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Next issue of Malankara World Journal is something special
for all of us. It is Issue #100. We are humbled that God made sure that we
didn't miss a single issue since its inception. So, it is time for a short
Issue 100 will have more articles from key themes of Malankara World. It is something designed as a keepsake. Print it so you can read and refer to it all year long.
This Sunday in Church (Sep 23)
Second Sunday after Sleebo/ the Feast of Holy Cross
Before Holy Qurbana
We have greatly expanded our Sermon Resources. The sermon collection now includes general and classical sermons. This will give a broader appeal to the Gospel Reading for the week. We also added bible commentaries for the bible reading to facilitate study and meditation. Please check it out.
This Week's Features
|Different Views on Prayer|
According to St. John Damascene, a 6th century bishop, "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God."
St. Thérèse of Lisieux stated, "For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy."
The older I get the more I come to the belief that prayer is not an old-fashioned equivalent of the customer service hotline. Rather it is a tempering experience.
After a group prayer in a Catholic Church was over, a Priest came into the room & told the participants that the group was praying too fast.
The Priest gave them some good prayer advice: God knows all the prayers. God knows what we want & what we need. When we pray we should slow down so we are able to listen to God. One of the purposes of prayer is to give God the opportunity to transform our hearts.
If we pray in Jesus' name, it doesn't mean we add those words at the end to make God the Genie do what we demand. To ask for something in someone's name means to ask it on their behalf. It means that what you are asking will advance the goals and purpose of that other being - in this case, Jesus.
For myself, I've started dividing my prayers into two - those things I ask in Jesus' name, and those I ask...well, because of my wants. I find that if I am honest, that first section is pretty short.
I also find it a bit enlightening to pray, "God, I don't know if you want this or if it is just my sin nature poking through to the surface..." It changes my expectations entirely, and opens a dialog.
A very wise Priest once told me that is important when you pray to patiently discern God's Will in the present moment, and that God does answer all prayers. No "ifs," "ands" or "buts" about it.
by Gary Zimak
Have you ever felt that God wasn't answering your prayers? Perhaps you have been praying for the conversion of a loved one, the physical healing of a close friend, a new job, a broken relationship, etc. Despite many prayers, the outcome wasn't what you expected. In some cases, you may have just given up and stopped praying. You may question the validity of Jesus' words, "Ask and you shall receive". Does prayer really make a difference or is it just something that makes us feel good? Let's take a look at prayer and why it is important that we not only pray, but "pray without ceasing" (1 Thes 5:17).
According to St. John Damascene, a 6th century bishop, "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God." St. Thérèse of Lisieux stated, "For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy." The Catholic Church describes Christian prayer as, "a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ." While we are most familiar with prayer of petition, the above statements make it obvious that there is more to prayer than merely asking God for something.
To put it in simple terms, prayer is a means of communicating and sharing with God. There are several different forms of prayer, including Blessing, Adoration, Petition, Intercession, Thanksgiving and Praise. While each of these methods of prayer uses a different approach, they all involve an encounter between God and man. Understanding that encounter will help us to better comprehend the meaning of prayer in our lives. Utilizing several of these methods will allow us to grow closer to the Lord, which is the ultimate objective of prayer. As we turn to the Lord in prayer, we'll begin to increase our desire for the things of Heaven and focus more on letting God's will guide our lives.
We must make time for prayer - even if it means giving up 15-30 minutes of your leisure time - some quiet time with the Lord is a necessity! Prayer doesn't have to be formal and it doesn't have to take place inside of a church. We can talk to Jesus like we would speak to any of our friends. He wants to know all of our worries and concerns. Conversing with the Lord should be the main foundation of our prayer life.
We can then build on that foundation by expanding our definition of prayer. Origen, one of the early Church fathers observed, "He 'prays without ceasing' who unites prayer to works and good works to prayer. Only in this way can we consider as realizable the principle of praying without ceasing." In other words, we can turn all of our work into prayer simply by offering it to the Father. The traditional Morning Offering provides an excellent means of offering our work to the Lord and can be said in less than a minute! By employing this technique, we are even able to pray while we work. While this form of prayer should never replace our quiet time with God, it provides us with a means to "pray constantly" throughout the day.
