Friday, May 19, 2017

No Other Name

I have been reading my Bible a lot more lately thanks to a little app called YouVersion. I really love it. It is a Bible app but it has these really good Bible studies written by various people. So far, they've been very good and it has got me started on forming a habit.

Every morning I get my coffee and sit down to enjoy it while I read my Bible studies. I always have two or three going. Each day's study varies in length and each study is from one day to a year long. I usually select those of different length. This results in rotation so that every few days I'm starting a new one while finishing up one. Some of them also contain recorded sections where there is a prayer through Abide, another app. You don't have to have both apps, however.

Anyway, I've been really enjoying them. Last week I started one called Praying the Names of God, by Ann Spangler, and it, like most, was based on a book by the same name. She wrote this study as well and it contained a recorded prayer. In this study, she is teaching how we should pray the Biblical names of God. I followed along and enjoyed hearing about the meaning of Elohim. Then she started to pray and I closed my eyes to pray along.

In the middle of this prayer, something happened that rarely happens to me. I heard a voice. I can't say that it would have been audible to anyone else had they been with me, but it was very clear to me. I heard it with perfect clarity and it stopped me in my tracks.

"There is no other name given, under heaven, whereby men must be saved." That is a paraphrase from Acts 4:12. I opened my eyes and turned off the prayer immediately. But He wasn't done.

"There is no reason to pray any name except the name of Jesus.And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." That's from Colossians 3:17. I didn't know the chapter and verse at that point. All I heard was the Word.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14."

I turned off the app and deleted that particular Bible study immediately. I won't bother with that one again. I was very uncomfortable at what happened and I sat for a long time thinking. For example, the "names" she talks about are actually words that describe the attributes of Jehovah or Yahweh in the Jewish faith. We say "God". But even God isn't a name. Many cultures have a "god". They have names. The words this study is using as names aren't names either. I suppose you can call them names but they're not. Elohim means strong one and is a plural noun but the Jews use it in the singular. Jehovah Jireh is another one. It means Jehovah will provide. So, Jireh is not a name but rather an adjective that describe one of God's attributes. Jehovah Rapha is the God that heals. Again, not a name but an adjective describing his ability.

I'm not Jewish. I'm a Christian. And clearly, what hit me between the eyes is that I don't need to be praying in this manner, using a bunch of adjectives because I want to "tap into" some special power. I'm instructed very clearly to pray using one name and one only.

"Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, Philippians 2:9-10"

I don't know this author. I have nothing against her.  I haven't read her book. She may be a very wonderful, sincere person. I only know I've been given a name above every name ever known and all the power of heaven is in that one name. To pray any other name would be disobedient and a bit idolatrous.

One thing I can tell you is that when I received this ... message I wondered how many other people are following this method of prayer. I realized that even that is covered in the Word. "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Galatian 1:8."

Always stick to the Word for instruction. Following every new fad is not safe when you're dealing with spiritual matters. I'm so thankful that the Lord halted my spirit in this. Because that is what it was. When I read the study it didn't really seem a problem. It wasn't until she began to pray that I was jerked up short. I'll be honest, it scared me a bit. God hasn't ever done that to me that I can recall. I suppose that is a good thing. I don't want him to have to do it again. But I'm glad he will if he needs to do so.