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Are You Good Enough to Go to Heaven?

Thoughts For Young Men



Praying prayers? How do people pray and how does this compare to how God wishes us to pray? Let's first look at what the Bible has to say about praying. The Bible shows us in Luke 11:1-4, "And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil." Jesus tells us that when we pray, we should start by praising the Father, asking Him to do things His way, not ours, petitioning Him with our desires, asking for forgiveness for offending Him, remembering that as a follower of His, we need to forgive others as well, and finally asking for protection and help from Satan's ways. What an awesome prayer method. And quite different then how I was taught.

As I was growing up, I was taught prayers, but not how to pray. Above is called the Our Father, but looking at it now, I see that Jesus was instructing us about how to pray, not just giving us a prayer. That was part of the problem, repetitious prayers, something that we shouldn't be doing as Matthew tells us, "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." (Matthew 6:7) I think of how many times I'd group a few prayers together, say them, and think that I was doing my prayers. And the Rosary was a big thing, but that certainly would be considered vain repetition according to Scriptures. In fact praying to anyone but God would have to be considered idolatry.

Now I'm sure that there are readers that disagree, thinking as what their Catechism teaches about this. For example, item 958 (Communion with the dead) tells us, "Our prayer for them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us effective." Furthermore the website called www.AboutCatholics.com adds, “The practice of praying to saints is derived from the doctrines of the Communion of Saints. The ‘communion of saints’ is essentially a fancy term for the church - meaning the people that make-up the church and is in the Apostle’s Creed.” According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the communion of saints is “all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church...(Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 962).” I feel the Scriptures tell us that is wrong. Isaiah 8:19 tells us not to seek the dead on behalf of the living, to seek God alone. And it may seem normal to feel that as this person said, "I think the word ‘pray’ is just a bad word to describe the type of communication relationship between us and the saints in heaven. You know how when you are going through a tough time and you talk to someone in your family or in your church and ask them to pray for you? Well, that’s what praying to the saints is like. I’m not asking them to usurp God and give me grace, but merely asking them to pray for me too." However, even though we are to pray for others, the Bible clearly means for living people to help each other, not dead people. Thus we must pray to God only and we must deny any attempt to communicate with those of whom have physically passed on. The Bible does tell us to pray for the saints, true, but the Bible's definition of the word "saints" is not as someone that died already and is in Heaven, but rather are "People who have been separated from the world and consecrated to the worship and service of God. Followers of the Lord are referred to by this phrase throughout the Bible, although its meaning is developed more fully in the New Testament. Consecration (setting apart) and purity are the basic meanings of the term. Believers are called "saints" and "saints in Christ Jesus" because they belong to the One who provided their sanctification." (from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

The Bible also gives us plenty of things for us to pray about. We could pray "for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel," (Ephesians 6:19) "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth," (3 John 1:2) or perhaps this, "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;" (Colossians 1:10) or even possibly something like this, "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith." (2 Thessalonians 3:1,2)

These are a few suggestions taken from Scripture. The main points are that we are to pray to God only and as Scripture tells us, we should, "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17)