According to the Catholic Catechism , "The habitual difficulty in prayer is distraction". This is a problem common to all forms of prayer. Whether you're in a church, praying the rosary in your car or praying before the Blessed Sacrament, you will encounter distractions at some point. These distractions provide us, according to the Catechism, with an idea of "what we are attached to" and give us an opportunity to choose the Lord over the distraction. When these thoughts occur, we should simply turn our minds to God and continue praying. Another common difficulty that we may encounter is dryness, which is a lack of feeling when we pray. This is something that many of the saints struggled with and is best overcome by perseverance. We need to rely on our faith during these times and struggle to continue praying, no matter how we feel. Bouts of dryness provide us with an opportunity to love God for who He is, not for the good feeling that we may experience during prayer.
As mentioned earlier, one of the most common complaints when we pray is that God doesn't answer our prayers. This complaint usually occurs with prayers of petition and provides an honest look into the reality of our human nature. The Catechism puts things into perspective with the following comments:
In the first place, we ought to be astonished by this fact: when we praise God or give him thanks for his benefits in general, we are not particularly concerned whether or not our prayer is acceptable to him. On the other hand, we demand to see the results of our petitions. What is the image of God that motivates our prayer: an instrument to be used? or the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?
When we pray, are we truly lifting our hearts to Almighty God or are we looking to "get what we want"? If we really trust in His will, we should be satisfied with whatever answer we receive. Our frustration arises when we think that we know better than God. We decide how our prayers should be answered and are not pleased when the Lord's answer may differ from ours. While Jesus does promise that we will receive an answer when we ask (Mt 7:8), He doesn't promise that we will get what we ask for…Instead, He promises that we will get what we need. Jesus assures us of this when He states, "Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asks for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask Him." (Mt 7:9-11) Still not convinced? Scripture gives us a very clear explanation for why we may not get what we request, "You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." (James 4:3) We could save ourselves a lot of aggravation by accepting this advice and seeking to discern God's will for our lives. In doing so, we would get a clearer idea of those "things" that God wants us to have.
Knowing God's will for our lives can sometimes be difficult, but a few basic principles can be very helpful. For one thing, it would be wrong to pray for something that goes against a teaching of the Church. For example, praying for the success of in-vitro fertilization or an invalid marriage would not be examples of praying with God's will in mind. God never wills anything that is prohibited by His Church. While He does respect our free will and permits us to do things that are not in line with the commandments, praying for sinful things is not an example of praying with God's will in mind.
Second, we should append all of our prayer requests with, "if it is your will." If we truly mean what we say, we'll have no problem accepting whatever God sends…even if it wasn't what we asked for. The ultimate example of praying in this manner was given by Our Lord as he suffered in the garden prior to His arrest and crucifixion. His prayer shows us the art of praying in union with the will of the Father. "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will." (Mt 26:39)
While we do not know exactly why prayer is effective, we do know that it is important. Jesus instructed us to pray and prayed Himself on many occasions. The reason that it works is known only to God and is beyond our understanding. Our main concern should be that we continue to pray as often as possible. Most importantly, the next time that you are tempted to say that God doesn't answer your prayers, remember that He can answer in a few different ways - "Yes", "No" or "Not yet" are all valid answers! Therefore, when we complain that God doesn't answer our prayers, don't we really mean, "God doesn't answer my prayers…the way that I want"?
Lord, help me to trust in your perfect will for my life. May I always be content with your answers to my prayers, even if I don't understand them. Amen.
About the Author:
Gary Zimak is the founder of 'Following The Truth Ministries' (http://www.followingthetruth.com), a lay apostolate created to assist Catholics in learning more about their Faith. He is a regular guest on EWTN Radio's "Son Rise Morning Show", Ave Maria Radio's "Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo" and appears frequently on several other radio programs.
by Alan Carr
Scripture: Luke 1:5-17
I. Luke 1: 6 SOMETIMES THE ANSWER IS DENIED
v. 1-2a – James is straight to the point – People fight on the outside because they are at war on the inside!
v. 2b – Prayerlessness – We have already touched on this
v. 3 – Selfishness – Prayer does not exist so that we can have our wants gratified. We can expect the Lord to meet our needs, but not to finance our greeds.
v. 4 – Sin – God will not finance our spiritual adultery. He will not bless our
efforts to run with the devil. (Ill. Wife asking husband for money!)
II. Luke 1: 13 SOMETIMES THE ANSWER IS DELAYED
God used His delayed answer to bring glory to Himself; grace to Zacharias and Elisabeth; and to accomplish His eternal plan.
III. Luke 1: 15-17 SOMETIMES THE ANSWER IS DIFFERENT
Keep praying dear saint of god! When prayer seems unanswered be sure that your heart is right with God, Psa. 66:18; and be sure that you are asking according to His will. If so, then keep praying.
