Persistent Prayer

PERSISTENCE

Right after the prayer that the LORD taught us to pray in Luke 11, comes the parable of “A Friend Comes at Midnight”.

5 And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? 8 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.   Luke 11 NKJV

Other translations use for “persistence”, “shameless audacity” (NIV), “impudence” (ESV), and “shameless boldness” (CSB). 

The borrower with his “shameless boldness” of knocking on his friend’s door received what was desired.  

So we should also be persistent in prayer.  

As it says in verse 9b, “knock, and it will be opened to you.” 

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, persistent in prayer.  Romans 12:12 BSB

But this persistence is not “vain babbling”:

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Matthew 6:7 NIV)

Other translations use “babbling like pagans”, “vain repetitions” (NKJV), “thoughtless repetition” (NASB) “meaningless repetition” (NASB 1995) and  “empty phrases” (ESV)

But didn’t Jesus Himself pray the same thing over?

So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.  Matthew 26:44

This was not the same instance – it was three different times.  It was the same evening, but not the same moment.  He went away and came back.  He was continuing His thought.   If you were interrupted, would you not repeat the same thing over when you came back?  And the Messiah prayed it with meaning, not a mindless chant!  He was pleading for His life to somehow be spared, if it was the Father’s will! But He had to endure this pain, for the world’s gain.

“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:42b 

WHO IS GETTING THE GLORY?

In the rosary, one says the “Hail Mary” over 50 times in one segment of time!  The repetiton over and over again in one setting is totally useless spiritually.  

And who is getting the glory here?  For every decade of the rosary, the “Our Father” prayer is done once and then ten times for the “Hail Mary”.  

And technically, Mary is not the “Mother of God”, as it says in the “Hail Mary” but Miriam is the Mother of Christ, Mother of our LORD.  Did the Almighty God have a mother?  NO. God is eternally the Great I AM!

I attended a Catholic school as a child.  The nuns didn’t tell us that this “Hail” was a natural greeting.  It seemed as if we were marvelling at Mary. It seemed more like “Heil Hitler!”  (Incidentally, “Heil” means “salvation”.)

Erika Mann, in her book titled called School for Barbarians: Education Under the Nazis criticized the Nazis’ efforts to shape young people’s ideas and feelings.”*

“Every child says ‘Heil Hitler!’ from 50 to 150 times a day, immeasurably more often than the old neutral greetings.”

If one repeats in a rosary the “Hail Mary” over 50 times would that not have the same effect?  The only person we should be glorifying is our Creator, YHWH, Jesus Christ whose name means salvation!

I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images Isaiah 42:8

Also, when I was in Catholic school, they had a feast with a statue of Mary being paraded around.  We danced around a maypole, a pagan ritual known in ancient Rome.  How the Catholic Church has solidified syncretism, the marriage of paganism with heretical “Christianity”!

PRAYER BEADS

Prayer beads are used by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Islam, paganism, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox.  

However, the Orthodox Jews believe that prayer beads are akin to idol worship!  Some have compared their prayer shawl to prayer beads.  However, this is FALSE.  The tassels (tzitzit) of their prayer shawl (tallit) remind them of their 613 commandments. It is not intended to count and to be repetitive! (Though Jews who are secular get into all kinds of religions, including Buddhism and Hindu yoga.) 

Pagan prayer beads are just not Scriptural.

“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  John 4:24

We should do the best to honor God as He wants to be honored!

17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.  Ephesians 5

WORSHIP

Roman Catholic sources have stressed that there is repetition in some Scriptures:

The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”  Revelation 4:8

However, this is praise and honor to the LORD Almighty and NOT PRAYER!

We should honor the LORD with praise and telling Him “I love you!” repeatedly.  But that is NOT PRAYER.  It is worship! We praise the LORD and we sing His praise!

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  Colossians 3:16

The psalms were made to be sung and so there may be repeated phrases within them, also.

CHANTING

However, chanting, the same pattern over and over again, leads to an “altered state of consciousness”.  This is not what is prescribed by the Scriptures. 

When I was a Buddhist, I chanted.  The monotonous sound puts the brain in the mode to produce a self-hypnotic condition.   I didn’t realize this at that time because I was young and naive. Whatever the mind is using to meditate on – and this is in Eastern meditation – it will eventually take on that thought or idea.  So therefore, when I was in Buddhism, I almost took on the thought that this particular idol was the “true object of worship”.  Praise God! He delivered me from this sin and idolatry!

In a rosary, because this is a “vain repetition” that leads to self-hypnosis, one will take on the idea that Mary, “Mother of God”, is to be worshipped.   Roman Catholics say they venerate her but some place more emphasis on Mary than Jesus Christ and they hold parades for her and say prayers to her!

There is a website that list all of the many mantras and chants from many religions of the world: Hindu, Buddhist, Islam, shaman, etc.  (The devil doesn’t care which you choose, but just don’t choose the right one, the only WAY to Heaven!)  

The Catholic rosary, like a chant with it’s monotonous sound, is included in this list!  

The Eastern Orthodox prayer “Hesychasm” is also included in this list of chants:  “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”  (based on Luke 18:13)

It’s a prayer, appropriate for when you sin or when you are coming to Christ.  However, they turn this prayer into a chant and use monotonous sounds over and over again like an occultic incantation. This is not the way the LORD prescribed us to pray!  So you can take the true words of Scripture and turn them into a “vain repetition”.  Do these people think that the LORD ever answers this prayer?  So why are they saying it over and over again?! 

Vain repetition is not Scriptural, though you may get into a “high” from the self-hypnosis.  This is soul-ish and NOT truly spiritual!  It is an altered state of consciousness. 

SCRIPTURAL “MEDITATION”

Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart…  Jeremiah 15:16

Scriptural meditation has been compared to a cow chewing on the cud.  He chews it thoroughly and then swallows it.  Then the chewed grass will come up and the cow chews it again, getting more of the nutrients out of this. 

This is how we should study the Word of God through scriptural meditation. We ponder on a particular passage. We think about it.  We could also use Christian music.  

This is not like Eastern or New Age meditation where one empties one’s mind:

“The main goal of [Eastern] meditation is to get into a meditative state of mind where thoughts don’t keep us occupied. Instead of us making thoughts, we need to be able to receive them from the “outside” (the spirit world).”

That is dangerous!  Because the “spirit world” is full of fallen angels and demons!  A fallen angel can appear as a bright being.

And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14

BE HOLY

We are to be holy and that means to be “set apart”.  Christians should be “set apart” even as it applies to prayer beads, since every other religion, except orthodox Judaism and true and faithful Christianity, uses these counting devices.  One has a choice: One could change one’s mind into an “altered state” which is NOT God’s way OR one could choose to be molded by the Word of God and do it His WAY! Christians may go “boldly to the throne of grace” with our petitions and prayers.  

“… as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct”

1 Peter 1:15

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2

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