As mentioned in Part B, the following questions have arisen based on formalities of prayer;
Do you kneel down to pray?
Is it compulsory to do so?
Do you stand whilst praying?
Do you open your eyes?
Do you close your eyes?
Do you shout your prayer?
Do you say it silently?
Do you say your prayers in your heart alone, No Words?
Do you move up and down whilst praying?
Are you static and motionless whilst praying?
Do you sing first before praying?
Do you lift up your hands whilst praying?
As mundane as these questions might seem, there are doctrines, dominations, creeds, preaching, principles etc. created from and about them so much so that strives, quarrels and divisions have taken and are still taking place over their rightful understanding.
So what is God’s position over the matter of formalities of prayer? Let’s see these scripture…John 4:23
“But the hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the father seeketh such to worship him”
“God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth”
“The people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me”
“But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh”
At this time, we must differentiate between “working in the flesh” and “working in the spirit”.
The word “Flesh” means two things in the Bible; the first is Man himself. Flesh refers to human beings generally…Genesis 6:3 & 12 “And the Lord said, my spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he is also flesh…” 12 “And God looked upon the earth, and behold it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted his ways upon the earth”
Psalm 65:2 “O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come”
Secondly, Flesh is described as man’s ideological understanding and pursuit of life; that is the natural way and manner humans relate and understand things around them which is in direct contradiction and opposites’ to the Will and Word of God… Jeremiah 17:5 “Thus saith the Lord; cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord”
John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing…”
Romans 7:5 “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sin, which were by the law did work in our members to bring forth unto death”
Romans 8:9 “But ye are not in the flesh but in the spirit…”
Romans 8:13 “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die…”
Galatians 5:19 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,”
On the other hand, the Spirit also means two things biblically; Can be understood as the Holy Spirit of God, who is the 3rd person of the Trinity…1st John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, The Word and the Holy Spirit; and these three are One.”
Secondly, the Spirit is also the way God does everything, it is the modus operandi of God in relationship with us and an expression of His personality which is described as fruit(singular) of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” And then verse 25 says “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”
The essence of all these scripture is to prove that anything done in/with the “flesh” does not attract God’s blessings and also it is impossible to be living in the “flesh” and be able to do spiritual things because Romans 8:7 says “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”.
Matthew 6:1, 2, 5, & 7 says;
“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them…”
“Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets that they may have glory of men…”
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men…”
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking”
Standing, using many words, shouting, etc. are all formalities of prayer which are not recommended by God, do not guarantee answers to prayer and in most cases, are abhorred by God and so the persons involved are viewed as “Hypocrites” especially when done without any connect to the Holy Spirit.
If the Holy Spirit ask you to stand, shout, repeat(chant) your word, etc., then no problem but remember, the Holy Spirit of as characters (Galatians 5:22-23) and He will only lead you into the Truth of the Word of God and if God’s Word above views such formalities as hypocritical, then it is not the Holy Spirit.
So ask yourself next time you are about to pray; to what end are my formalities? If they are for “showmanship”, then you are an hypocrite, if you were asked to do it by your church, then ask to what intent and end is it supposed to serve in your time of prayer according to God’s word? If you are copying/emulating/exemplifying others who do these formalities, remember, the heavenly race is “personal” and not “collective” as with salvation. What God blesses and responds to is His word obeyed and not the general practice of men.
God bless you as you keep reading and commenting.
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