thier eyes so they could pray whilst driving or kneel down whilst working at the office.

    So their is a mix of ceremonial prayer along with our deep thoughts and feelings which exist as latent prayers. As far as passing thoughts and comments likely depends on the person and circumstance. Passing thoughts are not always flippant.

    Personally I have had different experiences. I have had dreams about Christ for instance where he was showing me things (Im using dreams literally here, as in whilst i was asleep). This hasnt happened to me in years, although i think it did lead to me imagining the figure of Jesus when I prayed . I wasn't praying to him. It seemed more like he was watching me or listening as I prayed. Even when I have had thoughts of gratitude toward Christ or congratulattory thoughts for him being about to enter his kingship it feels more like I am talking to myself perhaps within his hearing.

    Fumbling is what we do, and not convinced anyone is an expert fumbler..
     
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