Baptists/Praying / Kneeling to the corss
I have a very simple question:
Is acceptable for Christians or for Born Again/Baptist to kneel down or pray to the Cross?
If not why not?
PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH. Christians should not pray to statures, crosses, or icons. I cut and pasted my answer from my word processor and something went wrong.
I apologize for responding so slow. I have been very busy and have not had the time to get to my e-mail.
Christians should not pray to statures, crosses, or icons. The believer has the Holy Spirit indwelling him and symbols are dead material objects. A believer's prayer should be directed to God the Father directly who promises to hear the prayers of His children.
Following is a message I preached on the subject of prayer. If you have further questions or comments please write and thank you for your patience.
INTRODUCTION: This is the actually the Lord's "model" prayer. It is mis-titled "the Lord's prayer" in that Jesus did not pray this prayer, but gave it as a model by which believers are to pray. Each verse in this prayer presents a principle part or ingredient of how we should pray.
1. There are two accounts in the NT in which the Lord Jesus gave the Model Prayer.
In the Sermon on the Mount. Matt. 6:5
When asked by the Disciples. Luke 11:1-4
2. This is the Model Prayer and is improperly named "the Lord's Prayer." The Lord's Prayer is found in John 17. John 17, is Jesus' prayer for believers; for you and I and all who have believed on Him.
3. There are two activities the Child of God is to be a part of every believer's life which is the Study of the Word of God and Prayer.
In the Bible God speaks to us......
In prayer we speak to the Lord.....
4. We are to be continually in prayer.
"Pray without ceasing." ( 1 Thess. 5:17)
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" (Ephesians 6:18)
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Philippians 4:)
I. WHAT IS NOT TAUGHT ABOUT PRAYER. It is important that we understand what this prayer truly teaches. It does not teach us everything about prayer, but the basis elements of how our prayer should be constructed. It is not telling us that we are to pray these exact words, though there is nothing wrong in doing this. It is a model prayer or the skeleton or outline of our prayers. Each statement gives a principle and order of how we are to present our prayers to the Lord. Let us look first at what is not taught here.
A. POSTURE. Many different postures are taken in the examples in the Bible of those praying.
Standing , bowing,,lifting hands, on one's face,sitting, head down or between knees, kneeling, facing the temple, uplifted eyes, or smiting one's breast
There are different times and places when we pray. The posture of our prayer should fit our circumstances, but always be done in with an attitude of humility. Each of the postures the Bible mentions when people were praying show submission to the Lord. We are to boldly come to the Lord in prayer, meaning without hesitation or restriction, but we coming with a deep respect and godly fear of the Lord.
B. PLACE OF PRAYER. People are shown praying in many different places.
In battle, everywhere, in a cave, in bed , in a closet , in a home, in a garden , in a fish , on a mountain, on a house top, by a river, in prison, by the sea, in solitude, in the street, in God's house, on a cross , in Hades, and in heaven
C. TIMES OF PRAYER. The times places vary greatly in the biblical examples of prayer.
Early morning, midnight, morning, day and night , 3 times a day , today, evening , often, evening, before meals, in youth, after meals, in trouble, ninth hour, daily, bedtime, and always
D. CIRCUMSTANCES OF PRAYER. The circumstances for prayer are also varied.
Wearing sackcloth, loud crying, sitting in ashes, sweating as it were blood, shaving head, agony, smiting breast, broken hearted, crying, pouring out ones heart, applying dust to head, fasting, sacrifices, groaning, and sighing
E. In Matthew 6:9, "after this manner" in Greek literally means:
"Thus or therefore" It does not mean "use the exact words. It literally means "Pray along these lines pray."
Those who have taken this prayer and pray it over and over again as a formal prayer have missed the point of what Jesus was saying. They have falsely concluded that God it telling us to pray this prayer in a ritualist form. Prayer is not a ritual, but a heartfelt expression of our love and dependence on God.
By saying "along the lines or this is the outline for prayer" the Lord was telling us prayer should be personal, and he gave an outline for prayer. Prayer should be a matter of a man or woman talking personally to the Lord in conversation. . . not doing some ritual or formal ceremony. Jesus did not say repeat the Model prayer verbatim, nor was he instructing us to pray ritualistically.
In the Old Testament God was very specific about how He was to be worshiped and approached. God did so to teach Israel about Himself and principles of God, that taught them to live godly, full and abundant lives.
In the model prayer God is also teaching us about Himself and our relationship to Him. The model prayer is a skeletal outline for all prayer. It directs us to a fuller understanding of each topic of the outline.
II. "OUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN." Matt. . 6:9
A. Our prayers should be directed to God the Father.
1. You are praying to the Lord God our Father and Creator in heaven.
2. Jesus did not say to pray to Him. He is God and when we pray we pray to the Father, and close in Jesus' name.
4. God the Father is the Head of the Trinity. He is the Father. Jesus is positionally in the God head the Son. Therefore we prayer in respect addressing our prayers to the Father and close in the name of Jesus Christ. It is by and through Christ we can approach the Father.
B. Note is starts "Our."
1. Prayer is only for a child of God. Only one prayer does God hear from the lost man and that is the "sinners prayer" asking for redemption. Many people pray to God, but He does not hear their prayers in the sense of answering them. The unsaved have never accepted Him as their Savior and God. They are not in God's family nor His children and thus He cannot bless them. The lost are actually in rebellion against God and when they pray they are asking for His help, while at the same time, denying Him a place in their lives. They want His help, but not Him. They seek Him to bless them, all the while sinning willfully without any regard for Him.
Jesus said to the lost who were calling Him "lord." "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46) 2. God is not the Father of the world. The word "world" refers to lost humanity who is rejecting God. (2 Cor. 4:4).
