Oh and another thing, three times so far, I still have 30 pages to go or so, three times he has brought up Romans 8:26, “We know not how to pray as we ought” and never once has his conclusion been, “We know not how to pray as we ought.” In fact, after bringing up that very verse he goes on to explain exactly how we are to pray. Yet if you followed all his things that you have to “DO” in order for God to hear you, there’s not a chance any of us are going to get an audience before the Ruler of the Universe.

He forgets Christ’s intercession and the Holy Spirit’s intercession throughout. He limits prayer to what we’re capable of. I don’t know, am I missing something? Didn’t Christ take care of what we weren’t capable of?

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One of the hindrances to prayer that Torrey brings up, and I have heard others bring it up as well, that always bugs me, is if you have unconfessed sin God won’t hear you. Torrey gives a story about how he really needed money and he prayed and prayed and he didn’t get it. One night he was up all night praying, like a good holy person, and he knew it was about a particular sin but he wouldn’t confess it. But finally he did and the very next day money came in.

Which is nice, but please.

Who of us at any one time does not have unconfessed sin? We sin and we don’t even know it. Has the guy never heard of the old and new nature? Very disappointing. Christ died for our sins, we’re either forgiven or we’re not. To say we’re not really forgiven unless we “DO” something is to place forgiveness on works. Thus, salvation is by works, what Jesus died to take care of is thrown away.

Because of what Christ did for us and who we are in him, the fact we have a new nature which is holy, perfect and righteous, we always have access WITH BOLDNESS to talk to God. How could we have boldness to talk to God if there’s a chance He might not hear us? Boy it just bugs me how hard people make prayer; it’s really quite easy. Beware of those who confuse the simplicity of Christ.

Hindrances to Prayer was a chapter title I read last night. I knew by the title I would have a problem with the chapter and he didn’t let me down. The following books of the Bible were referenced for hindrances to prayer, see if you notice anything about them–Ezekiel, Proverbs, Isaiah, Mark, 1 Peter and 1 John.

I don’t know if Torrey is a Jew or not, I doubt it, I know I’m not, I’m a Gentile. Let me see if I can remember who it was who said he was the “apostle to the Gentiles.” Hmm, if only I listened in church.

Paul is the Apostle to the Gentiles and he doesn’t say there is any hindrance to prayer. To say there is a hindrance to prayer is to say that the intercession of the Holy Spirit has ceased. To say that is to say you’ve lost the Holy Spirit. To say that means you’ve lost your salvation. THERE IS NO HINDRANCE TO PRAYER IN THE AGE OF GRACE! JESUS DIDN’T DIE SO IT WOULD BE HARD TO PRAY!

I am reading a short book on prayer, entitled “How to Pray” originally enough. It is yet another definitive answer to the problem of prayer which scripture clearly tells us we don’t know how to do. The book is written by R. A. Torrey, who I believe is the Torrey which was big at Moody Bible Institute. I was hoping for something pretty good, not sure I’m getting that. Like most books on prayer, it is very confusing and contradictory. Here’s an example.

He brings up a lady who gave up on Christianity because she couldn’t trust the promises of the Bible. He asked her which one gave her difficulty. Her answer was the promise that if we ask anything we shall receive it. So he turned her to the verse 1 John 3:22, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”

So he asked her if she had kept His commandments, she admitted that she had not. Well, clearly then, that’s why your prayers aren’t being answered.

Here’s my problem–the solution then is that our works impress God to the point that He will listen to us, which puts the emphasis of answered prayer on us. Yet, I am a sinner, the only way I can do anything good is through faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. How then, pray tell, can I allow the Holy Spirit to produce something good in me? By asking Him, duh. OK, so then I have to pray to be allowed to do something good through the Holy Spirit but then my prayer won’t be answered unless I do something good, but I can’t do something good unless the Holy Spirit does it in me and He won’t work for me if I don’t impress Him by doing something good. Hmm, oh well, guess we don’t know how to pray as we ought.

Dave Burchett, author of When Bad Christians Happen to Good People, one of the best books on church I’ve read, has a new book out Bring Em Back Alive which I am anxiously looking forward to reading. If it’s as good and funny as the first book, it’ll be a hit. When Bad Christians. . . is actually in the Rhinelander District Library for some odd reason!

The quote from Martin Luther about salvation I addressed this morning goes like this:

“Many are lost because they cannot use possessive pronouns.”

Here’s another quote I came across this week:

It was a solemn saying which fell from the lips of an eminent minister of Christ on his death-bed “We are none of us more than half awake.” If believers were more thurough, and real, and whole-hearted in their belief, there would be far less unbelief in the world.

Often, the sins that trip us up are the small issues of life–like decorative shrubbery. We assume we can handle it on our own, it’s just shrubbery. But a comment on shrubbery soon turns into major issues. The people of Israel thought they could handle Ai by themselves but they were wrong.

When we walk in the flesh we will get fleshly results. Often the flesh sneaks up on us and nails us on the dumbest issues. The big issues of life–illness, no money, etc–are often easier to handle because we’re ready for them. But then shrubbery comes home and BOOM! It’s all over. We are to start in the spirit and continue in it.

The battle is constant and we must be ever vigilant to watch its ways.