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. In today’’s broadcast, we share further insight into how the values and meanings of prayer and worship transform us. We know that being mortal and subject to all the deleterious forces that impinge upon our existence causes quite a bit of stress, confusion, anxiety, depression, distractions, pain and suffering. We shall show how prayer and worship clears the confusion, disperses the anxiety, lifts the depression, removes the distractions, and transcends pain and suffering. Jesus instructs us to always pray and not faint.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Transforming Power of Prayer and Worship
Jesus said, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." John, Chapter 4, Verse 23
Brothers and sisters, we are two-fold beings. We are material and spiritual in potential. The process of moving from a purely material nature to a spiritual nature in a fashion that subordinates the material nature is a strenuous process. This process become stressful for at every point while we live in the flesh, we must constantly pay attention to the material needs, while striving to obtain the divine values and meanings of the spiritual nature.
Before this dual nature is coordinated, confusion is precipitated. Ponder this quote: "The courage required to effect the conquest of nature and to transcend one's self is a courage that might succumb to the temptations of self-pride. The mortal who can transcend self might yield to the temptation to deify his own self-consciousness. The mortal dilemma consists in the double fact that man is in bondage to nature while at the same time he possesses a unique liberty--freedom of spiritual choice and action. On material levels man finds himself subservient to nature, while on spiritual levels he is triumphant over nature and over all things temporal and finite. Such a paradox is inseparable from temptation, potential evil, decisional errors, and when self becomes proud and arrogant, sin may evolve."
Prayer and worship serve to coordinate and harmonize these two natures. The task is to subject the human nature to the divine nature; this is done by choosing to do the Father’’s will. Through prayer, we learn how to do the Father’’s will. This gives us a new value standard to adhere. By choosing this standard, we receive clarity concerning our dual nature. We are empowered to render to Caesar the things of Caesar, and to render to God the things of God.
The purely material aspects of life remain in the province of Caesar, those things that do not survive mortal dissolution; the moral and spiritual aspects of life are the province of the heavenly Father, those spiritual values that survive mortal dissolution. When it comes to purely personal relationships, the things of God prevail; when it comes to the non-personal, the things of Caesar are within its steel grasp. By clarifying the difference between the things of Caesar and the things of God, between the material and the spiritual, the confusion is cleared. Confusion is the result of conflict. Conflict results in not understanding the differing values of both aspects of life——material and spiritual. By choosing that with the higher value, the conflict dissolves.
Sometimes there are competing conflicts between moral and spiritual choices because the values of both are so similar. At such times, we seek to know the Father’’s will. By doing so, we receive insight that allows us to choose the highest value, the choice with the greatest good for all concerned. This can be quite agonizing at times, and we must rely upon the effectiveness of faith and its functioning in discerning the Father’’s will in such situations. The result of such choosing may not be apparent in the short run, but the long run reveals the righteousness of the decision.
In our personal spiritual relationships, all conflicts are resolved by our consistent choice of forgiveness and mercy. These two qualities of the Father’’s will forever demystify spiritual conflict. We have no personal attitude towards unrighteousness except to extend forgiveness and mercy, and we extend it even before it is requested.
When struggling to discern the proper course to pursue, when our moral and spiritual feet are anxious and unsure, seeking the Father’’s will at such times opens us to the guidance of the Spirit of Truth, which is the way, the truth, and the life. When we feel anxious because we cannot see our way, and we are called upon to trust and exercise patience, seeking the Father’’s way will give us the assurance that indeed we are on the right path, that patience and trust are indeed the correct values we need to face the apparently closed doors of opportunity. It requires time for doors of opportunity to open, and no amount of force can open a door of opportunity before its time. By seeking the Father’’s will, we will find the necessary staying power to exercise patience and trust. Trust makes patience possible. Without trust, we enter the storm of doubt, where we are blown to pillar and post. We cannot achieve any spiritual stability. But faith makes trust possible. Without faith there is no basis for trust. By continuing to maintain faith in the Father’’s goodness until faith reaches supreme levels, anxiety will be dispersed. Eventually the emotions follow the decision made.
Since moral and spiritual depression result from failure to conserve spiritual values and meanings, the constant seeking of the Father’’s will eventually reveals the eternal display of those divine values and meanings that were thought to be lost. We realize that nothing of spiritual value is lost. This restoration of faith in the conservation of spiritual values fills the soul with joy and happiness, and all moral and spiritual perceptions of loss are swept away; depression lifts.
Moral and spiritual distractions arise because of unresolved conflicts and because of the lack of a clear moral and spiritual purpose. Having received a vision of the eternal beauty of divine values and meanings, and having been given the clarity of faith-focus, all moral and spiritual distractions are removed, and the soul is now free to move full steam ahead in the marvelous task of conforming to the divine image.
It is not often that we are rescued from the bed of affliction once we really get under its sheets and covers. Once they’’re chronic, the bed of affliction is powerless to prevent our faith from soaring. Our souls can rise above purely material handicaps. We can experience the divine values and meanings of spiritual love and mercy. We can know that we are not always to be afflicted. We can know that one day we will run again, laugh again, and play under a cloudless sky. Our feet remain on the ground, transfixed in the cement of pain and suffering, but our souls know no such limitation. They can soar like an eagle on the wings of truth. ". . . They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
How do we maintain faith in the Father’’s goodness? How does faith reach supreme levels? By constantly seeking the Father’’s will in every moral and spiritual choice, our faith ascends to the supreme level, where our souls cry, "You can’’t make me doubt him, I know too much about him." This process does take some time, but we if stay loyal to this dedication to doing the Father’’s will, in due time, we will know the reality of that which we have faith- embraced. Our faith will transform us. Through the agency of prayer and worship, we shall take on the divine image and enter into the state where there is peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit."
This concludes today's message on how prayer and worship transforms us. 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.