Friday, May 8, 2015

How to pray? What is the proper way to pray?

Is it best to pray standing up, sitting down, kneeling, or bowing down? Should our hands be open, closed, or lifted up to God? Do our eyes need to be closed when we pray? Is it better to pray in a church building or out in nature? Should we pray in the morning when we get up or at night before we go to bed? Are there certain words we need to say in our prayers? How do we begin our prayers? What is the proper way to close a prayer? These questions, and others, are common questions asked about prayer. What is the proper way to pray? Do any of the above things even matter?

Far too often, prayer is viewed as a “magic formula.” Some believe that if we do not say exactly the right things, or pray in the right position, God will not hear and answer our prayer. This is completely unbiblical. God does not answer our prayers based on when we pray, where we are, what position our body is in, or in what order we word our prayers. We are told in 1 John 5:14-15 to have confidence when we come to God in prayer, knowing He hears us and will grant whatever we ask as long as it is in His will. Similarly, John 14:13-14 declares, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” According to these and many other Scriptures, God answers prayer requests based on whether they are asked according to His will and in the name of Jesus (to bring glory to Jesus).

So, what is the proper way to pray? Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to pray without being anxious, to pray about everything, and to pray with thankful hearts. God will answer all such prayers with the gift of His peace in our hearts. The proper way to pray is to pour out our hearts to God, being honest and open with God, as He already knows us better than we know ourselves. We are to present our requests to God, keeping in mind that God knows what is best and will not grant a request that is not His will for us. We are to express our love, gratitude, and worship to God in prayer without worrying about having just the right words to say. God is more interested in the content of our hearts than the eloquence of our words.

The closest the Bible comes to giving a “pattern” for prayer is the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Please understand that the Lord’s Prayer is not a prayer we are to memorize and recite to God. It is an example of the things that should go into a prayer—worship, trust in God, requests, confession, and submission. We are to pray for the things the Lord’s Prayer talks about, using our own words and “customizing” it to our own journey with God. The proper way to pray is to express our hearts to God. Sitting, standing, or kneeling; hands open or closed; eyes opened or closed; in a church, at home, or outside; in the morning or at night—these are all side issues, subject to personal preference, conviction, and appropriateness. God’s desire is for prayer to be a real and personal connection between Himself and us.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Staring At Your Mountain

Your problems and worries may be like a big mountain before you. You have to make a definite decision to move your mountain. You may think that it is impossible. It is possible and many other believers, who have bigger problems and bigger mountains than yours, have proven it. They have successfully moved their mountains by their faith in the promises of God. Many of them are doing this miracle daily.

Staring at your mountain will not get it to disappear. Complaining about your mountain will not move it. Scolding others because of the mountain will not work either. The only way is for you to muster your faith and speak to the mountain.

"Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." [Matthew 17:20]

You have to command it to go in the mighty name of Jesus. That's a decision you must make for yourself. God is waiting for you to make that decision. The power to move your mountain is readily available for you the moment you decide to take that step of faith.

"Everything is possible for one who believes." [Mark 9:23]

Albert Kang

Monday, April 13, 2015

Is ‘Grave Sucking’ Biblical?

Christians '"sucking up the anointing" at the grave of Evan Roberts.

The notion of ‘grave sucking’ or ‘mantle grabbing’ has become popular among believers in the hyper-charismatic circle. Such concept has been readily advocated by some of the better-known preachers such as Bill Johnson, Benny Hinn, Cal Pierce etc. The purpose of ‘grave sucking’ is for the believers to visit grave sites of specially gifted but dead ministers so as to ‘suck residue spiritual anointing’, especially the gifts of healing or prophesying, from these dead people .

Cal Pierce says, “Lord, if a dead man can be thrown on the bones of Elisha and be healed, then I’m asking for the anointing that is on these bones of John G. Lake.”

Bill Johnson expounds, ““There are anointings, mantles, revelations and mysteries that have lain unclaimed, literally where they were left because the generation that walked in them never passed them on. I believe it’s possible for us to recover realms of anointing, realms of insight, realms of God that have been untended for decades simply by choosing to reclaim them and perpetuate them for future generations.”

