The Guidance of Prayer

Greetings and good morning brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand the guidance of prayer. 

And now, sit back and listen to today's message. 

The Guidance of Prayer

““And Jesus said, ‘‘ . . . And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not wither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’’" John, Chapter 14, Verses 4 through 6

Brothers and sisters, in today’’s broadcast we shall return to the topic of prayer for additional insight. Since prayer is an intimate and ubiquitous part of our lives and is the agency through which we seek guidance in our effort to execute the Father’’s will, experience after experience. We further know that while prayer may prevent us from initiating destructive experiences (evil), prayer is not a technique for leading us around an experience. Rather, it is a stimulus and road map for leading us through an experience. As we do so,  these emotionally trying experiences reveal the spiritual values and meanings concealed within them. Prayer provides insight that allows us to consciously recognize values and meanings. As we grasp them, our souls become filled with joy and peace.

It is helpful to remember that prayer is a process of communion between our spiritual natures and our heavenly Father even though the consequences of this communion is reflected out in our material lives (our material activities are filled with spiritual values and meanings). In this way internal spiritual values find expression in our outer personal relationships. This process involves faith, skill, intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, and experience. Of course there must be a source of these necessary tools that allow us to use these spiritual values and meanings, and there are. The source is the Father in heaven, working through the Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Since we are dealing with spiritual values and meanings, our task is to translate these values and meanings from the inside to the outside. How does this work? Let us consider this material analogy to help us. When I was a about eight ––years-old, there was a television program that I used to watch. I think this program came on about 4:00 PM, because it came on after I got out of school and before I had dinner. It was the Howdy Doody Show. This was a puppet show that consisted of a number of puppets that interacted with each other and with a human character named Buffalo Bob. Some of these puppet characters were named Howdy Doody, Mr Buster, Clarabel the Clown, and some others whose names I can’’t recall now. But there were a variety of situations where these characters played different roles. Howdy Doody was the pleasant, optimistic character. Mr. Buster was the pessimistic, gloomy character, and of course Clarabel the Clown was the happy, funny character who made the kids laugh. I cite this 55-year-old television program to illustrate how the puppet moved whenever the puppet master indicated. By pulling different strings, he was able to animate the puppets; by speaking for them, he imparted a sense of human character and drama. In a sense, this is what happens when we submit to the Father’’s will. We allow His will to select the values that we choose. These values are made available to us through our faith-insight. Once available, we must use intelligence, reason, to manipulate them and apply them to the situation at hand. But we also must use wisdom in applying these values. Now we pause a moment in our discourse to review the relationship between value and will.

We shall consider material values as a our starting point, then move to higher spiritual values, and then show how these spiritual values are chosen and manifested in our moral activities. One of the more material values in human existence is family values. These are the values and standards that govern family life, and they consist of marriage, home, children, parenting, work, education, discipline, guidance, sacrifice, affection, future planning. As situations unfold, we make decisions  based on these values. If we profess to be governed by family values and don’’t make decisions accordingly, then either we don’’t recognize them as standards or we are not loyal to them. As we looked at the different values, we can begin to see the array of decisions that we must make on behalf of these values. And we can also see that as life unfolds, we must use intelligence, wisdom, and experience to make sure that these values are manifested in our families.

Spiritual values are similar in function. These are the values that are selected out by the Father as representing how we should interact with each other in our personal moral relationships. The greatest of all of these values is divine love, and their derivatives are truth, beauty and goodness. The values of mercy, repentance, forgiveness, friendship, patience, joy, peace, humility, meekness, and temperance are the values that are sponsored by the Father to be used in our spiritual relationships with one another, the result of which is a transformation from man into a spiritual being. As we pray, we gain greater insight and meanings into these values. And as we interact with one another, we display these values. 

The circumstances of life provide a variety of opportunities for us to display these values. As we interact with our brothers and sisters, we might discern which spiritual value they are primarily in need of. To this one, longsuffering may be required as we minster the goodness of the Father to her. To another, faith may be required to demonstrate the victory of faith over doubt. Still to another, peace may be required to show a sister of brother that despite the cyclones of material existence, peace and joy can still be experienced. The degree of display and the combinations displayed in any given situation are selected by the Father’’s spirit, and the intelligence and wisdom required for effectively displaying these qualities are supplied by the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Truth. And as we continue to gather experience with executing these values under guidance received in prayer, our revelation of the Father through His Son, Jesus, becomes supreme.

Finally when we dedicate ourselves to doing the Father’’s will, these divine values become our standard. Therefore since these values have now become our value system, having subjected our wills to the Father’’s will, our will executes them and find expression in our lives as we add the quality of spirit to moral decisions. Prayer then becomes the agency whereby we learn how to execute these values in our outer life.

This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the guidance in prayer. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day. 

Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry. 

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       By Dr. James  Perry       
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      The Guidance of Prayer