In nature we are all humans and the descendants of Adam and Eve. But in the spirit we are not all brothers. Most are rejecting God as their Creator and God, but some have believed and received Jesus Christ as their Savior and God is their Father.
1 Corinthians 2:12 says, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."
3. The world rejects God, worships idols or themselves.
4. This prayer should not be used at a mixed gathering out of the church.
(1) It is a model prayer.
(2) Only saved men and women can in truth call God their Father.
(3) It also expresses intimacy between God and the believer.
C. The Child of God does not pray to a stranger.
Jesus used the intimate name "Abba" in praying to God the Father. "And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt." (Mark 14:36)
Paul says we too have the same closeness to God.
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Romans 8:15)
"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father" (Galatians 4:6).
D. All prayer should be addressed to the Father.
1. There is no example in the Bible of one praying to Jesus or to the Holy Spirit.
2. Christ in the God Head is the Son. The Father is the head and is to receive all honor.
3. The Bible says that Jesus stands between us and God and intercedes for us.
4. The Holy Spirit aids us in prayer. Romans 8:26 "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
5. To pray to Christ or to the Holy Spirit is to misunderstand the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Christ prayed not my will, but thine be done oh Lord and the Holy Spirit is the "Paraclete" meaning "one called along side" to help in prayer.
Jesus prayed to the Father and He told us to do likewise. "Our Father who art in Heaven."
a. It was the Father who sent His son into the world, that the world might be saved.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
b. It was the Father who sent the Holy Spirit to minister and indwell man.
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever" (John 14:16)
[Evidence of the Trinity: John 16:7 says "I will send Him to you."]
It is disrespectful to pray to Christ or the Holy Spirit. I am sure that the Lord understands because often people are not taught the truth and many do not study the Bible for themselves.
E. We are not instructed to pray to dead saints or anyone, but God Himself.
1. It is wrong to pray to anyone else but directly to God.
ILLUS: I once interviewed a Greek Orthodox priest in his church in Winston-Salem, NC. Across the front of the auditorium were a number of large paintings handing from the ceiling. I asked him what they were. He explained these were icons of dead saints to whom they prayed, kneeing before icons. He said because these saints were in heaven and they could go directly to Jesus and explain their circumstances better to Him. In other words, he said they believe the dead saint they were praying to could better identify and understand their situation, and therefore better present their prayers and requests to God. Praying directly to God was not effective as praying to some dead saint who could present their prayers before the Lord. That implies they believe the Lord would not listen to their prayers directly to Him, but would listen to a dead saint who would intercede for them. That means the intercessor would be the dead saint rather than Jesus Christ. This is the same thinking behind Maryology and the Catholic practices of praying too and worshiping Mary. This idea is false teaching of the highest order. It is degrading to God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our One and Only intercessor.
2. Yet, Hebrews 4:15 tells us "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
3. Hebrews. 10:19-22 says, "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water."
4. The Word of God plainly states that Christ is our only intercessor and He fully understands our infirmities. It is heresy to circumvent the Lord's position as not only our Savior, but also our intercessor before God the Father.
III. WE ARE TO REVERE THE NAME OF GOD. "HALLOWED BE THY NAME." (v9)
A. To honor someone we honor their name. Memorials: to Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson. A name identifies the person.
We are Independent Baptist: That is a name. It traditionally means people who solely follow the Bible. The does not make us what we are, but is a name taken to describe what we believe. It names our identity.
Baptist: People who believe in immersion for baptism and follow the Bible alone as their sole authority for faith and practice.
Fundamentalist: We literally believe and follow the Bible and nothing else. We do not accept the traditions and ritual of men. The New Testament is our sole authority for our faith and practice.
Independent: We recognize only the Lord Jesus as being the Head of the Church, the Bible our authority. The word identifies us as autonomous. We have no man made authority over us. We are not part of a larger group of churches which are under the authority of some group of men, pope, prophet or priest. We are independent are rule ourselves as the New Testament directs.
B. Thus we need to have a holy and reverent regard for the name of God.
1. Ten Commandments:
"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." (Exodus 20:7)
2. Taking the Lord's name in vain means for that using it as a curse word or without respect. When something happens many say, "Oh, God." That is misusing the name of the Lord.
The word mean literally "to make holy." That means it is to be set apart for God alone. Further the word is the opposite of the word "kionos" which means "common."
It is certainly disrespectful to refer to God as "the old man upstairs" or similar expression. God the Father is not a man nor ever was a man, He is Almighty God! He is a spirit and exists in a domain outside of our Universe with He created. We should never use the name of God the Father, Christ or the Holy Spirit as slang.
To misuse God's name is to show disrespect for God. Christians who have experienced the New Birth and have surrendered to the Lord Jesus are grateful and thankful for their salvation. They should never use curse words, or slang or off color language. People who use such language are showing contempt for God.
This practice degrades them and they seriously harm their testimony. When you hear someone misusing God's name how does it impress you? You think little of them.
Would you curse in front of your father or mother? Why not?
It is sin to use the Lord's name in vain and is a symptom of a spiritual problem. Using God's name in vain is a blatant sin. It is not discerning the Body and Blood of Christ. (see 1 Cor. 11:29).
D. Praying is addressing God, who loves and cares for us greater that as an earthly father should who loves his child. Thus is would be totally improper not to show respect to God.
Songs teach this and show the love of a child of God for their Lord and Savior.
"There is a name I love to hear, I love to sin its worth; it sounds like music to my ears the sweetest name on earth. Oh how I love Jesus, Oh how I love Jesus, sweetest name I know."
"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there is just something about that name. Sweetest name I know, Fills my every longing, Keeps me singing as I go."
"Jesus is the sweetest name I know, and I love Him so...."
"Jesus, the very thought of thee, with sweetness fills my beast."
Thank you for your question. You can find more on prayer on my web site.