Benny Hinn is a firm believer of grave sucking when he openly shares what happened when he visited the grave of Aimee Semple McPherson – the founder of Foursquare: “I felt a terrific anointing when I was there. I actually, I—I, hear this, I trembled when I visited Aimee’s tomb. I was shaking all over. God’s power came all over me. … I believe the anointing has lingered over Aimee’s body. I know this may be shocking to you. … And I’m going to take David Palmquist and Kent Mattox and Sheryl Palmquist this week. They’re gonna come with me. You—you—you gonna feel the anointing at Aimee’s tomb. It’s incredible. And Kathryn’s. It’s amazing. I’ve heard of people healed when they visited that tomb. They were totally healed by God’s power. You say, ‘What a crazy thing.’ Brother, there’s things we’ll never understand. Are you all hearing me?”

Many of these hyper-charismatic practitioners believe that they would experience a heightened spiritual capability when they ‘suck’ the anointing from the dead ministers. Cal Pierce believes that “another generation’s ‘ceiling’ in God can become our spiritual floor”.

What the Bible Says About Grave Sucking?

Absolutely nothing. Yes, the Bible has no such precedent. Some of these grave-sucking practitioners may protest by pointing their example to an incident recorded in 2 Kings 13:21:-

And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulcher of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.

Why did the Lord allow this event to be narrated in the Old Testament? The record in the Bible expressly mentioned that the dead man became alive when his body touched the bones of Elisha. Didn’t that prove that the dead bones of Elisha were still full of the Holy Spirit?

The truth is that God did not give us a reason. As for the answer to the second question, God also did not give specific intention. But as people with reasoning power, we can make an educated supposition.

We all know that Elisha received a double portion of the Spirit which was upon Elijah. During the lifetime of Elijah on earth, through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, he performed a total of 14 miracles. Since Elisha had asked for a double portion of the Spirit, he should have performed 28 miracles. However, at the time of his death, he had only 27 miracles under his belt. The miracle of the dead man coming alive was the 28th miracle, thus fulfilling the requirement for the ‘double-portion’ promise. There may be other reasons but like what the writer has mentioned, they will all be conjectures. The one that is pure conjecture without biblical evidence is the transferring of the mantle of the dead saints to living ministers of God’s Word. That is a superstition at best.

Would the same type of ‘anointing’ from gifted but dead ministers be transferred to anyone who lay hands or roll upon their graves? Let’s check the Bible again. Reading from the same story of the bones of Elisha, we ask ourselves a question: “Did the dead man receive the mantle of Elisha after his dead body came in contact with the latter’s bones”. No, he did not.

Did the resurrected man ultimately receive the power of the Holy Spirit, just as most of the prophets and leaders of the Old Testament did? Did he become a prophet just like Elisha? Did he perform great miracles after that? The answer is a resounding no! The only thing that happened was that the dead man became alive again.

Moreover, in the Old Testament, the presence of the Holy Spirit was upon specific individuals and could be lifted at any time. That was why King David cried out to the Lord when he repented of his sin, “Cast me not away from your presence; and take not your Holy Spirit from me.”

In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit did not operate in the same manner. He came upon all believers (Acts 2). God has poured out His Spirit upon all flesh (Acts 2:17; ref: Joel 2:28-29) and we have become the “dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22). Paul emphasized, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16).

Even though we appreciate the ministries of our predecessors, but it is God who gives us the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Paul recognized that not only people worshipped dead spiritual heroes but also created living ones. God is the One who build His Church. He does not owe that to anyone. He is the only One whom we seek and not depending upon dead or live heroes of faith. Paul sent a strong message against this type of attitude: “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” (I Corinthians 3:5-7).

If we are not careful, our churches might be affected by teachings that are not found in the Bible but in other cults. The danger is that we mix a certain degree of pantheism into our theology and begin a spiritual journey with a sharp tangent that will carry us far away from the original Gospel and the Word of God.

Albert Kang