Contend Earnestly: 10 Steps to Become a Legalist: Step 6

Monday, April 14, 2008

10 Steps to Become a Legalist: Step 6


When you pray, how do you pray? Is it long? short? in the morning? in the evening? sitting up? laying down? standing up? To be a good legalist, it isn't about what is correct, but what you deem as correct. Sometimes even if you sound more like a Muslim than a Christian. There are at least two things you need to take a stand on when you look at prayer: When and How.

1. When

When do you pray? In the morning, evening or afternoon? All three? You can really be a good legalist if you do all three, because if someone misses one of these times, you can show them how much closer you are to God and how far they are. Like most things when being a legalist, you really need to find some verses that will make you sound correct to the average Joe, so when he comes to you, you can really make him look stupid. Because that really is the goal of any good legalist, to show how holy you are, and how stupid or immature everyone else is. With legalists and prayer it usually comes in two ways, "I pray three times a day and they are times I have set aside" and the other is, "I don't need to set any time aside, but I pray all day to God." Most will pick one of these and run with it. So do you, if you want to become a forerunner for the contemporary legalist.

If you are a "three times a dayer" then a great verse to pick out is Daniel 6:10

Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.
Daniel 6:10


Clearly Daniel is Jesus incarnate making a command here to pray three times per day. Nevermind the fact that if you followed other ways of Daniel you would also not be homeschooled but schooled by the local government, as a command. Making all homeschoolers crazy and in sin. But, again, as a legalist, just ignore the first part of Daniel's life and really focus on the prayer part. It's just easier that way, plus, those immature Christian's that don't pray three times a day probably don't even know where the book of Daniel is located and just think he is some dude that fell in lion's cage and didn't get eaten because he was in the ark and was swallowed by a whale. Morons.

On the other side. If you are one to think that you should just pray as you feel led, then you should really just ignore Daniel and say that he was a crazy Old Testament guy and they had to do that because they didn't have the Holy Spirit. Nevermind this never works anywhere else in our lives consistantly...I mean, who is ever "felt led" to pay their bills? Or felt led to send out those corny Christmas cards with your kids and dog in matching sweaters? Oh wait...I just offended most of you...sorry...still funny, especially when the dog is front and center and your children are fighting to get in the picture.

To work out this thought process it would be good to use the following Scripture:

Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found;
Psalm 32:6a


Skip the fact that this is Old Testament too and your argument for Daniel has weakened. Use this verse to really show that you should just pray when you feel like it. God is always listening. So, pray to him in your car, on a walk, at work, or on the toilet, who cares where or when, just pray when you want, but to schedule a time is too "formal".

2. How

How do you pray? Do you pray really long prayers that sound like King James himself is speaking? or Do you pray really short prayers that sound more like prayers from
a hippie talking to a tie dyed salesman? Whichever one you are stick to it and then really poke fun of the others.

If you are the former, then this might flow from step 3 of our study on how to become a legalist. For some reason, most KJO folks, love to speak in that same way and their prayers are longer than a Billy Graham alter call. So go all the way. Use terms like "thee" and "thou" and put the letters "eth" on the end of everyeth wordeth. So, when you pray, no one can understand you, so how could they ever rebuke you? Plus God only hears those who babble for hours and use all these Old English terms. Sucks to be a non-English speaking "Christian". Remember, the longer the prayer, the more you love Jesus.

If you are into the short, lax prayers of the seeker movement, go for it. People have short attention spans so shorten up these prayers not only in public, but in your life as well. Plus, it will go really well with your "One Minute Bible." You can pray and read your Bible all during your bathroom break during commercials of Desperate Housewives, what a deal. Make sure that you laugh at all those who have long prayers, who use words you don't understand like "sin", "repentance" and "atonement"...who needs those words anyway?

Okay...enough with all this nonsense. Here is where I stand with prayer. We are told many things in the Bible about prayer. My belief on prayer is that we must take things from what we see in the Bible as a whole and apply them in our lives. I think we should definitely have set aside times to pray to make sure "we get it done." Sounds terrible to say (getting it done), but to be disciplined in prayer is a good thing. But, it isn't the only thing either. I always like to take a look to see what Jesus did. What a concept. We find Jesus doing both long prayers and short prayers. Taking specific times to pray and then also just lifting up his eyes at times and praying.

The Lord's Prayer is about a ten second prayer. The high priestly prayer was longer as was Christ's prayer in Garden (at least long enough to make people sleep...reminds me of my grandpa). The point is pray until you don't. Don't just repeat stuff to sound more holy and don't do a short prayer to appease those around you. Be mindful, but know that you are talking to God. We find that Jesus would "often slip away to pray" and that Jesus would also go off in the morning to a secluded place and pray. It seemed as though Christ had some appointed times of prayer but that he also would just start praying. His greatest, and if you were there you probably would have been caught off guard, was his high priestly prayer. It just says that they were talking and then all of the sudden Jesus, "lifted up his eyes to heaven." Jesus did this in the middle of a conversation. Now, this is Jesus so it was cool, but can you imagine doing this at a dinner party? You are talking about football with someone and all the sudden they break out in prayer? The point is that Christ not only appointed times of prayer, but prayed when he felt like praying as well.

So, for us to learn from this, I would say to have a time to pray and also pray throughout the day to the Lord. Pray long or short, I don't care, but pray as God leads you and pray like you would if you were talking to someone you knew instead of talking like some theologian from the 1600's. But, as you pray also know that you are praying to your Creator and so don't just be flippant, but reverant.

May God be praised and may we pray when we don't want to and when we desire to, this is the idea behind the great verse of Paul:

Pray without ceasing
1 Thess 5:17


4 comments:

luvvom said...

Also keep in mind that prayer is to change the one praying and not to change God's mind. We can view it as part of our sanctification process that brings us closer to Him. I'm one of those legalists who likes the prayers of our forefathers...I got the CDs Valley of Vision...great stuff...lots of good doctrine in them!

Seth McBee said...

Sarah.

Good point:

“Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.”
1 Samuel 15:29


And...the Valley of Vision is a great collection.

luvvom said...

I knew you thought it was ;o)

John Wesley on Legalism vs Holiness said...

...they fear that any step toward holiness might be a denial of the faith, and a rejection of Christ and His righteousness. So that, instead of being "zealous for good works," good works are a stench to their nostrils. In short, they are infinitely more afraid of the works of God, than of the works of the devil.
Here is Satan's masterpiece! We are to believe that men are holy, without a grain of holiness in them! Holy in Christ, however unholy in themselves. They are supposedly 'in' Christ, although they have not one jot of the mind that was in Christ. They are "complete in Him," although they are as proud, as vain, as covetous and as lustful as ever.

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