The Bible and the Book of Mormon

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Home Scripture Jesus THE PRAYER


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(C) Copyright By Massimo Franceschini all the Rights reserved


The celestial source is the only way to communicate with our Father in heaven directly, through the only mediator given to us, Jesus Christ. This wonderful device is based on the faith and the free agency. If you remember the promise contained in Moroni, it speaks about "real intent" and "having faith in Christ". Does the Bible agree with this promise?

Matthew 16:13-18: "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

This simple question that Jesus asked is very important for me. I always wondered why He asked his Apostles who He was after almost three years of being together, shoulder to shoulder. Even more astonishing, is why He had to ask that question after they had witnessed so many miracles and had heard Him teach so many beautiful things about God. But more than that, there had been many times when Jesus had alluded to or affirmed that He was the Messiah and the Son of God.
With this understanding of the life of Jesus and His disciples up to this time, I realized there had to be a important purpose behind this simple question. From the scriptures themselves, it seems that the purpose was to point out the importance of having direct revelation from God as the only sure way to know the true of everything.

Let's analyze this statement of Jesus more closely.

"And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, For flesh and blood
has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven...." Here we see that Peter received a revelation of the mission of Jesus directly from God Himself.

"... and I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock..." The word "rock" is the subject of the previous comment, which was about receiving a revelation from God.

"... I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The topic which Jesus is talking about concerns the revelation which Peter had received from God. Therefore, it is clear that when Jesus refers to how He will build his church, this is an explanation about that revelation which Peter just received.

Unfortunately, others try to interpret this phrase to fit their own ideas. The Catholic church declares that Peter is the rock. This is because in Italian, Peter (Pietro) it is similar to stone (Pietra). Therefore, by changing the context of the phrase, they can maintain that there was no apostasy because Jesus said that "the gates of the hell shall not prevail against it." However, this promise of Jesus, when read in context, only means that it is impossible to be deceived when we receive revelation from God by prayer.

The Protestants who deny the principle of revelation, say that the "rock" refers to Christ, because in another verse it states that Christ is the Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4). That is true, but not in the same sense we find in Matthew. Again, we need to put this verse in context, and when we do we see that Paul is referring to something different than Christ was. Christ's remarks clearly refers to revelation as being the basis of communication between God and man. Also, clearly inferred, is the idea that without this revelation, man is left to be "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Ephesians 4:14).

But did Jesus have anything else to say on this subject? Matthew 7:7-10: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?"

What a beautiful promise! But what I would like to take notice of is where Jesus said: "whom if his son ask bread [do you remember who is the living bread?] will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish( Did you know that the fish is a symbol of Christ or Christianity?fish1.gif  (23904 bytes) even now on many car of Protestant people you can see the symbol of the fish and the word "Jesus", will he give him a serpent [do you remember who is the serpent?]" How do we ask anything from our Father in heaven? Is it not by prayer? I don't think Christ's use of the words bread and serpent were by chance. Therefore, it's clear that Jesus is once more promising us that if we pray to God, in return we will receive "bread" or "fish" (the living Christ) rather than the "serpent" (the devil), thus reassuring us about the safety of who answers our prayer.

In another place, Jesus said, "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" (Matthew 21:22). This is another promise concerning prayer, but the word "believing," is an important condition of this promise, as we will see.

Mark 11:19-24: "And when even was come, he went out of the city. And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursest is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."

Notice that Jesus used the words "desire" "believe" and "have faith in God."

In John 14:13-17 Jesus made a similar promise: "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."

Here Jesus introduce the Comforter.

In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus again gave us another promise about prayer. "And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.  Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"

This parable of Jesus teaches the importance of constantly praying to God. When we have desire, faith, belief and constancy, then we have the promise that we will receive from the Lord what we are asking for, if it is right.

Because of these promises, if I were Satan, I would certainly strive to fight against the power of prayer with all the means at my disposal. I would try to convince men that prayer doesn't work. I would try to convince men they could be deceived through prayer. I would try to convince men to trust in something more reliable than prayer, such as the words of political/social leaders or convincing preachers or their own interpretation of the Bible.

In fact, this is exactly what we have seen happen in the past as well as in our own day. We should always remember that those who teach that we don't need to pray are not acting in the name of the Lord. Satan usually prefers us to stay in darkness. He wants people not to think about him. It's in that way he can do his work more effectively.

There were two particular occasions when he had to manifest himself. The first one was in the wilderness at the beginning of Christ's mission. We know that he was trying to stop the proclamation of the Gospel and was using the scriptures to try to deceive the Lord Himself. The second time was in the Gethsemane.

Luke 22:39-46: "And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.  And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation."

The first exhortation Jesus gave his disciples in the Gethsemane was to pray. After that, He himself went off to pray. The scripture then states that while He was in agony an angel appeared from heaven to strengthen him. It is my opinion that His agony and the atmosphere in which He found Himself suggests that the Devil was also there trying to prevent Jesus from carrying out the atonement.

We see a similar situation before Moses began his mission to save the Iraelites from captivity. While he was praying to the Lord, Satan appeared and demanded that Moses pray to him. But, "Moses said: I will not cease to call upon God, I have other things to inquire of him: for his glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee. Depart hence, Satan. And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and
commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me. And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory. And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan. And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses, that he beheld him not." (Moses 1:18-22)

Notice that, like Jesus in Gethsemane, Moses was also strenghten in order to withstand the efforts of Satan to prevent God's plan from being carried out.

And there's yet another time when Satan manifested himself in a similar way. In the history of Joseph Smith History we read, "After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to
bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

"But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction--not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being--just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me" (Joesph Smith 1:15,16)

Once again we see Satan exerting his terrible power to prevent someone from praying. And why was Joseph praying? Because he was following the admonishon of James who taught us, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraitheth not, and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering" (James1:5-6).

sure he knew what power could have the prayer of Joseph connected to the promise in James, did you know that the epistle of James was the last one to be admitted to the canon? He fight also in that occasion. He had to manifest himself, he had no choice, but he lost!

Somebody will say that the scriptures are the key, we will see that the scriptures are revelations obtained by the prayers of right people and also Satan like in the wilderness interpreted the scriptures, the men do the same we have about 800 different churches, interpreting in 800 different opinions, why this confusion?

I am not saying that the scriptures are not important, I am saying the scriptures are an important tool, but not the key, a tool can destroy the door to open it if you are not able to use it, the key is perfect and easy. Well I can give my testimony in the name of Jesus that the prayer is the only a perfect key to use to open the door At the Holy True, because if you need to buy the beef you go to the Butcher, if you need to know the true you have to ask to the Lord, in Jesus name

Galatians 1:12: "For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ".

Last Updated on Friday, 15 October 2010 07:58  

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