PRAYER

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The Pharisees loved to pray, but their prayers were not acceptable (Mt 6:5; 15:7-8). They prayed long for men’s praise. “Let us love God not with words — but with action and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18). Love of God is proven when we believe in Jesus and obey His commandments (I Jn 2:1-5). This involves turning from sin (repenting, I Jn 3:6), confessing our faith in Him (I Jn 4:2,15), being born again (baptized) into God’s family (Acts 2:38; Rom 6:1-6; Jn 3:5), and striving until death to obey all He commanded (Mt 28:18).
After Jesus built his church in AD 33, there is no record of anyone being told to pray until after he had entered into Christ by baptism (when his “sins were washed away,” Acts 22:16). Prayer is a privilege of those in the spiritual family, the church, not the means of entrance into it. The Bible knows nothing about a “prayer of decision.” Christians pray for forgiveness (Acts 8:14-24), to praise God (Mt 6:9), to give thanks, for wisdom, for others, for deliverance from temptation, peace and unity.

(#205)

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