Eg., The widow in Luke 18:1-8; Luke 11:5-13.
Is there ever a time to stop praying? Yes! You can stop when:
1. When the answer is in your hand – Praise Him and report it!
2. When the answer is in your heart – Praise Him and wait for it!
3. When God reveals a better way – Eg., Paul – 2 Cor. 12:7-11 – Praise Him and accept it!
Until the answer comes, keep praying! God will come through in His time!
Copyright 2003 by Alan Carr
by Greg Laurie
I am so glad that God will overrule my prayers at times, because I have prayed for things fervently, believing they were the will of God, and they were flat-out wrong. I am so thankful that God said no to those prayers.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, as the cross was getting closer, Jesus prayed to the Father. "And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, 'Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done'" (Luke 22:41–42).
Yet I have actually heard some people say, "Never pray, 'Not my will, but Yours be done.' That is a lack of faith." Some have even said, "What you should really pray is, 'Not Your will, but mine be done.'" Let's just say that I don't want to be standing too close to those people when lightning strikes, because they have things turned around.
Never be afraid to pray, "Not my will, but Yours be done." By saying that, you are simply saying, "Lord, I don't know all the facts. I don't know everything there is to know. My knowledge is limited. My experience is limited. So if what I am praying is outside of Your will for any reason, please graciously overrule it." You won't always understand how you should pray. What it comes down to is telling God that you want His will more than your own.
I know this is hard at times. Sometimes you don't understand why God doesn't give you what you ask for. When you're young and single, you may see a handsome guy or beautiful girl and just know that person is the one for you. But as the lyrics to a country song say, "Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers."
As time passes, you will look back with 20/20 hindsight, and you will say, "Thank God He did not answer my prayers," or "Thank God He answered my prayers," whichever the case may be.
Finally, remember the words of Jesus: "Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern" (Matthew 6:32–33 NLT).
Copyright © 2012 by Harvest Miniaahttp://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/stries. All Rights Reserved.
by Wayne Jones
Christianity is a religion that revolves around the work and participation of its members. Jesus stressed this need as He taught such parables as the "talents" (Matt. 25:14-30) and the "sower" (Mark 4:3-9). Paul reaffirmed this teaching by referring to God’s people as those who are "zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14). James warned that trying to live a life of faith without works was emptiness and void (James 2:17, 26).
Despite God’s continual reminder, He still addressed those who would try to follow Him and refuse to work (Prov. 21:25; 26:14). Solomon describes the field of a lazy man as being overgrown with thorns and the wall around it as broken (Prov. 24:30-31).
What’s the point? We ought to be people who are busy!
Someone might respond, "Well, I have that covered!" We are all busy people, are we not? Little League, soccer practice, band concerts, football games, school projects, overtime, and many other things keep us busy from sun up to sun down, almost every day. Let us remember that in our schedule of things to do, God must capture first place and retain such a position. Sadly, some who claim to be people of God are described in Psalm 39:6. Here David penned, Surely every man walks about like a shadow; surely they busy themselves in vain; he heaps up riches and doesnot know who will gather them" (Psa. 39:6).
How then do I keep from being busy in vain? How do I go about reorganizing my priorities so that I am busy with things that will matter on the Day of Judgment?
One of the many answers to this question is to pray. Not that all of our time in each day will be consumed with prayer, but that faithful prayer (which will be accompanied with action by the petitioner) will keep us busy.
As we continue this study, let us consider some areas of our lives and some roles in the church that would be spurred to greater service if those who occupied those roles were diligent in their prayer life.
Prayer Will Keep Parents Busy
If it is our prayer that our children be faithful to the Lord and that they remain faithful to Him, even after they have left home, will we not forgo activities of a secular nature that conflict with the service and activities of the Lord’s church? Do we view prayer as a miracle cure in these situations, or do we realize that prayers of this fashion will keep us on our toes as parents, to be watchful and careful with our children?
It is true that our children should hear us pray for them by name every single day of their lives. They should know that mom and dad are far more concerned about their spiritual future than their physical future. However, if this is expressed in words of prayer, but then refuted in actions, our children are smart enough to see that. If it is our prayer that God be first in our lives, we should be busy carrying that out in our daily lives. Any other scenario would result in hypocrisy and spiritual peril.
Prayer Will Keep Preachers Busy
Prayer should play a valuable role in the life of any gospel preacher. The twelve who were commissioned to go preach the gospel were afraid of being swayed from that task with serving tables. So special servants were chosen to care for the neglected widows so that the apostles could give themselves "continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4).
Preachers of the Bible such as Peter, Paul, and Christ spent a portion (and sometimes a large portion) of each day in prayer. Sometimes they prayed before making an important decision (Mark 1:35). Sometimes they prayed at the end of a long day of work (Luke 5:16). Sometimes they prayed in the face of tremendous adversity (Luke 26:39). Sometimes they prayed with fellow workers (Acts 20:36). Sometimes they prayed in the midst of physical danger (Acts 27:29). Sometimes they prayed earnestly and intently that others might obey the gospel (Rom. 10:1). Sometimes they prayed at the grace of a dear friend (John 11:41). Sometimes they prayed in thanksgiving for their fellow workers in the Lord (Phil. 1:4). Sometimes they prayed that those converted would be strengthened and encouraged (Col. 1:9-11).
Truly prayer has played a vital role in the lives of gospel preachers in the past, and it should be a vital part of life for current preachers as well.
What work would be done if every preacher prayed in the same situations and for the same reasons that men like Christ and Paul prayed! May we ever beg in prayer that we may boldly speak the things of God and that doors of opportunity may be opened! (Eph. 6:18-20)
Prayer Will Keep Elders Busy
Just as in the case of parents or preachers, a man serving as an elder or lay leader should not have to find something to keep him busy. The task of an elder is impossible to accurately measure with words. Truly Paul called it a work (1 Tim. 3:1). Those who do not view it as such are doing the Lord’s church a serious and destructive injustice.
Remember that the work of an elder involves feeding, guarding, tending, and leading the sheep. As God arranged, the elders in a particular location are only responsible for the sheep of that congregation. Even so, being responsible for 50 to 500 souls is sometimes a daunting task. For this reason, God gave explicit and detailed qualifications that a man must meet before serving as an elder (1 Tim. 3:1ff). As you read through those qualifications in the future, ask yourself this question: Could a man possess these traits if he were not a man of daily, faithful prayer? The answer is undeniably, no! Elders are to be men of prayer.
In turn, those prayers will keep them busy in the work God has for them to do. Their minds and hearts will be more attuned to what the flock needs if they have prayed daily for those needs to be met. Their senses will be aware of danger posed to the flock by false teachers if they have prayed for wisdom to determine such. Their compassion for the flock will be evident if they have prayed for them with tears filling their eyes.
Certainly prayer will motivate all of us to be busier in the things that matter. Parents, preachers, and elders, may we utilize this tool and incorporate it in our daily routines.
(Originally Published in the Southwesterner, January 13th, 2008)
by Ralph Bouma
Many lessons can be learned from this prayer of Job. The Lord had said unto Satan, "And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause," JOB 2:3. Satan's whole aim was to destroy Job's integrity to win his battle against the Lord. The Lord had removed His hedge from Job and allowed Satan to come against Job's integrity, Job 2:6.
Satan knows no mercy. He used all the hellish assaults against Job's integrity that he could muster up. The Lord allowed Satan to use Job's brethren, kinsfolk, and closest friends to attack Job's integrity.
Job complained, ". . . ye vex my soul . . . with words . . . ye reproached me . . . [and] ye are not ashamed . . . I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard . . . my brethren [are] far from me . . . My kinsfolk have failed . . . My breath is strange to my wife, though I entreated for the children's sake of mine own body," JOB 19:1-18.
Then Job turned his back on all human help and cried unto the Lord for help, "Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning. Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments," Job 23:2-4.
When the Lord is pleased to bring you or me into some trial and withdraws Himself, we must fill our mouths with arguments; so let's look at some of the arguments we must use.
In preparing our arguments before the Lord, we must plead His promises like Jacob and David did.
Another argument we must raise is the honor of God's name, as Joshua and Hezekiah pleaded. "For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?" JOS 7:9.
"It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left," ISA 37:4.
Hezekiah pleaded God's mercy in ISA 38:14,
"Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me."
Most important of all, we must plead Christ's substitution which we find in 2CO 5:21,
Oh, beloved, if we have had such a faith's view of Christ, we will be able to sing:
Mahayana Buddhists pray to the Buddhas mostly for help in their spiritual
practices. They pray to purify their minds of obstructing thoughts, and to bless
their minds with helpful thoughts, especially blessings that will ripen latent
spiritual tendencies. Their motivation is to become Buddhas themselves, because
only Buddhas can be of the ultimate help in relieving others from their
suffering and bringing them pure happiness.
In terms of "unanswered" prayers in this regard, Buddhists assume full responsibility: They check their own mind, their motivation, the purity of their request, the obstacles to spiritual progress they can remove on their own, the lack of effort they are making to ripen their latent spiritual tendencies - all of which are simply the results of their own karmic tendencies. Buddhists agree with the Christian tenet that "God helps those who help themselves."
In terms of prayers made on behalf of others, with an appreciation for the full, complex, eternal sweep of karma, as well as the long and extensive path to achieve Buddhahood, free from all suffering, Buddhists offer their prayers with pretty much the same attitude Christians use: "Your will, not my will." Only Buddhas are omniscient. Only they have the wisdom to see the path each person must take to ultimate happiness, free of all suffering. If we simply pray for such happiness for others, rather than pretending we know the short-term particulars that will get them there, we can rest sure that their needs are being met when we pray.
by Corrie ten Boom
In the concentration camp, seven hundred of us lived in a room built for two hundred people. We were all dirty, nervous and tense.
One day a horrible fight broke out amongst the prisoners. Betsie began to pray aloud. It was as if a storm laid down, until at last all was quiet. Then Betsie said, 'Thank you, Father.' A tired old woman was used by the Lord to save the situation for seven hundred fellow prisoners through her prayers.
Paul told Timothy that prayer is the primary function of Christians. It should "be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions." And, truth be told, it is not just for their benefit, but for yours, "that [you] may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way." (I Timothy 2:1-2)
Answers to prayer may not be wondrously manifested. But do not underestimate prayer power. Intercede for those in need of salvation. Plead for the Lord's guidance for this country and its leaders. Be blessed with peace in fellowship with God through prayer.
Recommended Reading: Psalm 147:1-11
Read more about Prayers in Malankara World Prayer Supplement
by Lisa Mandel
1 (8 oz.) slab bacon, rind discarded, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
Saute the bacon in a large pot over low heat until cooked through, about 8
Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Serve hot. You may store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
1/4 c. olive oil
In a deep saucepan, saute onion and celery in oil.
Add a little hot water during the last 10 minutes of cooking if necessary.
by Dr. Jack Graham
It amazes me how little so many today really understand what love is. They equate love with infatuation. And nowhere has this taken hold more firmly than in the minds of our young people. I was reading some definitions of love that teenagers had given recently. One said, "Love is an inward inexpressibility of an outward all-overishness." Another remarked, "Love is a feeling you feel when you feel you're going to feel a feeling you never felt before."
Now we may chuckle a little when we read those words, but we have to remember it's not their fault they see love in such a shallow light. Our culture constantly feeds this misconception in our movies, music, and other media. These young people are simply regurgitating what they've been told!
But the truth is, love is not just a feeling... it's a commitment. And while our world says, "I love you because of what you do for me," real, biblical love says, "I love you because God first loved me."
Real love loves after the infatuation is over. It loves when you've been staring at the same person over corn flakes for thirty years. So don't let our culture tell you what love is. Love because of the love of Christ that's in you!
DON'T JUST LOVE BECAUSE OF HOW PEOPLE MAKE YOU FEEL. LOVE BECAUSE OF THE LOVE OF CHRIST IN YOU.
Source: Powerpoint Devotional
Read more Family Oriented articles in
Malankara World Family Section.
The National Center for Fathering conducts 'Father of the Year' Essay Contests in partnership with local schools and sponsoring organizations. In 2005, eight contests were held and altogether, over 100,000 school children submitted essays on the topic, "What my Father Means to Me." Below is a sampling of essays from past contests:
"My dad is the best dad ever. I would kiss a pig for him."
"My dad is a Frito-Lay man. That is an important job because Frito-Lay means
chips, which is food. That is so important because you could not live without
"The dad in my life isn't really my dad. He's my Grandpa. But he's been like a
dad to me since before I was born. . . .I hope that as I get older Grandpa will
teach me all the stuff he knows about wood, and first-aid, and everything else
he knows about. My Grandpa isn't my Father, but I wouldn't trade him for all the
dads in the world."
"Sometimes as a joke I'll put my stinky socks in his briefcase, so at work the
next day he will think of me! He's always at the concerts and plays that I'm in,
even though he lives about an hour away."
"…You know what else my dad does? He braids my hair. I'm the only girl I know
whose dad braids her hair. I think that's a perfect dad. He already is the
world's greatest dad to me. I just wanted everyone to know that."
"One time I had an assembly and I was a soloist and my dad was in the first row
and after my song I smiled at my dad and my dad smiled back and started crying.
That was the best thing I ever saw."
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